Letting Go

There’s a saying Kirsty says in the Art of Decluttering podcast, my no.1 motivator during this COVID season, and that is you have to sometimes “get your Elsa on” and let it go. It sits in my mind as I write this post, and in recent weeks as I feel intensely that my years of decluttering are coming to a close. Which is, like, something I never actually envisioned as part of the future I see in my mind. I see only what I need, I see a minimalist home, but the actual section that gets me there, of reaching the end, is just, well, blank in my mind. But here we are. I still have a few stories left to tell before we draw to a finale, don’t worry. Such as, letting things go.

I have been on a work break for a few weeks now, and seizing the opportunity to keep at my projects of going through stuff. I emptied my three school tubs. That was a catalyst, as this week I opened another two tubs and emptied them, one of which, has had childhood mementoes and stayed packed for maybe 20 years. Here’s what I noticed as I went through it. I have an awful lot of collections. Some I value, but although I know I spent money and energy collecting other items, the attachment is just gone now. Let’s take a look.

  • Keyrings
  • Postcards
  • Fridge magnets
  • Pins
  • Spoons (inherited collection from my grandmother, to which I gave her most of them)
  • T-shirts
  • Programs/theatre souvenirs
  • Travel souvenirs
  • Rocks and shells
  • Coins, both actual collector coins and just foreign currencies

Earlier when I started unpacking, I dutifully set up all my magnets across my fridge, as I have done in every home around the world; they have always been an easy thing to cart with me and imprint that little part of me in any place. I bought canvas frames and mounted my pin collection amassed during travel. Likewise, my travel souvenirs live on a narrow bookcase and proudly remind me of a million travel journeys. My grandmother’s spoon collection sits in the window in their display case, another thing that brings fond and warm memories, not so much of travel but of her. Now, the keyrings, I found alongside the pins. I forgot I collected them. So, I took the travel ones and mounted them on a second canvas frame. But then I had these keyrings from musicals and Planet Hollywoods from around the world, which I once loved in my celebrity crazed youth. I also had a drumstick given to me by the drummer in Ben Folds Five, so I’ve mounted it horiztonally on the wall and hung the show keyrings from that. I decided I’d give them a while and see if I wanted them long term or not. As for my postcards, I’m yet to decide on a way I’d like to display them. But with the souvenirs, the pins, keyrings, magnets, I also haven’t decided if postcards will be travel overkill. They may be better placed in a large framed collage in the spare room. 

Then we have the extra collections. As I went through that tub recently, I definitely didn’t feel attached to many of those coins. When lockdown ends I decided to visit a coin trading store and check out any value. I’m going to pile up the foreign currencies I don’t need and donate them to UNICEF. I don’t quite know what to do with rocks and shells. I can’t really drop them at the nearest beach for a return. The t-shirts, amassed during many concerts, I’ve gradually sold off over the years, and donated some. I’ve a few more to let go of. I’ve not gotten as far as the programs yet. They’re still in storage, in fact.

Lately, with so much unpacked, I’ve definitely felt a sense of wanting to get my Elsa on and let go of many things. More than ever before, I can see the home I’ve curated for myself, and then the extra that doesn’t have a place in my more adult life, like a lot left over from my youth. It’s the weirdest feeling. I’m still going at it, but I’m working on loading up a box of gear to take out for donation as soon as I can. Whoop! I just didn’t ever see it coming!

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