My dear readers who have stuck with me over the past few months will know that I believe in routine cleaning and donations of all the stuff I seem to acquire. Though I haven’t quite ascended into the “spark joy” level of through decluttering, I would like to think I am at least an intermediate tidier. Over the course of the past two days (really the last 24 hours) I have been one among many…people in the drop off line at Goodwill.
Yesterday, I was the fourth car in line. The first time I dropped off today, as I was pulling away there was a family opening up the back of a U-Haul trailer after which the father declared “it had to go. All of it.” I get it. Some call it the Christmas cleanout, others call it the end of year purge and still others (who shall remain nameless) call it “my husband is home from work for a while and tried to find a spot for something in Little Sister’s room and in the end convinced me that I was a “waste of space” to keep wall art that I bought in case I wanted to do a pastel animal themed nursery because “our kids are six and eight now”. Or so I have heard. I only wish that the nameless aforementioned saintly woman had taken video of the process when her husband sat with each of the children reviewing what should be kept v donated.
The good folks at goodwill looked shell shocked when I went back for a second round today – this time the drop off line more closely resembled the school’s parent drop off line with the man behind me still shaking his head at “all the stuff” he was donating because his daughters “had so much stuff”. Only, he didn’t say “stuff”. He said other unmentionables.
It might be seen as a byproduct of consumerism and maybe even gluttony that we all had so much to get rid of. If the aim is to simply make room for more stuff then I sort of get it. I’m thinking though that a lot of people looked at what they had and what they could part with and found themselves ready to donate what they could.
Yesterday we set up a station at the end of the driveway staged like a little pop up shop with clothes, shoes, books and a sign encouraging people to take what they wanted and have a happy holiday. I know that I am guilty of hanging onto lots of things thinking that I might need it one day or fit into it some other time. But I have found that even when I hit that goal, I have almost never sought out that item I thought I would reward myself with.
In the end, as always, it wasn’t about the stuff. It was about letting go of who I thought I was or would be when I might need the thing. Letting that go was hugely freeing and something that I couldn’t do on my own, as I had cleaned out the kids’ rooms many times over the years and carefully placed things back on shelf to be reviewed at a later time. Sometimes we all just need a little push.
As New Year’s Day approaches (in a week?!? Whaaaat?!?) my goal is to live more intentionally. Using things that I need when I need them and passing on what I don’t. I would like to think that all those other people in line want something similar and I hope that we all succeed.