Sunday, March 4, 2012

Giving Up on Dreams

Decluttering is exhausting for me. After a few hours I feel spent. I have to take a break to catch my breath and regather my strength. This morning, while in the process of decluttering my closet, I realized why the process is so difficult for me. Part of it is physical, moving boxes around, lifting things, taking things apart, etc. But I think the mental and emotional exhaustion is even greater.

Decluttering is mentally exhausting because of all the decisions that must be made. Do I really need this? Will I ever need it again? If not, why am I keeping it? What is its value to me? If I decide to keep it, where will I put it? If I decide to get rid of it, where should I take it? I go through this process with each item. Some decisions are easy, but many are not so cut and dried.

This is where the emotional factor comes in. If I give up the jeans that are too tight right now, does that mean I am giving up on fitting into them again? If I give up the shoes that hurt my feet, does that mean I am admitting that I'm too old to wear high heals anymore? If I give up my favorite prairie style denim skirt, does that mean I am saying goodbye to my youth? Giving up items I once loved involves giving up that part of me forever.

It happens with household items, too. If I give up my big platters and roasting pans, does that mean I am giving up on the dream of hosting great dinner parties? If I give up my garden tools, does that mean admitting my lack of a green thumb, that I will never have that garden that looks like a picture out of a magazine? If I give up my tropical looking tablecloths and bedspreads, does that mean I am giving up on my dream of living in Hawaii?

Sometimes things that you don't use any more represent a past that you don't want to give up, like your old "career girl" clothes after you've retired. Or the sexy teddy that really doesn't look good on you anymore. Or ice skates that you haven't used in years but hope to get back to one day. Other things represent a dream that you hoped to fulfill but probably won't; like art supplies that you hoped you had the talent to do something with, or the fabric stash that you hoped to turn into a king-sized quilt. Or the camera equipment that you thought you would get around to learning how to use.

At what point do you give up on a dream? I think that's why it's so difficult for me to declutter.


Kathrin said...

I am glad you have a basement and are able to prepare it... just in case. Are you taking your cats down there with you? What about your feral cats?

judy in ky said...

When we go to the basement, our cats follow us. When there is a "watch" (a step before a warning) I go down there and they come with me. We have food down there for them, too.
The feral cats have very heavy igloos on our deck, but when the weather is severe they run to some caves formed by rocks in a ravine in the back. They seem to have an instinct to go to a safe place.

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