I have been cleaning out closets, filling boxes with things I no longer use, need, or want. It’s a therapeutic process, once I get into the rhythm of it, and I always wonder why I wait so long to take care of business.
But there is a drawback. Sorting and discarding pieces of my life can leave me in a melancholy mood. I remember the little pink Rothschild wool coat and matching hat that belonged to my daughter when she was just a toddler, and how I sold it for $25 at a yard sale one Saturday, and how, within minutes I regretted that decision and asked the buyer if I could buy it back. But even when I pleaded my case, she said no. A deal was a deal and I had to honor that.
For weeks—months—I mourned my loss and vowed to never be that hasty or foolish again. Maybe that’s why my attic floor moans from the weight of the toys and plastic tubs filled with relics from my daughter’s childhood. Maybe that is why it takes me awhile to get into the swing of cleaning out closets, of saying goodbye to my stuff. I want to be sure.
Once I’m sure, though, I’m happier for it. I enjoy walking into closets that have so much space they echo. The sight of barren shelves makes me smile. I feel free, released from the weight of it all, and I like to think my old things find a new home, a new life.
On Tuesday, I strolled around a couple of antique stores, searching for a small vintage alarm clock, the kind you wind up, the kind that works. My hunt came up empty, but as I walked the aisles, I kept thinking about the things we abandon and I wondered why we choose some and hang on to others, why one day we want it, the next day we don’t.
I passed items that appeared to have been well-used and, I hope, equally loved.
Other things seemed hardly used at all. I tried to imagine who sat at this desk. Who wrote letters here, by the light of a lamp? Who opened mail here, taking in the news of the day? The desk seemed to have so much life left to give. I think, as a writer, I felt a certain kinship with it. I wanted to load it up and take it with me, but there would be no room for it at home.
I’m an advocate for simplifying life, for clearing out clutter, but some things grow dearer with time, while others grow stale. It’s really all up to the heart. And I suppose I've just answered my own question. Why do we abandon some things and hold on to others? It's because the heart either sings, or it doesn't. At least that's the best explanation I have.
So, dear friends, if something still makes your heart sing, perhaps you should hang on to it a little while longer. And if not, well, you know what you need to do.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by and listening to my ramblings. Your company is always a delight.