de-cluttering-everything-but-treasured-memoriesBe wise about de-cluttering. Choose carefully. Cherished memories like this etches a person’s brain. I’ve been spreading the word for 16 years now: simplify, slow down, GET RID OF YOUR STUFF! Luckily, my own husband is slow to get the message because look what he found in the mountains for memorabilia he hoards: The hospital bill for his own birth. This is gold! 48 days in the preemie ward — $121.75. Today’s market: 48 days in the NICU — $168,000!

Born 2 months premature, Baby Wiseman weighed in at 2 lb.14 oz. A tiny little thing that would fit in his dad’s out-stretched hand. His twin sister was 4 oz. heavier so she was the one more likely to make it, but she didn’t. This was 1939 so, clearly, he is lucky to be alive.

Sometimes it’s easy to throw stuff out: This doesn’t fit anymore, that’s plain ugly, I haven’t used it in 10 years. But sometimes it’s hard to decide: My first kiss happened at this prom or my sweet kindergartener made this for Mother’s Day. The hardest decision for me is artwork. My dad was an artist and so is my daughter Christy, so deciding which paintings to keep and where has always been daunting.

The toughest decisions are somewhere in between: We don’t need it, we don’t love it, but we want to keep it… just in case. Mostly, we just don’t notice it anymore. You get so used to looking at your own stuff that you don’t realize it isn’t relevant anymore… to your current life or the current you.

Since Covid times started last year, I’ve spent more time walking around surrounding neighborhoods. Not often, but sometimes a garage door will be open. The volume of stuff in there is staggering, but it never ever includes a car. The urge to purge always grips me until I get home and find something, anything, to add to the thrift store bag.

More and more of my possessions have outgrown their usefulness and meaning. What was dear to me 20 years ago just isn’t anymore. I loved it then, but… I can keep worn-out sneakers for gardening or the beach, but how many is too many? All but one pair I’ve discovered. Putting shoes in the landfill just never feels right!

One good-sized memory box with a lid keeps all my small treasures in one place. Everything else gets re-evaluated once in a while. I once had a chair that no one ever used. It sat for years in the corner all pretty-like, collecting dust and taking up room. Gone. Good.

Once I got into the mindset of simplifying, everything was easier. I couldn’t part with it last year, but this year’s different. Facing a lifetime of accumulation is overwhelming and easy to put off, but the hardest part is the starting. Once you get rolling watch out.

My blog is called Weeding Out the Crap for good reason, but simplifying is about more than just your stuff. The hairstyle you had when you were 25, does it really work now that you’re 55? Hmmm. That mustache you proudly grew when you were 20 might not suit you now that you’re 50. We all get used to our own faces and just don’t notice anymore. You’re a different person now so why not risk it? Hair grows, people!

The trouble comes when you try to figure out what YOUR personal crap is. Happy tossing!