I have lived out of a large duffel bag for the last year and a half; it’s all that you need when you live in Hawaii. Yes, one season of clothing and maybe a hoodie or two for colder areas on the islands. Summer clothing is cheap and this is why I love a warm climate. I don’t often wear dresses but if you ever see me wearing one, you can be sure that it is summer. I feel beautiful in summer.
Before I left, I moved the other 3 seasons into rubbermaid tubs, and stored them in my mom’s basement. I took away clothes, electronics, a bag full of books and journals, and left the bed, desk, shelves, and kitchen items.
This morning, I hung up the clothes that I had in the duffel bag. That was easy. I know my summer clothes well and they fit me. I have before me, however, a dozen boxes to go through — three seasons of clothing in three different sizings (my weight has fluctuated).
I have to try on each item and decide if it fits my body, and my style and get rid of the rest. I know it sounds easy when I type it, but I find this task difficult. Each time I have open up a rubbermaid tub to peer into what is inside of it, I want to replace the lid, and lie back down in my bed. Every tub is a box full of decisions and every decision has another decision behind it. Things must be divided into fit / don’t fit, then into piles of keep, maybe keep, and get rid of it. I have a friend named Jody who loves getting rid of things. She is my ‘Call if I am in jail’ friend, and she is also my ‘Cull the closet’ friend. Jody used to come over and spend the afternoon with me culling my closet. Her own closet is sparse and tidy, and she’s always dressed just right for the occasion. I wish I were like Jody in this. Decisive and swift. I also wish she were here. Sadly, she lives in Las Vegas now.
What is this pack-rat tendency that runs in my family. Is it innate or learned? Is it a symptom of my emotions? Does it mean that I have a hard time letting go of my emotions? I once read a book called Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? and I would agree that I the less clutter I face, the better I feel, so you would think that unconsciously, subconsciously, and consciously, I should now know that getting rid of my clutter is good for me, but why is it so difficult?
There are things that I won’t ever get rid of however, a bright yellow scarf that I never wear in public, but that I sometimes put on when I’m sick. My grandmother bought it for me for Christmas from Honest Eds. I will also keep an altered sweatshirt that my dad used to wear in the hospital before he passed away. Although I wouldn’t rescue them in a fire, as long as there, I keep them, and I like to stumble on them at times of transition. I know that my grandma is not in the yellow scarf, and my father, not in that sweatshirt that I know. Heck I’ll bet he didn’t even like that sweatshirt. Before his stroke, he was a white button down monogrammed shirt type of man.
For every sentimental thing that I want to keep, there are 5 things that I ought to get rid of, but what if I need this again?. I want to save each piece for 10lbs lost or gained. Perhaps there will be one time out of the year where that ugly sweater might make sense to wear.
I know that this is a first world problem. In other places, people don’t have everything they could ever want cluttering themselves up. I lived a fulfilled life out of a single duffel bag for the last year and a half and this should be easy. Maybe thinking makes it hard, and so I am going to turn to music to help me. Beastie boys maybe? Some of the best things that I have ever done have come from listening to the Beasties. Here is an Einstien quote about clutter.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
I am sure that Einstien was talking about the chaos and mystery of physics. Atoms that pile on top of one another, Mass and Energy. He probably wasn’t talking about people clutter. Still, when I go through these boxes I to am struggling to find the simplicity, harmony, and opportunity in this situation. It’s a process, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. It’s just stuff right?