Dear Ms. Blanke,
To be truthful, I've read at least three books a year regarding clutter, hoarding, purging and organizing. Some of them are veiled in words like Feng Shui, detoxing, recycling or slimming. My husband shook his head and laughed at each title. After reading your book, Throw Out Fifty Things, I have filled four 20 gal bags of clothing, household items and useless clutter thanks to you. My husband is baffled and I am elated.
I'm not sure if it's the content of the stories, the way you walk through the process or the definitions of 'swimming through a deluge'. But I'm slowly loving a clear kitchen counter, throwing out coffee cups with chips and releasing my sentimental feelings as I toss and shred.
This is an ongoing process and I have always felt that I hold on to my clothing or household goods to preserve memories. I have a mental vault, things get locked in; even the useless trivia. Room by room as you had suggested, I went through piles of items and saw the underwater state and began to pitch items into their boxes.
We recently added a dog into our family; a species that likes to chew, tear and mangle things. His presence made me put things away that I definitely did not want destroyed. And it made me prioritize things in the past and the present. Sort of like baby-proofing. I seriously needed to make room for this new family member.
While donating two large bags to my local Goodwill, I happened to see all the things that people were hauling in. Old paintings, rugs, unopened toys, unfortunate handbags, cowboy boots and old cassette tapes. I shopped the books and found a few chapter books my son would love and one book by the CEO of Zappos. This was also good therapy for me to see how there are many others out there trying to keep the things out of their home that have caused a slowness and ceased being part of every day life.
I've also increased my online selling. It's a hobby of mine and I sell at least 6 items a week. From odd office supplies to new handbags and decorative votive holders. What I couldn't love, someone is enjoying or using in their home.
Thank you for your guidelines of throwing out what I don't love. I've heard all this good wisdom before but I believe the way you had presented it was much less clinical psychiatric and more relatable for a child of parents who have kept everything in their home. I am feeling lighter every day.