I’ve spent the past two weeks working on decluttering my house. It’s slow going (and it would be even if I didn’t spend six hours a day napping) and harder than you’d think. Take, for example, the two things in my bedroom I focused on today: my jewelry box and a big canvas bag full of bags (purses, wallets, etc.). I rarely open the bag o’ bags and couldn’t tell you the last time I looked in my jewelry box, so every bit of decluttering advice I’ve ever read says that it should’ve been the easiest thing in the world to just get rid of all of it. If I haven’t wanted to wear any of that jewelry or use any of those bags in months then I don’t need them, right? It’s not that simple.
Bags are useful, but I rarely have two in rotation at the same time. I hate switching purses, so I don’t. But just because I’m not currently using the Coach handbag I got for my birthday several years ago doesn’t mean I should donate it to Goodwill. Someday I’ll want to use a smaller purse than the one I’m using right now and I’ll switch back to the Coach bag. The fact that I was eventually able to convince myself to get rid of a dozen or so bags is quite remarkable (especially since my initial response was to keep them all).
Jewelry is a tricky, tricky thing, too. It’s not necessarily what you’d call useful, but it can be meaningful. And that meaning can make a piece insanely difficult to part with. For instance, I found a simple gold cross necklace in my jewelry box today. I never wear it because I don’t wear gold or crosses, but I will never, ever get rid of it. Why? Because it was my Confirmation present from my maternal grandparents and that makes it special. In the end I decided I could donate some of the stuff and I even found a few necklaces that might be worth selling, but my jewelry box is still really cluttered. At least my jewelry is (mostly) all contained in one relatively small box, right?