So I thought I'd get books on audio for my walks. I try to walk every day so COVID-19 really had nothing to do with me deciding that but having just spent a wonderful weekend with my middle daughter walking three miles every morning, I knew I'd need some form of entertainment to occupy my brain if I intended to keep up that pace. After spending at least an hour trying to download the appropriate app and entering the 25 digit library code enough times that I'd memorized it, I was finally ready.
I started with a book on clutter that had been on the Best Sellers list at some point. I admit when I started listening, I was greatly inspired. I'd acquired many boxes of stuff from my parents after my mom died and was having trouble parting with them. Trouble even going through them to be honest. Somehow it seemed wrong to just throw the stuff out. It felt like I was throwing them out. The more I listened to the book, the more I realized that I didn't need to keep their clutter. It didn't bring me joy. It brought my sadness.
Then she got down to the specifics. By this time I was at my house but I kept on listening. Many of her methods seemed bizarre. Collecting every piece of clothing in my house into one area to decide what to throw out? The amount of time it would take to do that was daunting. And then I was supposed to live with the pile until I was able to go through it all? Oh no, no, no. I figured I could tweak this a bit and still use her method.
By afternoon, it was going great. Then she got to sentimental items. Her comments about special gifts from people floored me. Her method, naturally, directed you to get rid of it. I was horrified! Sentimental items give me pleasure. They don't have to be useful. Or maybe their use is that they remind me of someone or something. I like to have the jewelry box with the picture of my children in the cover. It's prominently (and proudly) displayed on my bureau even though I seldom have any reason to use what's inside now since I work from home. It gives me great joy.
I was becoming quite irritated until I realized I was essentially trying to organize my life by following the advice of someone who thought I should ask each item what they would like and yet didn't demonstrate any grasp of human attachment to other people. Did this nullify my plans on how to handle my parent's things? No. She was right there. But I suddenly imagined her home as very empty, void of any sentimentality or her attachment to another and I realized I didn't want that home.
You may think in the end I will succumb so that I too could have an immaculate, empty home. No way! I will take her advice and give it a good shake. (If she can talk to her items, then I can shake her advice.) What I find helpful, I will use. What I do not find helpful, I will discard. And isn't that the way most things in life are? If you can get one good piece of advice, like going through the mound of boxes at the end of my hall with the newly recognized assurance throwing things out doesn't mean throwing them out, then the item (in this case the book) has served its purpose ;)