My father and his wife have ordered their Thanksgiving dinner premade, and will be spending this week, including Thanksgiving Day, continuing their decluttering journey towards an eventual move into a retirement community. (There are no hard feelings here; we will be seeing each other in a few weeks for my son's graduation from college.)
In my attempts to straighten up my house a bit before the kids arrive for the holiday, I realize, yet again, that we can't wait until retirement to do the same.
I come from a family that values stuff; it is part of my DNA. The thrill of scoring a really good sale is also inherited. Throw in the childhood spent traversing the globe as a military BRAT, when my stuff became my sense of home, and a tendency to start creative projects and not finish them..well, you can see where this is going.
We are not hoarders, not in the truest sense (although with books, I plead the fifth; I am a librarian, after all). I have no problem throwing away trash, recycling paper and plastic products, getting rid of clothes that are three sizes too small. I am not someone who keeps items that spark sadness, so there, Marie Kondo.
But I can't bear to part with sentimental items. Boarding passes to places I may never visit again, notes from grateful students, a Christmas tag with my mother's handwriting--they bring back happy memories, those I'm worried I'll forget without the physical reminders.
And there are those books I swear I will get around to reading, the projects I know I'll finish someday, those jeans that are just one size out of reach...
It's time, though, to think once again (because I know I've written about this before) about the long-term effects of having this clutter around.
After all, this is the season of gratitude...and I have so much more to be thankful for than just stuff.