The start of a new year is prompting my need to purge.
I have too much - too many clothes I don't wear, too many books I don't read, too many things I don't use. Too much clutter. Such an antithesis since there are so many things I'm convinced I still need - that wishlist of items I MUST HAVE that promise to fulfill once they've been consumed. I've heard it called the happiness gap. "I'll be happy when I have refurnished my lounge." "I'll be happy when I've got a new wardrobe" More, more, more! And not necessarily more happiness.
But I've always been a bit of a 'hoarder' and on my last house move - 2 years ago now - I called my parents to ask which one of them had passed down the gene of "collecting" to me. Unfortunately the answer was: BOTH! I think my Dad even recalled that at some stage he used to keep the lids of Parker pen refills simply for the fact that they 'might be useful' and ended up with a drawer full of them! I think it's a mix of instinct and nostalgia. Let me clarify - when I say collecting I don't mean stamps or art. I'm not compulsive and you won't find a room in my house stacked floor to ceiling with boxes but I find comfort in keeping letters and cards, linen I don't/won't use, clothes that could be given away, paperwork that is unneccessary and generally junk I 'might' use in the future. Even data. My email inbox is always overflowing. But somehow I don't just 'delete'.
The point of hoarding (I imagine a squirrel) is to collect away as much as possible to keep you through the lean times (to survive the winter). But I haven't the excuse of ever having gone without or been denied - no rationing and war times in my past... unless you count boarding school! But I think my (and many peoples) main problem is that we also collect memories - and the items attached to them - things that have little or no monetary value but yet we can't bear to let go of. I don't feel alone, many people are similar in this regard, why else would BBC's 'Life Laundry' and other such organising shows be so popular?
But letting go of things can be liberating. I came across a great article from Blueprint magazine (mag has recently sadly folded) that gives us "100 reasons to get rid of it": They mention some great reasons to clear out - because 80 percent of what we have we don't even use, because people waste almost an hour a day looking for things, because so much can be recycled...etc. But the best reason I can relate to is because SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS IT. Especially in this country - a place of people who have so much and people who have so little.
So that's my aim. Purge. One drawer or cardboard box, one stack of magazines at a time... to hopefully achieve the adage "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
And in the meantime I thank heaven my husband likes to throw things away.