Sorting Through Life

When it comes to decluttering, it took me most of my life—and several false starts—to get where I am. The biggest kick in the butt was the passing of my brother, a lifelong collector of pretty much anything. When he died, my siblings and I travelled to Manitoba to clear out his apartment in a matter of days. Overwhelmed by the amount of stuff he had, we needed to make quick decisions about what to keep and what to toss. We dropped off about 40 bags of clothing to Value Village and filled two recycling dumpers with decades of old magazines. Much of the rest went into storage for months until we could sort through it, trying to decide whether something was sentimentally valuable, monetarily valuable, useful to someone somewhere, or merely crap. Sometimes the lines blurred.

When we die, someone has to sort through and make sense of what’s left of our life: every single thing that we gathered and stored over the years. As the parent of an only child, I didn’t want to saddle my daughter with that burden.

I’d attempted decluttering before. Failed attempts involved a never-ending cycle of moving piles from one place to another. So while I didn’t know how to go about decluttering my life this recent time, I knew how not to go about it.

Then I read Marie Kondo’s Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. The premise? Get rid of stuff first, then organize what’s left. The simplicity resonated with me, and I dove right in. Continue reading “Sorting Through Life”