Monday: another walk to the thrift shop with a bag of donations. Leftover Christmas trinkets from the relatives, some cute Xmas cards I purchased at a tag sale a decade ago and have finally realized I’ll never use, a gorgeous pair of corduroys one size too big (and if I drop that five pounds I don’t need, they’ll be two sizes too big).
And the sweater, a favorite for years. Big and comfy Perry Ellis (I know, that dates me), heavy cotton yarn in an argyle pattern of 10 eye-zapping colors. Yes, the sweater was almost as dated as I, but I clung to it through years of drab fashion, gray and black and white and tan non-natural fibers that bore and depress me. Say what you will about ’80s and ’90s fashion, but I loved when we could find clothing that wasn’t the color of mud.
But the sweater was the latest casualty of what seems to be my Year of Decluttering. Thank the god/dess (and a lot of hard work on my part, with and without other helpful people). It’s finally happened: I can cast a cold eye over much more of my mountain of possessions and ask the hard questions: Am I using this? Is it taking up valuable space and not earning its keep? Do I even like this thing any more? In the sweater’s case, the response to question #3 was such a resounding no, I’d removed it by 11 a.m., donning a beloved sweatshirt I’d left in my office, and added it to the thrift store donation bag. The sweater’s fate was sealed not by its teal, tan, gold, magenta, lime, navy, red, orange, black, and white diamond pattern – although it did look tacky at this point – but by its bad fit. I was no longer in the mood to deal with cuffs that kept sliding past my wrists and getting into my way. I had work to do, dang it!
I think that’s why 2012 has become my “get rid of it” year. (As an Argentinophile, I can’t help but think “¡Qué se vayan todos!” about my possessions.) I’m no longer lounging around reading random books, surfing the web, and wondering what I should do next with my life. I’m tired of the too-long sleeves, and my thousands of books, and my constant clutter, getting into my way. I want to be fluent in Spanish, I want to focus on studying, I want to travel more, and I want to move out of the apartment that’s been driving me crazy for the past 20 months. There may be bigger moves coming, but I haven’t yet figured those out. The feng shui experts would probably say that those decisions become easier as we move out what we no longer need in our lives.
Next project: those poetry books I’ve been schlepping for 20 years and haven’t read.