Meet Susie. Scary, huh? What you should know is that in first grade, Susie was my absolute favorite doll and she most certainly did not look like this. Oh, she had the prettiest white dress dotted with rosebuds and a sweet matching bonnet. At that point, her hand and foot had not been gnawed by our puppy, and when you leaned her back both eyes closed. Now one eye stays open and she looks like she might jump up and stab you if you turn your back. But back in the day, she was absolutely perfect. My cousin, Donna, had the same doll and she called hers Rose Marie. The four of us shared many wonderful afternoons together, Donna and I mothering our babies to our hearts delight.
I had kept Susie all these years, like I said, because she was one of my favorites. I basically have one large “memory box” in which I keep the things I cherish. I try to keep it to one box, but as the years go on, this becomes difficult. However, one of the tenets of organizing that I’ve been repeating is that organizing is a process, not a one time shot and it’s all finished. So all those items you save because maybe right now you just can’t part with them, need to be revisited in the future. I’ve seen some posts where people have said what a daunting task it is, looking at boxes or bags of items in the basement, garage or kids closets. The first thing to remember is that the better a foundation you have, the easier it gets. When you make a hefty clear out, set up your space, get your bins and shelves in order and create a system, it can take a while. Once that is in place, you are good to go. All subsequent clear outs will be much easier, especially if you want to tackle the job in chunks. Try not to focus on the enormity of the task, but take it step by step.
However, we are not focusing on the whole clearing out process here in this entry. That is for another day. Today we are going to talk about, number one, scheduling time in your planner for “bin re-visits” and secondly, parting with these much loved and treasured items.
I tend to check in at least twice a year, once in the winter, usually when I am preparing for an influx of Christmas gifts and I’m clearing out the kids’ toys, and in the summer, as work outside the home is light for me during these months when the kids are not in school. Take the time to think about your own schedule, and when it would make sense in your life to plan these “re-checks.” It might be once a year. That is okay too, as long as you are eventually getting to it. Another repeating mantra of this blog is that you have to do what is best for you, and not what you think you should be doing. Make it work, so that the process is something you can keep up with.
Okay, now the hard part. Susie. This well loved, cherished toy that was such a huge part of my youth. When I pulled her out of the bin, I thought to myself, “Oh, Susie!” Then I thought, “Hmmm, I see you twice a year when I pull you out of the container, jump a bit at the sight of you, and put you back in. What good are you doing me?” Seriously, this is not a toy of mine that my own daughter ever played with, not one that my future grandchildren will delight in, and not something that I would ever care to display one day in my own home. Am I just going to hold on to this horror movie prop, so that someday I’ll eventually have to clear it out when I down size to my retirement home. Sheesh, I don’t really want to go there but you can see that is the direction this is headed.
It is time for Susie to go. Yes, I am super sad, but I can see that she no longer serves me. What can I do to keep Susie’s memory? Yes, my classic. I took a picture of her and will include her in the end of the year photo album. I would love to try and find a photo from mine and Susie’s heyday, but I just don’t have the time right now to go through old pictures. Maybe someday, when I’ve downsized and I’m in my retirement home that can be one of my projects! I also plan to journal about her. For me, writing is a passion. I would love to create an entry where I talk about my tea parties, doctor visits, tuck ins, and story times with Susie. This will leave me with a much sweeter memory. For someone who is not crazy about writing, a non- traditional scrap book is a wonderful idea. Stick in a picture and jot a sentence about your cherished object. Voila, you have your memory. There are items I’m fine with just passing on, but this is not one of them. This one needs some documentation. You can for sure, keep your heart memories in a smaller, more functional form. If the item no longer serves you, it will never be used by yourself or anyone in your immediate circle in the future, and is taking up space, it is time to let go.
Now this is Jimmy Jumbo. He made the cut…until next time.