Funny thing about sheltering in place—I have not been able to escape all the clutter I’ve collected over the years. Why did I save a dozen empty vases and then store them on top of shelves and cabinets? Why did I have a stack of bedding sitting on a chair and a closet so full that I couldn’t squeeze more bedding inside? Why did I have a bookshelf full of old textbooks from graduate school? Why did I have a double bed in a spare bedroom when I only needed a single and a fold-out for an occasional grandchild visit? And what’s with the dark brown curtains and the 1970s avocado paint I used for the spare bedroom—what was I thinking? I finally hit that point where I had to do some major decluttering –and yes, a little painting too. My first challenge was to figure out what to trash and where to store what I wanted to save. I sorted the “don’t need any more” into two piles –one for Good Will and the other for the garbage. The double bed will go to the Good Will as soon as it reopens; I replaced the bed with a futon I found online for a great price. Once I found “homes” for the clutter I had accumulated, I repainted the spare bedroom a light grey color and hung new, white curtains. I also purchased large plastic bins for items that I wanted to store in my cleaned-out closet.
Long-ForgottenI’m one of these people who get distracted easily. Getting rid of some clutter has helped me focus a bit more. I can also lose things more easily when I have too many places for them. I rediscovered some of these hidden treasures when I cleaned out the spare bedroom closet. I had stored some exercise equipment and a 20lb weight jacket in a crate inside my closet. I thought I had sold these items at a garage sale seven or eight years ago; I was delighted to unearth these long-forgotten treasures.
Escape from a Cluttered LifestyleIn some ways, I think ‘retirement’ is like a major decluttering process. It is so easy to lose touch with authentic selves when we are constantly living busy, overly cluttered lives. It is also very easy to set aside all that is really important to us, thinking someday we’ll make time for what matters. I am rediscovering that I am still the person I have always been – just with more experiences and knowledge than I had when I was younger—I don’t need a role or title to be the ‘real’ me. I’m also thankful that I can focus more on the people and activities that matter most to me. I’m uncovering the treasures I was seeking.