In a high cupboard, way back in the dark, I found a box of childhood treasures, among them an ancient sprig of forget-me-nots pressed in a fold of paper. Forget-me-nots have always been my favorite flower.
I don't remember when or why I saved this particular specimen, but I know that it spent a long time among the pages of Hamlet in my Complete Works of Shakespeare before I moved it to this treasure box, and that it's at least 42 years old. It once symbolized something to me--I remember that. But somewhere along the line the actual meaning got lost, and so the pressed flower is just a memory of a memory.
A lot of my clutter is like that. Over and over again, I've encountered the fear that getting rid of the thing will dissolve the memory or negate the relationship or sever me from my ancestors, as if any of those things were really possible.
So, standing on a step-stool and rooting deep in the luggage shelf above my closet today, I first took out, then put back, then took out again, a host of little treasures that must have once really pleased me, stored in little boxes--wooden, silver, brass--that are treasures in themselves. It didn't take long for me to feel overwhelmed and sad, so I stopped.
I left the forget-me-nots for another day. After all, they don't really take up any space.
Green dots are cleared.
The forget-me-nots were--and still are--in one of those wooden boxes on the right:
Bedside table left:
Bedside table right. Decluttering will never be complete till we have wireless electricity...
The Project Empty tally now stands at 55 areas cleared and 24 more to go. And I've lost 13 pounds.