Letting Go

Even in our large house, the piles of papers, letters, books, and magazines that I have saved over three decades threaten to overwhelm me. I love to keep things, to hang onto them, doubtless for many reasons. I like to think that perhaps it’s because of my years working as a library assistant in high school and college – maybe the organizing and protecting of public information ensured that I would feel just as compelled to save my the documentation of my own life.

But there is a downside, too: rooms that become storage rooms rather than having a useful purpose; serious problems when moving; guilt for letting everything become so cluttered; hesitation to show visitors around the house. Sentimentality scents many of these items with its seductive fragrance.

And so: I decide to plunge in, discarding letters from people I haven’t heard from in years, sorting through the magazines I love, purusing our files for documents that can go. It is a hard and long process, but also freeing.

How do you deal with your piles and clutter?

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