living with the Spring-clean’d consequence

I did this thing. It is called “spring cleaning”. I did not do it today, or yesterday. Nope, I did it a few years ago. This weekend it hit me hard, and I’ll tell you why.

You see, I inherited something from my father. Don’t know if it is genetic or just a bad habit. It has to do with storing anything and everything that isn’t totally useless, because you never know – it just might come in handy one day. There is a big drawback to this though. My dad has space to store his ‘collectors items’ and I always lived in a room or small flat which has limited storage. I also moved a lot at one stage, which is a drag at the best of times and more so when you have to transport a lot of ‘collectors items’.

Yes, you can see where this is going. After struggling to make room for myself between boxes of stuff I made a choice. The next time I had to move I had to sit myself down, go through all my collected items and decide on the odds of me ever needing any of it in the future. It was NOT an easy task. If you’ve spend years doing things one way, it takes real willpower to change it. So I sat myself down and went through everything. No surprise that I couldn’t even remember where I got half the stuff I had accumulated over the years, or why I thought it might come in handy one day.

It was tough. Tough to decide what to keep and what not. Because really, what does define a keepsake item? Is there really a criteria one can apply? And here is a certain truth – you are bound to throw something away and will only realize years later that you made a mistake. A big mistake!

That is what hit me this weekend. I threw something away and when I realized it this weekend I felt like bawling my eyes out.  It is not so much that it had sentimental value as that it was a lot of hard work and ideas. Something I spent months on doing. It was a manuscript people! If you’ve ever tried to write something like a book you will realize how deep my sorrow is at this loss. Because this manuscript was rejected and was left gathering dust, I decided to throw it out . . . and start over. I haven’t been able to finish another one since. It’s funny. I only just realized that!

So turning over a new leaf to a minimalistic life-style wreaked a little havoc in my life, without me even realizing it. When you do Spring Cleaning, be careful what you ban to the garbage bin.

05/10/10

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8 thoughts on “living with the Spring-clean’d consequence

  1. Oooh, bin there too. [‘bin’ – get it? 🙂 Sorry… couldn’t resist]

    I have spring-cleaned so often over the years, and ended up ‘binning’ so many things, where I thought months and even years afterwards – Ohh! Where is that thingy? Did I really toss it? What was I thinking?!

    It’s a horrible feeling, Riekie, and I totally sympathise with you.

    But you know what? You ARE going to write another book. You ARE. You’ve already written a whole BLOG! For over a year! So hang in there, and we shall cheer you on. 🙂

    • Oh Reggie, I get the pun – don’t doubt that! 😀 Cute.

      Blogging does help to relief some of the pain in a way. I appreciate the positive thoughts and encouragement.

  2. It’s so difficult weeding out our belongings. The hardest part for me is actually getting started, but once I’m in that state of mind it does become easier. Some years back I tossed out the very first ms I wrote when I was about fourteen. I have no idea why I did it although sometimes I think it might be interesting to look back and see what my younger self wrote. At the time I looked at it as a new start..Tossing out the old. Once it’s gone it’s gone in the same way a computer file might become damaged and ruin our work. Work will get lost along the way. It happens to every writer. The important thing is that we keep going forward.

    Sorry for your heartache.

    • You know, my very first ms is another one of my regrets. I also wrote it while still in school, gave it to a friend to read and just couldn’t find it again later. I guess my biggest problem is letting go of that hard work and remembered story lines. Every time I start something new I get stuck in the past, trying to weave those old story lines / feelings into the new. It just doesn’t work.

      I hear what you’re saying about “keep going forward”.

      Thanks, Laura.

  3. I can totally sympathize with this as well. There are certain things like pictures, and picture frames, and dozens of journals and pieces of paper I’ve saved over the years. They collect dust, but I can’t part with anything. I agree with Reggie’s comments – you’ve done a wonderful job keeping this blog and I believe you have it in you to write another book.

    • Thanks Jolene! 🙂

      It wasn’t easy to change my mindset from “keep everything” to “toss what I don’t need”. I’m sure there will be times in future when I regret not keeping something from the present. I’ve developed sort of a method for chucking things – put it in the bin, and if I don’t regret or think about it within a couple of days or so then it stays there and go out to the garbage bin.

      However, I won’t “bin” photographs because it is a sure bet that it will become a big regret.

  4. I also have a hoarding tendency – but have had to do some hectic “pruning”… As much as I love to have everything I possibly think might come in handy “one day”, I’ve found the process of cleaning house rather therapeutic… almost cathartic!
    As for your book, I can see how that would be seriously disappointing, but I agree with all the comments above that you WILL write another 🙂 – think of it as a fresh start, with lighter shoulders, and endless possibilities!

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