I have been feeling a distinct lack of space in my apartment lately. My pots and pans no longer fit my kitchen cabinets. Jewelry making supplies were slowly spreading out. My books no longer fit the bookshelves (but that is pretty much status quo around here).
Since cluttered spaces make my mind feel cluttered and restless, I started looking for alternatives: handover some of the additional pots, move some other kitchen things to be able to organize the tools and so on. But it all boiled down to moving some things I use less often to the hall closet (a long story all by itself) or to the shelves up near the ceiling in my bedroom. Of course, neither of these spaces were empty, so I still needed to look things over, reorganize and prioritize my things.
So Abba started playing, to keep my mood up, the dust rags and wood polish were close at hand and I ventured into the dark corners of my bright and cheery home. Old papers were sorted through and a lot of them were recycled. A can of white paint, left over from when I moved in, was thrown out. But most of what was in there were bits and pieces of my life. Some I had outgrown, some I had forgotten, others were best forgotten.
For example, painting supplies. I haven't painted in 10 years. I admit to having no talent for it and I have, since, found other artistic activities. But there were old canvas, half finished projects and paint tubes. I really liked black and white back then, judging form the colour of the paint. Or maybe they were left over when I used up the other colours.
I wanted to hang on to these. They were part of me! I remember the enthusiasm I had for painting, the feeling when a canvas came out just how I wanted and the hours of frustration when they didn't. But this is something past. I don't need old supplies to show it. So I let it go. The unused canvases were donated, along with the good brushes. The half painted ones, the old tubes and unusable supplies were thrown out. I need the present more than I need the past.
I also found tons of old technology: 35mm cameras, ZIP drives (remember those?), a Walkman, an external CD burner which had been so expensive and a whopping 4x speed. Nothing that I had used in, oh, the last 8 years. Nothing I would use today, for sure. And nothing of any value (sentimental or monetary) or use. But they certainly cost a pretty penny in their time, which reinforces my thinking on technology: avoid fads, avoid first generation, buy quality and research what you need.
Coming across my old flute and music was a bittersweet moment. I love music, specially classical music. I had been a pretty good musician, too, but I stopped playing when I started college. Despite resolutions, I didn't take it up when I graduated, after I moved or when I got a new job. I am not ready to let go of this yet, even if, rationally, I should. I looked through my music, my books and notebooks, I cleaned the flute, checked the pads and lovingly packed it up. It is a cherished item. Someday, I will hand everything over to an aspiring musician. Not right now, though. I did make a resolution to take singing classes once again.
Memento of old relationships, gifts from loved ones that didn't quite fit my needs (I am not a cut glass kind of girl, but how could I say that to a caring relative?), knick knacks and junk. Everything was looked over. Some of it was thrown out or recycled. Many things are being donated or passed on (I do know who will love the cut glass vase and use it).
Those dusty items, together, show how I have grown and changed over the last decade. They were all once important enough to be saved, most had been useful at one point, some were kept for their memories but put away where the memories couldn't be seen. This process was tiring, emotional, sometimes disappointing, at others heartlifting. I remember old projects, ambitions and dreams. Some are gone, replaced by different views, others were just waiting to be revived.
And, best of all, I have more space for my present and my future. I can invest in what I do now, instead of being tied down by what I did then.
The books still don't fit the bookshelves. I doubt they ever will.