The Power of Purge

Chest Olga Machkova

I never quite understood the sensation of weightless relief in parting with long-collected personal items, until I untethered myself from them one spring.

Blame it on a maturational shift in priorities or the current economic times that have me thinking twice about purchasing even small-ticket items; this city inhabitant has been paring down for the last year, and my domestic world has expanded.

By no means am I a hoarder, but I will purge the fact that some keepsakes lie within the underbelly of my bed, allowing for visitation rights until I’m ready for the bric-a brac breakup or the sprawling country life. Do I miss these items? They’re wrapped in newspaper, so beats me; it’s hard to miss what you can’t see. Some items could be sentimental, but for the spontaneously acquired fleeting 'must haves', they’ll find domestic bliss sold or gifted to another appreciative eye, satisfying the old adage 'One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.'

Granted, I’m an urban dweller, which allays the urge for antique market madness, but long gone are the days of bringing home an adopted Delft vase, an addition to a collection that once prompted my friend to offer the observation, “Look at all your blue and white porcelain appointments. I feel like I’m in a Flemish painting.”

Point taken. It was time.

If you’re struggling to part with all things that clutter your home and mind, I recommend an initial 'bye-bye' sweep of inventory, a stowed away trial period for the undecided, and then working with what remains; reupholster, change pillow covers, matte an existing picture frame, and then enjoy spending time with only a choice few carefully selected tactile companions. And for goodness’ sake, keep your friends and family out of it. They’re not a storage locker.

When I ordered a contemporary shelving unit that furnishes the illusion of space, I was swiftly met with the familial response, “That’s great, but please stay out of the boutiques. You’ve come so far.”

Trust me, your world will seem larger, too, and George Carlin would be proud that his shtick on “stuff” stuck with me.