Today I’m going to talk about a book and about a family story. The book made a real impact on me, and it cleared the way for me to memorialize a family story without keeping the artifact. That’s what this book is all about.
Written by Japanese cleaning consultant and translated from her original language, this little book guides you through how to tidy and declutter your home for good. Her method is a category-by-category system, where you gather together everything you own in one category (clothing, books, papers, memorabilia) and go through it. You must touch every item to see if it “sparks joy.” Do you LOVE that item or just keep it around because you paid good money for it or because your favorite aunt gave it to you? Kondo says that trying to do a thorough sorting room-by-room or little-by-little will never work, because you haven’t actually organized all similar things in one fell swoop. My example would be the several places I found springform pans in my house; how many springform pans does one empty nest really need?
This year when I was putting away the Christmas decorations, I was determined to give away or throw away more of the items that did not spark joy. We pulled all of the bins out from the crawlspace and I reorganized the items that I want to keep. That left me with some perfectly fine pieces that I rarely use because either they were given to me or they no longer suited our lifestyle. Into the donation box they went. But I had one thing that didn’t fit the mold.
This homemade angel tree topper kept popping up; I couldn’t quite throw it out and it carries so many memories with it that I have kept it around long past its sell-by date.
When our children were preteens, we sometimes brought a craft to our Thanksmas family party (the day after Thanksgiving) to keep the kids busy. My father loved crafts and artistic endeavors, and he enjoyed working with the kids in a cooperative venture where they allowed him into their world. One year, I brought makings for tree topper angels for everyone to create, and this was ours.
I haven’t used the angel on our tree for years as our ceiling isn’t high enough for the angel and the tree. Everytime I look at it, I remember my dad’s shining eyes and his devilish grin as he worked alongside my children and my nieces to create their Thanksmas craft.
I’m going to keep the angel around for a few more weeks to see if any family member wants it, but if not, into the donation pile it will go. I don’t need the tangible artifact to remember a special holiday time. I’ve memorized that memory. 🙂
Jennie, I read that book recently, too, and the “Does it spark joy?” question really resonated with me. I’ve been through my books, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Memorabilia will be tough to cull, but I plan to try!
I hear ya. I’ve also read the suggestion to photograph a treasured item that has passed its expiration…just in case you need to recall that sparkle in your dad’s eye!
After discarding something one of my children made as a child and feeling deep regret later, I vowed to take a picture of anything and everything the least bit sentimental before letting it go. You can even create a “memorable things” photo file on your computer to look through occasionally. Getting rid of things can really be tough when special memories are attached! It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction, though, with your new year organization and “shed” of things unused. Good luck! 🙂