It’s been grey and rainy for days. Typical, I suppose, for February – even if we haven’t had any frozen lakes for it to thaw. Still, in some ways it has been the perfect weekend for me to focus on domestic tasks. Far nicer to stay indoors where it’s warm and cosy…even if I have carried on being very busy, resisting the urge to curl up with a glass of wine and a good book.
Instead, amongst a host of other things, I’ve made a start on my ‘stuff’…and I didn’t get quite as far as I had hoped!
I chose to start with jewellery – and I’m pleased to report that I can tick off that part of the seven, even though I have yet to tackle everything else! I’m slightly panicking that I might have overstretched myself with this challenge: unlike all the others so far, this one involves a big time commitment and activity. I hadn’t really thought about how much effort it takes to sort through the stuff we accumulate – mental energy as well as time and commitment. But I’ve found a resonance with a piece I read recently in Sarah Bessey’s book ‘Out of Sorts‘ where she draws a parallel between sorting through her grandmother’s possessions after her death and sorting through the elements of her own faith. These activities aren’t easy, but they are necessary unless you decide to live with the clutter or just turn your back on it altogether.
So – I thought I might struggle with actually making the decision about what to keep and what to let go. But in the event, what really took the time was cleaning and polishing those pieces I haven’t worn for a long time. Actually deciding was mostly a matter of instinct: was this something I would ever wear again? Was it something that held a sentimental value? If the answer was no, it went in the pile to go. A pile that, over time, included about eight necklaces of different kinds, more than a dozen pairs of earrings, three or four bracelets, a couple of rings and a few brooches.
I won’t miss the items I’m letting go. It’s given me space in my various jewellery boxes – and, dare I say it, I’m eager to fill them again! I’ve always loved jewellery, and most of mine is not of great intrinsic value. Instead, most of the pieces are valuable to me only because I can remember when and where I bought them, who I was with, what it was like to be there and what the jewellery meant to me at the time. Other pieces were bought for me, or were passed on by family members. Each piece has its own story – and telling those stories to myself was a pleasant part of the process. Of course, choosing to let some of them go doesn’t mean there was no story to tell, or that I don’t care about that story – but I’m learning to accept that change is part of life and we can’t hang on to everything if we want to keep moving forward. We have to make room in our lives for new things.
On the other hand, I’m already being reminded that one of the great pleasures in sorting through the stuff of life is re-discovering the things you’d forgotten about. I was thrilled to be reminded of some very happy times and some very special people through some very beautiful pieces of jewellery which I had somehow managed to forget all about. I’m looking forward to making them part of my life once again.