"I was wondering today who I could share Jesus love with and then I thought who better than my children and nieces and nephews. So this is to let you know how much I love you and how much God loves you too."She then went on to detail some of the ways she was proud of me, from things I helped her with as a young child to things I do now. The e-mail ended this way:
"So I have a challenge for you. The challenge is this: What will you do for the month of September that would make Grama proud of you?"*As I finished reading the last few lines of the e-mail, I racked my brain, trying to think of something I could do this month that would make my Grandma proud of me. Something that I could actually manage to do throughout the majority of a month. I knew that promising to do something like cook three-course meals every day or stop eating sweets would only last a few days before I gave up and went back to my normal ways.
It wasn't until Tuesday night as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep that I had a thought that might work: decluttering. For the past several years, since my grandparents moved from their house into a smaller condo, my Grandma had been working very hard to give items from her home to others who could use them and would love them anew. She made an effort to go through trinkets and other items and give them to relatives who would treasure them, and she gave away most of her precious library to her children and grandchildren, always brilliantly knowing who would most appreciate this book or that series.
After all the work Grandma went through to pare down her household items, I knew that going through my own and only keeping the things I really love and use often would have made my Grandma proud of me. And I also know that I really need to do it anyway to prepare to move when Jonathan is done his master's in December. On top of that, on Tuesday afternoon Jonathan had gotten a call from our landlady's daughter, who let us know that our 93-year-old landlady, who was previously living with her daughter, is now going into a residential care facility and her family needs to sell her house in order to be able to pay for her care. While it's likely that this old farmhouse will not sell within the next three months, we know it is a possibility, and the more we can go through and sell, donate, or otherwise get rid of, the better if we unexpectedly have to find another place to live while Jonathan finishes up his schooling.
So here I am, ready to dive into this decluttering challenge throughout the rest of September, and likely throughout the rest of this calendar year. There are many boxes and files I have purposely left alone until now because I know they will be incredibly hard to go through. I have several boxes of childhood trinkets that I don't really want to display because, although they are filled with memories, I absolutely hate dusting, and trinkets on shelves collect dust like kitchen counters collect crumbs. I have many files of high school and college papers that I've gone through once or twice already to weed out homework assignments, quizzes, tests, and notes that I can easily just look up online. I will now have to go through them again and decide which papers and essays and short stories and news articles are good enough to keep, and then scan them so I can keep a digital copy and finally feel free to recycle the hard copy. This will not be easy as I am quite sentimental about some of these items, but it needs to be done and is long overdue.
Please wish me luck! If I find or think of anything moderately interesting to write about as I go through this process, I'll consider posting updates. If not, I'll just keep plugging away. Here's to the end of 2014 finding this apartment a lot less filled than it used to be! :)
*My Grandma found out that she had lung cancer near the end of last September. In one way, it seems so long ago, but in another, it seems like almost no time has past since then.