19 Aug

A large home, with a relatively dry basement, an attic, and a garage. An offsite storage room. Twenty-one years in this house, 10 years in the previous one with no time to throw anything out prior to that move. Since those two moves, we got married; I completed an advanced degree and changed careers; we both started businesses with home offices (involving lots of paper); I inherited the archives of my parents and my sister (not to mention the entire art collection of my artist mother who loved to work large, clothes from my fashion designer sister, and what must be the entire works of Mozart and Hadyn on vinyl from my record-loving dad); and I began two serious avocations, in creative writing and in art, as my husband continued with his fine art photography.

Did I mention that I kept every letter ever written to me, every program from every event I ever attended, childhood mementos quietly moldering in two trunks, souvenirs from numerous trips, interesting news articles that might prompt stories, and fabric and other items for intended crafts projects?

We don’t live with all this detritus underfoot; most of it is happily out of sight. Most of what we own is worth little, except to us.

So where to begin? With a room? A drawer? A kind of item?

I read a number of organizing and decluttering books/articles for ideas, but I confess I had no plan at the start. I told friends--some were full of unhelpful advice ("just throw it all out!); some were sympathetic; some had ideas that would require more time and work than I wanted to give ("set up a business," "make memory quilts.") Mostly, I knew I just had to begin, somewhere, anywhere, to feel some success. And so, although I am someone who likes to have goals and a sense of direction, I lifted anchor and set on my way, not sure of where I was headed. 

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