Mimi’s Journal

We went to see some apartments under construction in the neighbourhood, thinking perhaps the time has come to consider downsizing into a single level dwelling
No matter what we decide, we may as well get started on the elimination of extraneous possessions. It will take time, which I don’t always use wisely I get side tracked. I’d rather do any number of things other than plough through my possessions. Professional help is needed and coming over tomorrow!

After the first session:
Things I am learning as I let go of clothes I’ll never wear again: I don’t need them to remind me of our travels – kurtas from Katmandu, a purse purchased in Portugal, tee shirts from Amsterdam and Rome, dresses worn to weddings of now-divorced couples. I gave away the suit I wore to my daughter’s bat mitzvah in 1990, complete with shoulder pads, brought with me on aliya and never worn since. As we filled bag after bag with oversized, faded or outdated clothes, I told Dalit their histories. She patiently listened to my ramblings and even evinced interest. Many of my garments are “hand-me-ups” from my daughters. Dalit is kind, patient, supportive, and, unlike me, she “finishes” what we begin. “No,” she’ll say, “first let’s finish the shoes, then we’ll do that shelf.” Patiently taming my distractible nature, she cheerfully creates categories I wouldn’t have thought of. That very evening, my husband loads the giveaway bags into the car and after dinner, we cart five bags of clothes and shoes to “Ha Boydem,” a trendy, Jerusalem thrift shop with branches in Talpiot and Nachlaot. Ha Boydem http://www.jpost.com/In-Jerusalem/VINTAGE-EMPOWERMENT-378781 is a wonderful enterprise, a win-win. They accept and sell our give-aways while providing transitional employment for mentally ill people who otherwise might not be hired. Their vintage merchandise is available for sale to the public at bargain prices.

Doing the Homework:
The following week, before Dalit’s arrival, I hastily finish trying on clothes that were question marks last time, and either hang them up or put them into a new give-away bag, hoping I’ll get a passing grade if I do my homework. Making more giveaways from last session’s question marks leaves me feeling lighter. I put aside a few lovely pieces to give Dalit that I’ll never be skinny enough to wear again. She takes a few of the best ones

The Second Session:
Today, Dalit and I “cleared” the drawers and the counter top in my bedroom. We organised the drawers and I can now see what I have. I got rid of lots of clothes -underwear, tee shirts, pants. Dalit bagged up all the stuff on my counter and gave me my next homework homework assignment: to go through one bag a night. Alas, I didn’t do my homework. I sprained my ankle, had to keep my leg elevated and iced. I spent much of the week feeling sorry for myself, grouchy from pain, and exercise-deprived. I also feel guilty that I can’t seem do this on my own. On the other hand, I feel supported having someone work non-judgmentally with me to get it done. Something magical happens as we work together. It gets easier to say good bye to stuff I no longer need. Or never needed. It feels great to clear space. It’s a process. At the end of our second session, I have five more bags to give away, and I can see the countertop again. I spoke to my friend, Alice, complaining about being ADD with decluttering. “It’s not ADD,” she reassured me. “It’s “decluttering aversion.” So maybe Dalit can brand herself as a therapist for those suffering from “decluttering aversion.” I notice that it’s easier for me to do everyday tidying tasks like laundry and dishes than tackling the piles of stuff that get put in our bedroom when company comes over and then collect dust.Sorting, categorising and dealing with piles of paper is much harder. It requires a different kind of patience, and much more time-consuming thought and decision-making. Last time I did this I sorted all my papers into piles by size. I don’t recall they ever really got dealt with. They are all probably in a box I need to finally act on.

Somewhere deep inside me, a memory lingers of how hard it was to clean my room as a little girl. Closer to the surface is clutter aversion and an image of my grandmother, age 99, marooned in a sea of my mother’s clutter, unable to move her walker through the piles of newspapers, magazines, coupons, tax files and bills awaiting payment. Happily, my mother, now in her nineties herself, now lives without all that clutter, so perhaps, someday, I will, as well!Dalit gently suggested I tell my now-grown and out-of-the house kids that the time has come to remove the artefacts of their childhood and adolescence from the rooms they once inhabited. Then I can move my office into one of their former bedrooms and clear space for their future visits (grandkids in tow).

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