Today I want to talk about decluttering, because that’s what I’m doing right now! Because of some of the blogs I’ve written in the past, my friends and family see me as a ruthless “tosser” (not in the British sense!). 

The truth is, even though I love the feeling of banishing useless junk from my working and living areas, I keep a heck of a lot of junk that I love — even if I know my kids might end up throwing it out. So far in my decluttering journey, I have spared: 

  • Something called an “Application for Registry of an Alien” for my mom’s dad. It says he and my grandmother arrived in 1907. I had always thought they came earlier than that. It says the name of the vessel that they came in on, so I’m excited to have that information. It even says what city in Russia they came from. 
  • The original program from the last concert at The Fillmore East featuring The J Geils Band and a souvenir program from the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1975. It was there that I was turned on to Professor Longhair and Zydeco, which I still enjoy listening to. 
  • Old letters to me and my mother from my grandfather, in his broken English. 
  • Letters and cards that my kids sent me when they were kids. 
  • Jewelry that I never wear and has sentimental value to me and only me! 
  • Some old photos that my kids won’t want. 
  • My mother’s birth certificate and my grandparents’ marriage license.
  • The first lock of hair from each of my daughters. 

Believe me, I save plenty of stuff.

I think part of the reason Tidying Up was such a hit is because Marie Kondo got people to think about the individual items of their clutter. Her well-known phrase, “Does it spark joy?” is not a bad question to ask yourself. All of the things above “sparked joy” in me. So maybe attacking your clutter doesn’t need to be scary. Keep what you want to keep! Just remember you don’t need your old tax returns and useless receipts from 100 years ago.

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