As you know we are in full decluttering mode in the Fearse cave. So far this has been mainly driven by the 2-4-1 challenge and a desire to keep ahead of ourselves just in case. I think it is now time to add a bit of focus, as we’ve got rid of a lot of the surface clutter and are digging much deeper now. We all know what lies in those lower levels of junk…the dreaded sentimental junk. Big Poppa has already spoken about his findings in his man cave. In some ways it is worse for him as many of the sentimental papers from his childhood have been laminated. Mine have simply deteriorated over the years until each fold is torn and the print has faded. This makes it easier.
In our storeroom I have a large moving box full of letters and diaries. I actually made a little headway with this recently by throwing away large piles of letters from old friends that didn’t mean much anymore. While reading letters from another old friend I realised that these were more records of her life than things of value to me, so I got back in contact and asked if she would be receptive to me returning them. She was and I did, but I haven’t heard from her since. I sometimes wonder if they were a bit much for her, as she wasn’t always at her happiest when she was writing those letters to me.
As a child I was as voracious a letter writer as I was (and still am) a reader. I had many penpals over the years from other parts of Australia, all across the USA and even from India. I still have the majority of those letters, and of course I haven’t read them for years. I have more than a sentimental attachment to letters and diaries. When writing them I secretly thought maybe one day I’d be famous and they’d be important. As I grow older and this looks a little less likely I’m wondering if maybe I could manage to part with just some of these things.
Then again…recently my Mum discovered the letters of her Great Grandfather in the Tasmanian historical archives. It turns out that he was close friends with one of the fathers of Australian Federation and although her Great Grandfather wasn’t a particularly important man his friend was well known enough to justify keeping all his correspondence. It was fascinating to read about this man who we would otherwise know nothing. We have photos and we have facts, but how often do you get to learn of the intricacies of your ancestors personalities without a whole lot of guesswork? It turns out he had a great sense of humour, a little distain for his younger brother who was a bit useless and he had a pet monkey.
Maybe someone I’ve written to will be well-known enough one day to justify having their documents maintained in acid free, light free archival solitude. Honestly, I’d be quite horrified if it were the case. I would hate for my private writing, meant for an audience of one, to become public. There’s no control over that. To save someone else in the far, far future from having to make decisions about what paper work of mine matters and what doesn’t (it all doesn’t) I have to make headway with this junk.
I’ve been doing more reading and this entry has inspired us to set out some goals. This is what we hope to achieve with our decluttering:
- Want to be able to find things when we are looking for them. Everything has a home.
- Want the house to be tidier and easier to clean.
- Want the house to feel calm instead of chaotic.
- Want to be able to part with some of the sentimental stuff that has no real purpose.
- Want to achieve these things by January 1st 2014.
I hope you’ll help keep us on track,