Aditi Wardhan Singh

Magic Trick to Decluttering

DeclutteringLast week, I was hosting a dinner when I admired a guest’s bangles. Suddenly, it occurred to me. ┬áThere was going to be a story coming up from the receiver of the compliment. Maybe about who gifted them, or where they got it or maybe how or when they got it. And I wasn’t disappointed. There was a charming story about how she got it on a recent trip and it led to a whole other conversation about what all they did there.

The next day, I overheard someone going gaga over another’s gorgeous necklace. The response was how her husband gifted it to her on their 6 month anniversary and this led to another conversation about how they celebrated that whole year and what other ladies got on their anniversaries.

The day after that when getting a lot of compliments on my earrings, I proudly stated my mom got those from me when she visited last. And how she is the one always buys my jewelry. That led to a whole another discussion about the variety of stuff available in different places and how our loved ones remember us no matter where they go.

Do you see the pattern?

I am often highly frustrated about how we keep accumulating stuff in spite of constantly decluttering. My quest to keep our house and lives streamlined seems an impossible journey. I often wish to have a magic wand to clean up the stuff and put them back in their shelves. I see stuff lying around and I feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable. But in light of the past few days, now I see that those things not just stuff, but memories! Everything surrounding me brings forth a fond memory of something we thought very long and hard about before bringing into our house. Those tiny little fragments of our loved ones, trips, milestones that we hold onto. When we look at them we are back in that moment breathing that air, in that season, reliving, feeling those poignant emotions, everlasting.

Everything surrounding me is a fond memory of something we thought very long and hard about before bringing into our house.

Now when I look around the house, I realize my exasperation at the constant clutter of toys also seems unwarranted. When I look at them, I don’t see the Dragon Toothless but the first toy we my son when he started preschool and his phase of “How to Train Your Dragon”. I don’t see a ragged doll, I see grandparents’ ┬álovingly giving in to a grand-daughter’s demand. I don’t see a Spider-Man but an uncle’s first souvenirs from his trip to his nephew. I don’t see a lawn mower, I see an aunt’s birthday gift for my sweet girl. These toys are not just toys, but a loving reminder to me and my children that they are greatly cherished and that everything they do and desire matters. Someone keeps in mind their likes and dislikes when they go shopping for them. The trick to decluttering is to keep only things that keep you happy.

As I write this, my 5 year old son is enjoying a play date. His friend remarks how “awesome” his convertible Iron Man car is. My son proudly responds, “My Nani (grand ma) got it from me when she was visiting me from Kuwait. I love Iron Man, right?” and they start a hilariously competitive but lovable dialogue about which toys they each have given to them when.

I am smiling. Now the mess isn’t just a pile of stuff. They are little stories lying around making my home the warm place it is.

17 thoughts on “Magic Trick to Decluttering

  1. I think if something is seen with a purpose or is loved, it is worthy of keeping. If not, it is clutter. I can see your point of view changed your outlook on how you viewed things you thought were clutter, and realized they really were not. It can be a bit confusing at times to decide between if it is necessary to let go of or if you are going over board with decluttering. I am definitely guilty of it! Glad you hear you found a balance and was able to release the stress you felt!

  2. I love this! Seriously, shifting how you think about things makes such a difference. It’s all about finding the positive in something you are unhappy with.

  3. I am the same way! It’s hard for me to let go of things and I stress out when there is a little too much clutter too. Sometimes it does take changing your perspective on things and these are memories.


  4. I definitely see your point! I naturally am less sentimental so I tend to throw out A LOT of things. My mom brought me a box of old medals from when I ran track, and I was like…”Uhhh…What am I supposed to do with these?” I kept one and through the box out. My husband couldn’t believe I did that, but I knew it wasn’t something I treasured. Having one medal was enough to remember all those years competing!

  5. Decluttering is hard when you have attachments to things. Sometimes I think about some of the things I’ve gotten rid of and regret it. Other times I’m okay with letting go because I had a sound reason for it. At some point a person needs to realize even without those things, the memories are still there. Right now my big challenge is tackles our grown daughter’s stash of childhood toys. We went through them once, but there is still so many, taking up a big section of my walkin closet.

  6. I agree, I’m living with the toy mess because someday, someday is coming soon when they will be done with toys. My 13 year old is done with toys but my other two still play with them. I’m trying to enjoy living in the moment, and the mess, and accept it as it is.

  7. Whenever I get an impulse to declutter or throw stuff out, I go for it! Most of the time I feel sentimental, so whenever I can detach a bit, I try to make strides. It never lasts. lol

  8. What a heartwarming story! There are definitely a ton of stories associated with objects I currently own. Some I can give away, others I just can’t bear to let go of. Glad to see I’m not alone!

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