Tuesday, March 19, 2019

30 Day Tidying Challenge • Day 30 • Sentimental Items

Welcome to Day 30 of the #30daytidyingchallenge! This challenge runs from February 18th to March 19th, and if you're tidying with me, the plan is to be finished in time for the first day of spring on March 20th (or the March Equinox if you are located in the Southern Hemisphere). THAT'S TOMORROW!!! This tidying challenge is based on the KonMari method, and I was hugely inspired by these three resources: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

To help with the process, I put together this calendar, which shows all the different categories I'll be tidying during the 30 day challenge. Depending on your situation, you may want to tackle this project over a number of months, and that is totally ok too! You can still use the calendar--just follow the order, but take more time for each set of categories.

Day 30 is our very last day of tidying, and I'm so happy we're here. Today, we'll be tackling the dreaded sentimental items category.

Some thoughts on Day 30:

1) Set aside a few of your favourite sentimental items to use as a benchmark for spark joy. I find I don't typically attach sentimentality to a particular time or place, but rather to a particular person. I am still riddled with a lot of guilt when I let go of things that people give me. The closer the person, the greater the guilt. I'm trying to get past this, but it's difficult. I tried to group my sentimental items by person and keep only 1-2 favourites, but it didn't work. In order to keep "spark joy" at the top of my mind, I pulled out a few of my favourite sentimental items and put them where I could see them. I made sure to select at least one item from each of my favourite people, including my husband, my family, and my close friends. I also selected a travel item and our time capsule. These items helped centre me when I was feeling overwhelmed.

2) Unless the entire album sparks joy, take your photos out of their albums so you can review each photo individually. I'm not gonna lie, this was a huge pain-in-the-butt type task, but it worked. Most of my albums are more like scrapbooks, so it is next to impossible to remove the photos, plus I look at these periodically and they still spark joy. I only had two albums of slip-in photos that I decided to empty out. It was tedious but worth it. I was able to let go of around 2/3 of these photos.

3) Cards and letters have served their purpose the moment they are read by the recipient. In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo writes, "The purpose of a letter is fulfilled the moment it is received. By now, the person who wrote it has long forgotten what he or she wrote and even the letter's very existence." I read this many times, but it was still hard to follow the advice. In the end, I let go of many cards and letters, including most of the letters from my childhood best friend. We became pen pals when I moved to California at nine years of age. Seeing her letters did spark joy, but we've since lost touch, so I just kept two of my favourites. I also let go of some cards from my biological mom, which was no easy task. Some of you know she passed away when I was 20 years old, so I wanted to cling to every single item that she gave me. I kept all the letters and many of the cards, but I was able to let go of a few.

4) If you decide to keep an item, keep it with confidence. This passage in Spark Joy struck me as being very important and relevant: "If you cannot bring yourself to throw something away, keep it with confidence. It might be a T-shirt designed by your high school class for a school festival, for example, but if you can't part with it, keep it. Don't berate yourself for not being able to throw away something as simple as that. Rather, trust your instincts, which you have already honed by choosing what to keep and what to discard for an astounding number of things. As long as you have approached that T-shirt with integrity, the day will come when you know that it has fulfilled its job." The couple key points in this passage are to (a) trust yourself and (b) be gentle with yourself. All your tidying up to this point has honed your intuition for "spark joy" so trust that intuition! At the same time, it has been a long and difficult journey, so be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to make very human decisions. What you decide to keep is what you decide to keep--this is a judgement free zone with no "wrong" decisions!


WE DID IT! Whether you tidied over the past 30 days or 30 weeks, if you've followed along with these blog posts, you'll be very close to the end of your tidying journey. Today was difficult, but well worth it to go through years of sentimental items. Thank you from the depths of my heart and soul for following along with this series. Your kind comments really helped me through my negative self-talk and allowed me to better reflect and heal throughout the process. It was a long road to build up this much excess and clutter in my life, and it's so nice to come out on the other side. I feel like a happier, calmer, and generally better version of myself. I still have a lot I want to do in the self-improvement realm, so stay tuned for much more on Authenblissity. Perhaps another 30 day challenge will be in my future...

At the very least, I'll be posting a wrap-up video tomorrow, summarizing my thoughts AND sharing all the before and after photos. See you then! x

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