When I first moved to Kitimat last summer, I had two suitcases and a few backpacks of belongings that I brought with me.
It was a fair amount of stuff, but I didn’t know how long I was going to be out here, nor what type of clothes and outerwear I’d need for the Northwest B.C. weather. (I now know that I just need lots and lots of rain gear, and maybe some snow boots.)
Recently, I moved houses in Kitimat and was amazed to find how many things I’d accumulated in my short seven months of being here. A few more clothing items, a fair amount of office supplies, several books, and more notebooks and writing utensils than I can count.
I figured moving and packing would be a good chance to start clearing out some of the unnecessary doodads and thingamabobs, and while I was able to get rid of garbage and old pens and such, I found myself having a difficult time parting with things like old notebooks, mini desk figurines, and candles that were three-quarters of the way burnt.
Humans, as a whole, are sentimental creatures. You often see people having trouble throwing away things they don’t even use anymore, because ‘my third grade teacher gave this to me when I did a good job on that one presentation’.
And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m absolutely guilty of that, myself, as well. I have no idea where some of these things came from, but something in them just pulls at the heartstrings and I can’t seem to let it go.
One saying I love is, “People might not remember what you said or what you did, but they’ll remember the way you made them feel”. And while that’s true for people in your past, I also feel that it rings true for objects.
Sure, you might not remember who gave you that old, torn-up book that you don’t read anymore or why. But you remember that it was a gift, and one that whoever gave it to you went to great lengths to find because they thought of you when they saw it.
As I was unpacking in my new home, I was going through the boxes and backpacks of things, trying to think really hard about whether there was any of it I should get rid of. But something in me just couldn’t let go of most of it.
Half-written-in notebooks? Nobody would want that. But should I throw it out? Of course not, there’s still half a notebook left!
What about this half-used candle that I really never light? Can’t part with that, either. It was a gift from my mum when I was homesick during my first year of university. Maybe it can help with the homesickness again, who knows?
The organizing consultant Marie Kondo became famous for her well-known line, “Does it bring you joy?”. The meaning behind the line was to get rid of anything in your house or work space that doesn’t bring you joy. This way, you’ll be able to clean out your space of any clutter and unnecessary things.
I tried to use this method, yet found I was having a difficult time because all of my things brought me joy in some form. Whether it was sentimentality (the most common case), something that was given to me by a close friend or family member, or just something that made me laugh or smile, I found it hard to determine which things brought me less joy than others.
So, I pretty much kept it all. But I wouldn’t say my room and house are cluttered, by any means. A place for everything and everything in its place, as the saying goes.
And the notebooks? Well, what can I say? I’m a writer. We do love our notebooks. But do I have too many? Absolutely not. The pile in the corner isn’t tipping over towards me. It isn’t going to fall. Everything is fi—
— Clare Rayment, Kitimat Northern Sentinel editor