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What to Keep?

Boxes, bags, and piles of stuff accumulate, but why is it so difficult to throw things out? The minute I act, Murphy's Law kicks in, toss something, and suddenly it is needed. How to unload excessive baggage?

One glance around and I see that a big offender is art materials and books. Books are your friends, and the childhood rhyme says, "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." I will keep paintings and artwork, but accouterments such as a supply of picture frames can go. I vow to unload books that are no longer relevant and have become meaningless. Make someone happy to find them at a resale store or library book sale.

My theory of clothes comes from the Girl Scout motto, Be prepared. Dressing for success is less a worry since I am retired. I no longer want to stand out or make a statement, but preparedness for all occasions is just good sense. I do not want to shop under pressure or often for basic items. I love clothing and fashion and remember that clothes are my armor---so---enough said. That goes for footwear, too. I do, however, promise to weed out things that are old, uncomfortable, outdated and not useful.

Files are a smart way to control paper, but they can grow over time and need culling. For years I saved references for the watercolor classes I teach but I find that I can print exciting material from the Internet, so no need to save every photo ever found of tulips, etc. This includes props for still life or art class demonstrations. Wicker baskets, vases, and flowers. My sun hats are in stacks, and I love them all and use many of them during nice weather for painting outside. They are keepers and they make me happy.

Collectables tend to accumulate. Many have been gifts from friends and loved ones. I have kept every handmade Christmas card from students. I know the answer to the question do I really need the commercially produced greetings I’ve received? I will get rid of them along with letters and handwritten notes. Dog statues and items with dog motifs I will keep in lieu of having a real dog. Just because…

Many kitchen items can be eliminated. My sister went on a scourge of clearing out and I have recently bought her new muffin tins and a double boiler. So, we continue to cook with passion at times and fundamental items remain necessary. Glass luncheon sets from the 1950s can be eliminated. Linens such as tablecloths, shower curtains, and tacky, tired bath items need to be removed. The pet rescue places need old terry towels all the time.

I envy the unsentimental person who from her pile on the curb on garbage day is a constant weeder-outer. I will never be one. has journals to write plans for smarter living, to reminisce about how it once was or for gift giving and personal entertainment. We all need nice things and knowing something fun has been ordered keeps life exciting. Our journals will make you smile and if they accumulate, just pass them along to bring happiness to another.

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