Sunday, July 17, 2011

Finding Memorable Needles Within Haystacks

Source of picture: dagnybjorg

2 days -  the amount of time it took to clean the contents of the home's tiny 2.5x3m study room. Well, it's not so much a study room these days. It's what I'd like to call the "spare/multi-functional room". Over the years, it has stood in as my bedroom (from ages 4 to 14), a study room (from ages 15 to 19) and a 'spare room' (from ages 20 to present). My mum, dad and I, have lived in this house for 16 years and in all that time, piles and piles of paper, toys and trinkets have accumulated and gathered dust, in that very tiny vacinity.

Cleaning this room wasn't a planned decision. Maybe one could consider this a 'practice run' when I eventually move out of home. I decided on one Friday night to dedicate a whole weekend to clear any junk that I didn't need, to make room for things that are actually worth having. Also, to revamp a cluttered room. I'm finding myself spending a copious amount of time reading and writing on my computer and iPad. What better way to do this than to dedicate a room solely for that purpose. But more importantly (I guess), it was a good room to study in. I head back to university soon and you know how the saying goes... something about a clear space reflecting a clear and focused mind - and here's hoping this clarity bodes well for my academic results. Haha. 

During past clean-ups, I had only ever cleared small sections of the room (usually at the request of the parentals), but never the whole space at one time. So I decided to sort my belongings into 3 piles:
  1. Things I need to keep (and specifically defining the word "need" to 'serving a legitimate purpose in my room');
  2. Things I can absolutely be rid of; and
  3. Things I have no idea what to do with and will sort out next weekend.
It was a burdensome task, but somewhat interesting at the same time. I came across an old passport, textbooks and notes from high school. But amongst all of the usual clutter one might find in a home, the most curious things I came across were letters from old friends that I've lost touch with, and old photographs of myself when I was 5 years old.

Cleaning out a space can be a nostalgic task, as I found out. I'm positive that I spent more time looking over my belongings than packing them in boxes. It can be difficult parting with things that have had an impact at some point in your life, but over time and in the grand scheme of things, some become useless and insignificant. They need to go. You need to pave way for new, exciting events and memories and to do so efficiently is to bundle the old, useless ones in a plastic bag with industrial-strength masking tape. And don't be too worried if a significant object is accidentally thrown out. The most important memories always have a way of sticking around - regardless of the presence of photos, letters or trinkets. 

So I threw away the notes from old friends I don't keep in touch with, framed some of the photos of me at 5 years of age and filed or got rid of the rest. To my surprise, the "Things I can be absolutely be rid of" pile, seemed to accumulate the most amount of junk. Needless to say, the spare room now says "Welcome, come in." rather than, "Enter at your own risk of hard objects falling onto you."

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