Declutterers risk sinking into dismay over all the stuff filling our homes and must battle the false allure of the impulse to retreat from all the sorting and sifting, just pitch everything into a dumpster and be free of it.
I approached this level of dismay when I was under enormous pressure to pare my townhouse full of stuff down to a manageable volume. I had to be out by a fixed date. I had to keep moving expenses within budget. I could bring no more stuff than we could shoe-horn into my new husband’s already stuffed full house. I knew I needed to be careful….
Here’s an ill-lit photo of my colorful Nativity set from Mexico. Mary and Joseph keep watch over the Child while a pair of … are those boars? … investigate the situation.
My six Nativity scenes, all very different, each invite me to retreat to an island of peace.
Some years after I got this little Mexican set I was in a fair trade import shop. As is my wont I stood examining the sale racks. There I unearthed a sweet wooden bovine just a bit smaller than the palm of my hand. Of course, agreed the clerk, it had fallen out of a long-ago-sold Nativity set, probably carved in India… Of course I brought it home!
And every Christmas season the little wandering piece retreats into one of our Nativity sets.
These are the stories that save a frantic declutterer from succumbing to that sweet dumpster impulse. We hold our little wooden cows in hand; we save the things that make our homes into places of shelter; into our retreats.