The Intervention

There is a reason we have Weight Watchers, AA, and the whole wingman thing. The buddy system works.

I pulled out a basket of stuff – that’s the only way to describe it – and it brought me to the brink.

As you can see, there is an unopened packet of chalk, art stickers, books, and confetti. I have no idea why they ended up in this basket (I suspect because it was there). I do know that at some point I had a great project in mind, but that time has come and gone.

The confetti gave me the most trouble. The last time I remember using confetti was for my daughter’s third birthday. She’ll be 25 soon. That means that I have kept the left-over confetti for over two decades, moving it from one place to another; upstairs, downstairs; inside, outside.

I tried to be stern. “Self,” I said, “you haven’t needed confetti for 22 years. Let it go.”

Then I remembered my daughter’s birthday, and how I made paper cones filled with confetti. The day of the party I led the guests to the backyard, handed each child a cone and told them to run free. And they did. They shook the confetti over themselves, over each other, over the dog. They whacked each other with the cones, squealing and giggling. When the cones were empty, I had them twirl around until all the confetti was out of their hair and clothes, then fed them cake.

As I searched desperately for the strength to let the past go, my husband walked into the sewing room and found me clutching the confetti. He looked at the bags, then at my face, and said, “You’re failing, aren’t you. Throw it away, you don’t need it.”

“I might,” I said, “I could use it to decorate a gift basket.”

He shot me The Look, and said, “You’re going to give this to someone you like, knowing she will never, ever see the last of it? She’ll open the basket and the confetti will go flying everywhere, and she’ll be vacuuming it up for weeks.” Then he took the bags from my hands and tossed them outside in the trash, warning that if he caught me running after the garbage truck the next morning we would have words.

Today is trash pick-up; the garbage truck took the confetti. Not only is it gone, so is the other stuff.

The basket now has a new function. I call it my “Why are you keeping this?” container. Anything that doesn’t have another place will go in the basket. At the end of the month (or when the basket is full, whichever comes first), I’ll evaluate each item and throw away what I don’t need and what no one else can use. And if my willpower wavers, I know who to ask for help.

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2 Responses to “The Intervention”

  1. Ron Gilliland Says:

    I love this post – it gives hint to the undercurrents that keep us attached (I felt the poignancy when you shared your memories of the children enjoying the confetti)

  2. Marlene Says:

    I wish I had your husband’s courage. I don’t dare force my husband to throw anything away. I’m afraid he’ll resent me. I figure, that like asking for help from addiction, it has to be his choice to let the clutter go.

    The only thing I do, is try to keep the clutter from getting WORSE.

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