Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

P Publisher’s Point by Jean Loxley-Barnard
Identifying Treasures


The current focus on sorting through our belongings, to select what gives us joy and setting aside what does not, is long overdue. I am embarrassed to have realized only recently that just because clothing fits and has no holes, it does not mean I should keep it. And setting it aside to donate is the only joy it has provided me for a long time.

I’m not alone. I was legion. What was it that prompted so many of us to keep everything?

Maybe it was growing up poor, or knowing grandparents valued everything. Maybe it was the tendency to collect items that often had no actual monetary value but represented something we liked: football memorabilia, perfume bottles, matchbooks from restaurants – almost anything could turn into a collection.

I get the advice of the decluttering guru, Marie Kondo, who advises holding an item to detect if it gives us joy. If not, “Bye, Bye.” There are things that really do give us joy. I have a five-foot-tall rabbit, made by a New Hampshire artist decades ago, that I discovered in Duck, NC years ago. I still derive joy just looking at him. (Notice I say “him,” not “it.”)

Something happened
when I first experienced decluttering.
Not just joy and pride,
but being in control.
I hope it will keep growing.
It is exhilarating.

“Doc Harrington,” the name given my rabbit by his creator, is on my “One Room” list. That might just be the only inkling that I recognized long ago that not everything could remain with me forever. I did not go farther with the declutter philosophy than to make a list of my dearest treasures that could fit in one room if it came to that much downsizing.

Surprisingly, I am finding joy in more than select treasures. I am finding joy in being able to part with items, even many I really like. I am proud of myself when I declutter.

I was actually astounded that I could find joy letting things go. My sister, although eight years younger than I am, nevertheless beat me to the delight of letting go. She chose to move from a large home in the DC area to “The Cottage” on the “Rivah” – perhaps seven years ago. She has described the art of – and joy in – letting go ever since, and that encouraged me. Perhaps it is what eased my anxiety over actually following suit.

Something happened when I first experienced decluttering. Not just joy and pride, but being in control. I hope it will keep growing. It is exhilarating.

Picture this. A party with 100 people. I have experienced that and it can be enjoyable. Now picture an intimate dinner with eight people. More enjoyable. And a one-on-one with a long time confidant? Ahhh.

We don’t have to reduce treasures to one, or even eight. But can we imagine keeping more than 100?

Kind of like organizing one room. Powerful.

Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.