I thought it would be easy as I set myself the task of decluttering – getting rid of clothes I hadn’t worn in ages, shoes that lived in boxes for years, and books I would never read again. Well, the books was difficult. I’ve never liked getting rid of books. But, I argued with myself, I could always download those I want to re-read on my Kindle, where I can increase the font size.

An exciting prospect to begin with, it soon became clear that “culling” as I call it, wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined. There are people, places and memories attached to everything. It felt as though I was getting rid of parts of me.

As I sorted through stuff that has moved with me around the world, I wondered why we accumulate so much stuff? It takes up so much space, and I’m not even going to talk about the energy it consumes to lug everything around, arrange it, re-arrange it, clean it, etc. Plus I had heard or read somewhere that if you get rid of stuff you no longer use, you make space for new things, new experiences, even new people, to come into your life.

As Christmas is looming and I know that my husband, my students and a few friends would give me a gift or two, this seemed as good a time as any, to clear out unused items. And wouldn’t it be lovely to start 2017 lighter? Those were my thoughts around starting the process of sorting through items to be given to charity, or thrown away. I was advised to sell some items, but quite honestly, who has the time to take pictures and upload descriptions to eBay these days?

After giving around nine big black refuse bags filled with stuff to charity, I realized how much more there was still to sort through. But my best “culling” intentions has ground to a snail’s pace as I deal with the aftermath of letting go, not so much of the things, but rather the emotions and memories attached to them. I’ve discovered that decluttering is not for the faint-hearted. Although I’m continuing with the task, and determined to finish it before Christmas, the process is being done through gritted teeth and with sheer determination. I feel I’ve started, so I may as well finish.

I’ve been promised that I’d feel generally much better, much relieved, clearer, lighter, and less stressed once it’s done. Wish me luck!