Townhouse living means a lifestyle of always keeping what matters at home. When we decided to move to Gingham Lane, we gave up a suburban home lifestyle. Moving from 450 square meters to 107 requires frequent decisions about one s personal belongings. It means accepting an annual season for serious decluttering. This is best done during the dry season when one can clean and harness the power of the sun to disinfect and air out things.
While there is no such season as Spring in the Philippines, there is a cleaning season and mine is usually after Easter. I began the year with a resolution to lose weight and decided to include the weight or mass in our home. Along the way, I learned about the KonMari method.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese tidying expert and an author of two best selling books translated to different languages. She said to tidy up one must touch the item and evaluate with this criteria “Does this item spark joy?”. She recommends one to try a kinesthetic approach. If the item sparks joy, it should be in your home. If not, then one should let it go with a sprite of gratitude.
I was able to feel when an item sparked joy. I didn’t expect that I would feel other sparks. Some item sparked memory and needed to be placed in the category of “sentimental/memory” items. I would rationate my feelings and try to justify keeping some items. I would hold them a second or third time and even on the third time, there was no joy.
I had a difficult experience today. These items sparked memory and no matter how many times I touched them they did not spark joy. Rather they inspired some regret.
These are cards I bought for special people in my life: Cards for a former lover, cards for deceased parents, cards to express sympathy and gratitude. I found them in the hidden box where things lose their meaning. They were originally purchased for occasions for a particular person. I found the greeting cards in fine condition. They were all in their original plastic wrapping. I had failed to write and send them and now I had found them this Sunday morning.
When I held them the first time, I said I may be able to use them. I held them and let the spark of regret settle. My father passed away in 1991. Would one more father s day card matter? My mother passed away in 2013. Did I say “I love you, Mama” often enough? Would this one last card if sent timely mean that my lover keep our engagement? Would my mentee have appreciated a gratitude card?
After the regret lifted, I took a photo and wiped away my tears. I thought to myself that life is too short and I would rather have given away items that sparked joy or memory than have them in my home, becoming things that carry regret. Regret can carry a big space in one s heart. I made a resolution to give my cards as soon as I purchased them. For this year, I hope I get to express love and affection immediately and on occasion. I hope I never find a kept greeting card again. I priced these regret-filled cards and packed them to be included in my sister’s garage sale tomoro. Maybe someone will get to send these cards timely. After all, mother s day is coming around this month.