When the Spring Cleaning bug hits you this year, you might come across some forgotten treasures or something that brings up sensitive feelings. I had one of those moments myself just last week.
I recently moved to a new-to-me house and had a mountain of laundry to go through. As I was folding the towels, stacking them in piles according to where their new homes will be (kitchen towels, bath towels, etc.) I pulled out a small blue towel. In my apartment, I used it as a rug in front of the bathroom sink, but there’s no need for that in my new place. Before my apartment, it had been the dog towel. It was the perfect size for my wonderful, fluffy little companion Mazzy but she didn’t get to move with me to my apartment. She was the dog that turned me into a dog person, but she was my ex’s dog before she was mine, so she got to stay when I left. The towel came with me because it was a sentimental reminder. I could have just left it with her, but I have more attachment to it than she does. She’s a dog and doesn’t have a favorite towel (just a favorite toy).
But now here I am in a place with no dog and no need for a bathroom rug. I still love the towel, but I don’t need it or use it. (Something I've discussed in a previous blog post.) So what do I do? I’m not ready to let it go yet; it’s still too emotional. I sat with it for a while, told my beau about my dog and had an emotional moment. Then I decided to put the towel with some other powerfully sentimental things as part of my altar (which is still not set up yet). It will find a function there and still be a reminder of that doggie love.
Sometimes it takes a minute to process the emotional power we put into our belongings. Beloved items that have stories attached can be given continued life even after their original purpose is through. Making an intentional, deliberate decision to keep a sentimental item and put it to use in a creative way keeps it from becoming clutter or buried in a box and forgotten. This is something I’ve done with clients before and it was refreshing to try it on myself. I feel lighter now.