Recently, I was cleaning my apartment, and I noticed some shoes in my closet. Growing up, I was an avid shoe collector. Though I couldn’t always afford the best looking shoes, my parents still bought me a new pair from time to time.
Eventually, I became a sneakerhead. Over the years, I grew out of this. Simply because at the end of the day, a pair of shoes is a pair of shoes, and a price tag of 200 dollars won’t change that.
As I looked in my closet, I saw the shoes I still had. There were about ten pairs altogether. As I rummaged through them, I couldn’t help but notice that I hadn’t worn about four of them in over a year. One pair, I beat into the ground, wearing them often. Another pair were old basketball shoes, which I’d since purchased new ones to replace them, as they were losing traction. There were some old work shoes that I’d worn earlier in the year and plenty of times the year before. Yet, I also replaced these with new work shoes.
Lastly, there was a pair of old running shoes I hadn’t worn in over a year because they, too, were pretty worn out. Not to mention the rubber on the soles got damaged when I put my feet on the edge of a bonfire pit the year before. The more I looked at these shoes, the more I wondered why they were still in my closet. I had no intention of wearing any of these shoes again, so why were they still in there? Well, the more I thought about it, the more it pulled me in two directions.
Why we keep things
On the one hand, I believe I kept the shoes just for the sake of keeping them. Rather than throwing them away, it was easier just to keep them and not have to debate with myself on whether or not I could make use of them. Instead of going back and forth, I would take the easier route and not deal with the situation at all. In many cases, this is what leads to unnecessary clutter.
We don’t want to face the music many times in our lives. So we opt to turn away from whatever is causing us to make a decision. Yet, as I searched more in-depth as to why I kept these shoes, it became clear the root of me not wanting to get rid of them was about much more than dealing with decision making.
Mostly, me not wanting to throw my shoes away was rooted in memories. Which is how many people come to hoard. We keep things that matter to us, right? But when does it become a problem? It’s okay to keep a bracelet passed down through family generations, right? Is it alright to hold onto a newspaper that your child once laid on as a baby? At what point does it become too extreme? When do you let go? All of these questions need answering.
Letting go of the clutter
It’s not easy to declutter and let go of things. Specifically, when we tie memories to items. As people, we keep items because they bring back memories. These items can make you feel whole, or so we think. However, discerning the difference between the bracelet and the newspaper is what matters. Imagine if you never threw away anything you had memory-related. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be living in my apartment because all of the stuff would be pushing me out of the door.
Bringing this all full circle, in my situation, as in most, I faced two choices. Keep the shoes or throw them away. I won’t lie, I gave it some thought. I thought about all of the great basketball games I played in with those shoes. I thought about my work shoes and how they reminded me of my old job. Did these memories truly matter, though? Of course, they did, to an extent. Yet, did they matter enough to keep the items so I could remember the memories tied to them?
Although it may have helped, it wasn’t worth saving the clutter. So what did I do? I threw them away. As I embark on a quest for continual growth throughout my life, one area I can work on is letting go of clutter. Ultimately, it will leave me feeling freer. Knowing that I’ve kept the items that truly matter and threw away the ones that didn’t, and taking solace in remembering memories are about much more than a keepsake.