Kat plans a surprise
After the success of sorting old baby clothes with Kylie, Kat was keen to try her hand at something else. As a surprise for the family, she was determined to tackle the stacks of books that covered her formal dining table. She could picture the family sitting around that table at Christmas. It would be the first time in many years that she was able to host a family celebration. And wouldn’t they all be proud of her achievement!
She confided her desire to her ever-eager friend, Violet, who’d been watching TV shows about decluttering, hoping for just such a chance to help. And so the back and forth began.
Violet: If you haven’t opened a book in a year, just get rid of it.
Kat: But how will I know if I still need it?
Violet: If you can get the information on the internet, get rid of the book.
Kat: But I like to hold books and leaf through the pages.
Violet: Hold a book in your hands and ask, “Does it spark joy?”
Kat: But everything sparks joy!
Violet: If a book’s tatty, get rid of it.
Kat: But those are some of the best!
Violet: Why do you need so many books anyway?
Kat: Well I’m not like those people on TV.
Violet rolled her eyes.
And so Kat’s enthusiasm was quashed again. It was hard work justifying all her decisions. Violet was supposed to be her friend. Friends don’t judge, and she definitely felt judged.
Kat tries again
It was another 2 weeks before Kat summoned up the energy and courage to try again. She couldn’t turn to Kylie for help because she wanted it to be a surprise. But she remembered that Kylie had mentioned Jane, an organiser who looked at things differently. She was the one who’d suggested the memory quilt. Maybe Jane could help in this situation too?
Sure enough, Jane was patient and listened. She even agreed to come over when no one else was around so they could keep the secret safe. When Jane started talking about friends, acquaintances and strangers, it took Kat a little while to catch on. But Jane explained that it was an Emotional Organising Technique that could work with Kat’s emotional way of thinking about her stuff, and could actually be used to make some good decisions about what to keep and what to let go of.
Together they looked at each book stacked on the table. There were a lot of books…
- a set of encyclopaedia from 1981 that still contained so much good information
- books about pregnancy she picked up at the op shop that she’d meant to pass on to Kylie but never did, and now it was too late
- cookbooks for slimming, for French casseroles, for pastries, and lots more
- books she’d read to Kylie as a child and wanted to read to Tiffany as well
- text books from Kylie’s uni years
- and books that she’d read and loved and wanted to read again, but she couldn’t find them till now
It took a long time, but Jane calmly helped and asked the occasional question. With each decision it became easier. Kat realised that not all books have the same value in her life. She became more comfortable with letting some go, and more decisive about which earned a place in her home.
If only Violet had tried this emotional organising technique! Maybe they could work together without breaking the friendship after all.
By the end of the day, the table was bare and Jane had a collection of books to take away to the op shop. Kat promised not to buy them back! Even better, it seemed that Kat’s dream of having Christmas dinner was within reach.
Catch up on the past Adventures of Kat here…