Holiday decoration declutter diary: Operation Cedar Chest part II

I woke up Sunday morning ready to kick some ass on the holiday decoration decluttering front. Since my first foray into getting rid of excess holiday decorations — namely peeling off the first layer in the ol’ cedar chest (that depressing post is HERE) — I’ve been mentally preparing myself for layer two.

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the chest back up, though. I had done more last week than I’d thought, and it was great to realize I had much less crap to deal with this time around.

Bean was instrumental in the process.

I had an epiphany of sorts as I was emptying out the chest again: That it’s guilt that has been holding me back from achieving my dream of using the chest to store blankets and quilts. I probably wouldn’t have figured that out without reading comments on the Dec. 1 December Wishes post, which is why, my internet friends, I am now giving you all a virtual hug.

Once it was emptied, I dusted it inside and out, got the very quilts I’d been wanting to store in there for years and years, and PUT THEM IN THE CHEST. Then I closed the lid and wondered what the hell had taken me so long when it was so simple.

Well, maybe not simple. I did have everything that was in the chest now strewn around my bedroom. And what made it worse is that I opened up a hidden cupboard that’s above my wardrobe and emptied that thing out, too.

Well, that was anticlimactic.

Because between the chest and the cupboard, that’s where I store all the stuff that I don’t know what to do with … like my old college papers, the cups and saucers to our original dish set, wallpaper fragments, broken items and other such heirloom pieces. (Ha!) But I had that epiphany on my side this time, and it was time to let go of the guilt:

Guilt over not liking what was given to me, or not fixing what was broken, or wasting the money on some knickknack, or potentially hurting someone’s feelings.

As if that wasn’t hard enough, something I recently realized about my decluttering method is that I like to make piles because I want to get my crap, I mean treasures, into the right hands. Even though I know there ISN’T a perfect scenario and have, in fact, counseled against doing that very thing.

Seeing piles everywhere is overwhelming, disheartening and stressful. It’s December, you guys, so I gave myself a gift instead:

I discovered recently that our town has a Goodwill donation outlet. So on our weekend grocery trip, Johanna and I made a quick stop. A kid actually came out to the car to meet us. It took two minutes and then we were back on the road. I felt such a huge sense of relief as we drove away. Like, I’m actually getting somewhere with this project. That’s amazing.

I now have my favorite fall decorations in one bin in the electrical room, I’ve got blankets in my cedar chest (don’t give up on your dreams, kids), found Eric a white elephant gift to take to his office party and … um, well, still have some Christmas decorations that I need to sort through, but overall, I’m feeling SO MUCH BETTER about the state of the union. 

The real test will come, I suppose, when Eric brings all 12 or whatever Christmas boxes we have downstairs up when we start decorating the tree. But I’ve got a couple of weeks before I have to worry about that.

I suppose it’s good to go through this process periodically, just to remind myself of how far we’ve come on the minimalist front, as well as how difficult it is to purge — which is why we need to make careful decisions on bringing items into the house in the first place. The lessons just never stop coming.

9 thoughts on “Holiday decoration declutter diary: Operation Cedar Chest part II

  1. Roberta says:

    I’m so happy and proud of you for making the room for your blankets! Sometimes you dreams can seem small, but they’re no less rewarding when you achieve them.

    Taking so much guilt to Goodwill was brave of you! I’m proud of you for overcoming years of habit, and the “value” things have achieved from the mere fact that you’ve been holding on to them so many years. Cheers! (BTW, can you have wine? Cider?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trisha Walker says:

      YAY! Your comment made me tear up a little because I DID feel brave — just because it was such a reversal of how decluttering has gone in the past.

      Anyway, thank you! I appreciate the encouragement! (Ha ha, and no, alcoholic beverages hurt my gut. I had an extra coffee instead. 🙂 )


  2. Chris N says:

    I agree with Roberta!! yeah for you!! Those quilts look lovely in the cedar chest.
    I’ll drink the wine for you. We’re celebrating Hanukkah this week. No we’re not Jewish. I just really love the candle lighting and I made latkes last night.


    • Trisha Walker says:

      They really do! I’m just so pleased!

      I’m not Jewish either, but I can get behind anything that celebrates light. It’s always struck me as a rather lovely holiday. Enjoy your celebrations! And my share of wine … 😉


  3. Jenni says:

    Congrats, so excited for you! I too have a pile of stuff that I have to get through before Christmas, well it’s about 12 items actually that I really need to move. You have inspired me by thinking about the guilt side of it which is also my stumbling block, the stuff I have to get rid of is mainly kids electrical and electronic stuff that wasn’t cheap, that broke too soon or never got used. I plan to go back and deal with it this week with the idea of letting go of the guilt and giving myself a gift like you did by donating or taking it to the electronic recycling place. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trisha Walker says:

      Guilt is a hard emotion / sentiment to crack … I think maybe we punish ourselves by keeping this stuff around, like we don’t deserve the space and peace getting rid of it would bring. Anyway, I’m sending good decluttering vibes your way, and I want an update when you succeed!


  4. sarahn says:

    Well done you! I am SO proud.

    I have piled of crap everywhere since moving my stuff from the master bedroom, kitchen and surrounds, all into ‘my’ bedroom for the next month of so. Parents are home, and they style is to rid the common areas of their children’s personal items (totally fair, I’m the same with a flatmate or other presence in my home – keep you to a set space/room etc). So I have to potter through these messy piles and find tidy homes for the month, before I move back to MY place. Oh dear. Yesterday I posted an item and attempted to ‘terracycle’ oral care goods. Today will be a road toll tag.


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