When I walked out of my home for the last time after 7 years of marriage, I left with the clothes on my back and a small backpack of absolute necessities.
I of course made a few trips back for needed items, but there wasn’t much we needed that first week in the hotel. I had claimed exactly three pieces of furniture and one car load of clothes and basics for me and the kids before the drama ensued and the house containing most of my possessions was literally wired shut from the inside.
After “moving in” to what has now become my temporary home, the emptiness was shocking.
I initially regretted not having planned better. Sometimes you have to take advantage of the motivation of the moment.
I picked up a red 1950’s sofa off KSL from the sweetest guy. Literally sweet. David collects honey from millions of bees everyday and brought this somewhat crazy, broken stranger a mason jar of lavender honey less than an hour out of the hive and then heaved the extremely heavy sofa sleeper that once graced his mother’s parlor up a flight of stairs to my empty living room.
The red sofa was the anchor. It epitomized my rockstar self. The self that had been buried.
I left in August. The weather changed in early September and my “wardrobe” consisted of shorts and tee shirts. So, I picked up a pair of (really cute) boots, two work outfits and two casual outfits. And I lived in just these handpicked items for two months.
The rest of my clothes were finally turned over on October 28th. In 15 trash bags. Nearly 3 months after I left.
I didn’t open the bags or bring a single item into my new home until January 15th.
I’ve wondered why. Why those trash bags of clothes I had been missing were sitting in my garage for two months? One wayward bag was even run over at one point.
When I looked at those bags, I saw my past.
Did I really want to bring my past into my future?
I had been forced to live a minimalist lifestyle for months, and I gotta tell you, after the first month of emptiness and panicked KSL searches to fill the corners, I eased into a sense of a peace and openness.
Open to the new. Open to waiting for what would sprout.
I was surrounded by only those items that “spark joy”, as Marie Kondo puts it.
On January 15th, I read Marie’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, on a whim. I had come across it on Instagram and thought the cover was beautiful. It arrived two days later and I read it cover to cover.
That night, in a 6-hour marathon, I dealt with those 15 bags of my past, picked out only my favorite books and boxed up hundreds for donation, and set aside the most powerful reminders of the pain.
These few tainted items could not be allowed to exist. Photos. My wedding bouquet. The shirt I wore to jail.
Three days later, I burned those mementos and sent their bad juju out of my life for good.
(The shirt burnt so spectacularly that I had to wonder how flammable the rest of my clothes were and whether I should continue to enjoy candles when home alone.)