Years ago, I was strolling through Target with three toddlers and saw a pink, heart shaped cake pan in the dollar spot. I’d scored big time.
We went home and I put my kids down for a nap and made my mom’s famous chocolate cake in that new pink pan and it was stunning. Not to mention my kids thought I was a genius, wondering how I’d managed to make such a perfectly shaped heart out of chocolate no less. I felt glorious.
Ever since that day, I’ve taken that same pan out once a year and made some type of treat around Valentine’s Day for my family, and it’s brought me great joy. It’s became our tradition.
But I have to admit I forgot about the joy it brought my family after binge-watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix. You know, Tidying Up, the one that has almost everyone on earth purging so they can have more space, more breathing room, and live their best life?
Well, after seeing how happy everyone was on the show after getting rid of their over half their stuff, I decided that was the kind of joy I needed in my life, and I told myself there was no more room in my life for sentimental bullshit.
Alas, I was wrong.
The decluttering movement should come with a disclaimer letting us know we may get carried away and throw out some beloved or irreplaceable or fucking expensive items in the heat of the purging moment.
The other day I’d forgotten about my smug, tidy, minimalist ways and was frantically look for my heart-shaped pan as I tossed around my perfectly stacked Tupperware (because fuck being tidy when I can’t find something) thinking it would be at the bottom of the stack.
As I was crouched down, searching my mom brain about when I’d last seen it, it hit me: I’d thrown it away. Like, thrown it away in the garbage can while going all Marie Kondo in my kitchen one Saturday afternoon after watching her show and looking to restore my soul by minimizing clutter.
It all came rushing back: I’d held it up, looked at all the stains, noticed a crack in the side, and decided my kids had grown out of the tradition of heart-shaped goodies and I no longer needed my old, floppy pan. So, I tossed it.
But I was wrong. Why had I done this?
Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight and was on such a high from getting rid of all my shit, I didn’t realize I was throwing away precious traditions and emotions and years of memories in the trash.
I wanted my damn pan back now.
I’m not alone, either. A friend told me she and her husband were cleaning their house out and got rid of a box of electrical stuff. Then the following week they realized the box of “junk” contained a $50 cord to one of their devices, and they desperately needed it. They had to hunt it down and replace it.
Another friend of mine from college let me know she’d thrown out her old, broken in college sweatshirt and told herself she’d buy a new one. Then a week later we discovered our Alma mater would be closing in May. Now that sweatshirt is more valuable to her than ever — it holds all the good stuff. Stuff we can block out when we are on a roll tossing shit out to make our lives better and more efficient.
The thing is, after cleansing our homes and minds, so many of us are now spending time looking for that special sweater we actually threw out. Our partners are racking their brains wondering where the hell they put their baseball card collection from high school, and I know damn well this whole purging movement has caused some strife in relationships.
It tastes like regret and feels lonely. Kind of like when you let that person go who was a little too nice, was always there for you, and never cared if you stunk up the bathroom, because you thought life would be better without all that comfort. Because nobody can really be that nice, right? Wrong. Damn it.
It seems to be a general rule: As soon as you get rid of something you think you no longer need in your life, like your old golf shoes, your bestie asks you to go away for a glorious golfing weekend they recently won. And then you are left wanting your old item back like you never have before and it’s not fair. Plus, you’re on the hook for buying a new pair now, and that pair will probably give you blisters.
So go ahead, purge away, but just remember as soon as you get rid of that waffle iron you haven’t used in two years, chances are you’ll wake up on a Sunday morning with a mad craving for waffles and hate everybody.