Happy Vernal Equinox, everyone! I’m not sure what the day has been like where you are, but here in Mississauga, Ontario the sun is out, the snow is melting and the birds are changing their tune (literally) to prepare for springtime activities. I feel like so many lifestyle revelations happen when spring arrives. I’m sure it’s deeply rooted in our animalistic instincts. Or it’s just the ability to open windows and doors for fresh air without letting in snowdrifts or bone-chilling winds. At any rate, it’s the socially-acceptable norm to spruce up your dwelling when spring comes around and that’s exactly what I have started to do!

I suppose it’s easier to really step back and assess the contents of your life when literally EVERYTHING you own is out in front of you. That’s how I like to approach my vernal reorganizations: controlled chaos. It forces me to find a place for everything and really think twice about whether I really need to hold on to something that hasn’t seen the light of day for a year or if it can be tossed, recycled, or donated. Sure, many things I have hung onto over the years have sentimental value and I am sure many of you can relate. But in the end, it’s just stuff isn’t it? It has meaning to me because it triggers a memory or an emotion. Some memories are happy. Some memories are sad. But at the end of the day, the majority of these things just take up space, collect dust, or sit in the dark without use or purpose. Not much of a life for these inanimate objects. Does this sound familiar? I have echoed some of these sentiments in my article here and in the ongoing tally here.  Check them out first if you are one of those chronological types like myself.

My jewellery collection has been under some scrutiny for a while now. I wouldn’t say I have an ungodly amount of “bling” – “ice” for those of you who recall 90s/early 2000’s tunes – but it had certainly got to the point where the majority of items would sit in boxes for years without seeing the light of day. I was certainly feeling like Smaug with this obsession for shiny-object hoarding for no real reason. When close family members passed away, I inherited all of their jewellery and suddenly found myself with a rather sizable array of necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings representing about 7 decades of fashion.

I found that wearing items from these departed women in my life drew me closer to them. Memories were recalled and happy times relived in my head. And truth be told, I certainly won’t let some items go as they do mean too much to me. I don’t feel guilty about it because they are small items that were cherished by their original owners and now by me. But when spring cleaning came around, it was overwhelming to have to deal with the sheer amount of it all. I also realized that as much as I was getting some benefit from this accessory hoarding, it just wasn’t realistic to have such a vast collection of it. My practical side was slowly taking over my sentimental side and I became determined to shift from quantity to quality in the jewellery department. A lot of what I owned was costume jewellery: fun and trendy but made of cheap materials (the dreaded plastic!) and not really my style. It was time for a purge!

Here’s how I approached it:

1. I sorted items by type. Necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings all in separate piles.
2. I sorted each pile into valuable and worthless, from a monetary perspective. I looked for gold, silver and sterling silver stamps and sorted precious and semi-precious stones and crystal from glass and plastic ones.
3. Dividing it further, I separated the valuable items into ones I had strong sentimental value with and others that I had no real feelings for.
4. Finally, I looked for items that were broken, plating that had rubbed off, noticeable wear and broken or missing pieces. Sorry single earrings, I am not a pirate or a model so I will never be able to pull off the mismatched look.
5. The items that passed all of these checkpoints were put back into two boxes. One for everyday items and one for fancier occasions.
6. For the items that didn’t make final auditions: I took a deep breath, said my goodbyes, and took anything worthwhile to a local place that buys back jewellery. Everything else I put into my donation bag for my next clothing swap.

The Donation Pile
The 24 items I decided I didn’t need anymore in my life. They will be sold for cash (to go towards a trip) or donated in my next clothing swap.

It doesn’t seem like much to rant and rave about but did I ever feel a tad liberated once all of this was done! I had rid myself of plastic accessories. I felt good about giving these neglected pieces a second life amongst friends at the next clothing swap or a stranger who could one day stumble upon some treasure at a local second hand store. I felt less weighed down by an excessive amount of “stuff”.

This may not have been the most inspirational or impactful of articles, but this approach can be applied to all sorts of items around your house, garage, basement, office or wherever you may be storing stuff. It echos the KonMari method I have heard so much about. I invite you to try this out yourself sometime and let me know how you made out.

Thanks for reading and good luck on your journey to de-clutter, simplify, and enjoy happier way of life. A life ruled by you and not by your stuff!

Sustainably yours,