I, er, haven’t actually read the Marie Kondo book about how decluttering your home leads to magic carpets, pet dragons, and the ability to transmogrify lima beans into doughnuts, but my half-assed, not even semi-informed attempt at following its approach is definitely a good thing, even if it’s causing 35% more damage to my already messed-up rotator cuff. Today I finally dug deep and got rid of a pair of hiking shoes I’ve had sitting in my closet for over a decade without ever having worn them, not even once.
They’re perfectly good, high-quality hiking shoes that I probably spent $100 on back in the day, but I somehow didn’t like them – something about the way the laces tied. I later bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like much better, and even wear once every 36 months or so, but I hung on to the other pair. Every so often I’d look at them and think GAH THIS IS STUPID, JUST GET RID OF THEM, but then I’d think about how sorry I’d be if I ever needed a spare pair of hiking shoes, or if I were to go hiking with someone who’d forgotten to bring their own shoes and needed to borrow a pair, and I’d throw them back in the closet where they’d been hunkered down for 2, 5, 10 years.
The problem with that line of reasoning is that I’m just not the kind of person who’s likely to ever be in a situation where pulling an emergency pair of hiking shoes out of the closet at the last second. Self-understanding has come slowly to me, however, and on more than one occasion I’ve wished to be that kind of person – carelessly fit, radiating physicality, possessing an inner glow born of a deep love for life in the outdoors. I’m not, though. I’m the most indoorsy person that’s ever walked the face of this planet. I can barely justify owning ONE pair of hiking shoes – nearly all of my favorite activities involve sitting in a chair somewhere inside.
I donated the shoes to Goodwill, and I think that’s a good thing. Someone who’d probably struggle to pay the current retail price for hiking shoes of that quality will get a really good deal on my old, unused pair, and it underscored my own level of comfort and good fortune in being able to just give away a brand-new pair of shoes. In a way it felt like admitting defeat, I have to say, as if I was giving up on a long-held (if completely unrealistic) fantasy-based concept of the person I could be if I was, you know, a completely different person from who I actually am. Decluttering. It’s not as complicated as writing a book, but it IS complicated.