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May 17, 2018

Opinion

The Verona Press

ConnectVerona.com

Letters to the editor

Thankful for Hochkammer’s service I write to thank John Hochkammer for his dedicated service to the people of the City of Verona. I have known John for 30 years and have always found him to be considerate and looking out for the best interests of others. Serving in public office can often by trying in these turbulent

times. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve, especially those that serve well. You served the city well John Hochkammer and for that, I salute you. Joe Wineke City of Verona

Quick EMS response appreciated I would like to thank the Verona Police Department, the Fitch-Verona EMS and the Verona Fire Department for their instant response to my cardiac 911 call

April 27. I couldn’t have been in better hands. Peter Erbach City of Verona

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Community Voices

‘Decluttering’ is much easier to dream than do

S

pring is finally here in full force. It is lovely to see the robins and bright green grass and feel warmth of the sunshine. I even love the satisfaction that comes from spring cleaning. But this year spring cleaning is happening on a whole new level for my family, as we clean and pack to move to a new house. Our family decided move rather suddenly a few weeks ago. Trading the suburbs for something a little more Burkart rural went from a “someday” kind of idea to the reality of “get packing” abruptly over the course of one weekend. So I’ve been thinking a lot about my attachment to material things and about how much I really need. Confronted with picking up every item we own and deciding to keep, toss or give it away really brings home the conflict between my emotional attachment to objects and my wish for an uncluttered life. I’ve found some help in this endeavor in looking at my family’s personal belongings the way I would as a professional. But because my mostly grown-up kids were small when we settled into this house, sorting through their lifetime of belongings has become a big job. A part of me aspires to be a minimalist and admires the minimalist philosophy, but I fall far short. I love the famous photo that shows the sum of Ghandi’s

possessions at the end of his life. He owned less than 10 things. His glasses, a book, a bowl, a spoon, a watch, a pair of sandals and not much else. There’s such so much beauty in the idea of living simply. It must feel so free to not be weighed down by the stuff of your life. I try to remind myself that I value experiences more than things as I pack. We really can’t keep it all. Objects outlive their usefulness to us. So I repeat to myself, “Do I love this? Do I need it?” and try to move things along to their next owner. But then I stumble across the red winter coat my son wore as a baby and quickly stuff it into a box to bring to the new house. He’s a 6-foot-tall teenager now. Someone else could make use of the coat if I were to give it away, but it pulls at my heart, so I pack it up, anyway. Maybe it would be easier if I thought of this big packing job in library lingo. In libraries, we call the divesting the shelves of underused books “weeding.” We get weeding reports to let us know which books haven’t been checked out in a certain number of years. We have data on how often books have been used, we apply professional standards, assess historical value. Wouldn’t it be great if I could get a weeding report for my closet? Some empirical evidence that I really haven’t worn a particular shirt in the last two years and it is time for it to go. Or better yet, I would love a weeding report for all the absurd number of things my husband has stuffed in our garage. For many people, books are one of the hardest things to get

rid of. Unless it is an archive, libraries simply can’t keep all the books they collect. Over time. some books grow less popular, they get checked out less and less, books become worn or stained, the shelves get too crowded, and then books are “weeded” just like outdated clothes in a closet. If only it were that easy. The but the objects in our lives trigger memories and that little voice in your head that says, “But what if you need it someday?” Luckily, there are organizational experts to turn to on handling the stuff and junk in our lives. A few years ago, I read a little book called, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” that became the international bible of decluttering. Author Maria Kondo offered the world her sage advice to hold each item in your hand to see if it “sparks joy,” and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and move it along. Unfortunately for me, I did not implement it’s message. Kondo lost me a little on some of the details. I just couldn’t make the leap to feeling compassion for my socks that are purportedly being disrespected by being shoved into a drawer. But then again maybe Kondo is right and my socks would be happier with a little more space and consideration. So with Kondo’s message in mind, I get back to the exhausting work asking myself, “Should it stay or should it go?” and the spring cleaning job of weeding our belongings to make room for new growth. Stacey Burkart is the director of the Verona Public Library.

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VP0517  

5/17/18 Verona Press

VP0517  

5/17/18 Verona Press