Another freakin’ candle. How many was that now? I’d lost count after the eleventh one. I read the embossed label. Leather and cedar infusion – what the…?  

“Okay, candle. Thank you for…I don’t know what, and goodbye.” I chuck the candle into the donation box.     

I was nearly finished with the fourth KonMari category, komono, or miscellaneous items.  

Now you won’t find any Instagram posts of my perfect rows of underwear and fitting sheets standing to attention in their origami-like forms, because that’s not why I’m doing this.  

The ‘clean-out’ had been a long time coming – my therapist will attest to that. Marie Kondo with her ‘Does it spark joy?’ test was just the final kick in the butt I needed. It gave me permission to move on and dispose of things that no longer served me.  

When I started with clothing, I shed rivers of tears farewelling the maternity clothes, a collection of the barely and never worn. Then there were the piles of T-shirts and shorts he hadn’t bothered to take with him. Next, were our shared mountains of books, paper, and endless komono. 

Then I got angry. Angry that I was left to clean out his…‘our’ crap, and that he’d been able to tap out when it had got too hard. He’d left his…‘our’ life behind. He’d got his clean slate with Lisa, sweet and uncomplicated Lisa, super-fertile Lisa. How many kids did they have now? That was another thing I’d lost count of.  

The anger had sustained me over the weeks. It had enabled me to deal with even the most sentimental items. Sorry, Marie, I jumped a step, but damn it felt good when I burnt that box filled with love letters he’d written me, the movie stubs from our first date and the wedding garter he’d insisted I wear.  

Now all that was left was the hall cabinet. I’d nearly forgotten about it. I walked past it dozens of times every day, but its shelves and drawers were nothing more than a catch-all for all forms of junk. It was where useless and half-broken items went to die – a shrine to things that had outlived their purpose. 

The ‘goodbyes’ came thick and fast as I tossed everything from loose screws and dried out tubes of super glue. In no time the cabinet was empty. It was completely bare and waiting to be refilled with new junk – junk from my new life. All of a sudden, I felt scared, terrified of the ‘what ifs’ that lay ahead. Would the new junk be any better than the old junk? Then it hit me.  

For the first time in my adult life, it would be ‘my’ junk and the ‘what ifs’ would all be of my own doing. I had chosen to live with the possibilities of ‘what if’ instead of surrounding myself with daily reminders of ‘if only’. I smiled stupidly to myself because as clichéd as it sounded, I had chosen joy.   

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