Sorting Things Out

It feels as if it has been a long time since I posted although today is actually only day four since the post about my dancing ladies guiding me home. After traveling so much during the month of September with my sister, I  must admit that I have been sitting around with my feet up a good bit more than I normally would. Put plainly, I feel tired in a way that is difficult to explain. It feels like more than just travel weariness and I am spending more time than I probably should thinking about why.

My habit when getting get stuck in my head is generally some sort of physical movement such as cleaning out closets or giving things a good scrubbing. So far the closets still need a bit of rearranging and the spiders are taking over the house. It is difficult to clean when one’s feet are crossed at the ankles and resting the coffee table, but I am managing to get some work done even though my brain has been disinterested in writing and cleaning does not seem to be the answer this time.

Instead of sorting through old clothes or pairing stray socks, I have been sorting through the new and old images residing in my Aperture file. Having wrapped up the end of September with almost 12,000 new photographs, my computer was bursting with around 33,000 images. In preparation for my sister Margaret’s visit, I had moved about 15,000 off my MacBook to an external hard drive, but quickly filled it back up again to the point where I began to receive messages about how I needed to clear some space before trying to add any more.

It’s funny on reflection to think about how I tend to keep photographs where I did not get what I hoped for from my subject when so many good ones are sitting right next them. With the same sort of scarcity mentality that made my depression era grandmother save old things she should have tossed, I have kept photographs that I thought I might need in the future even though they were imperfect images. I held onto to the idea that I might shape them up with a bit of time and Photoshop.

Never mind that several perfectly good images sat on either side in the same grouping, I have always been slow to press the delete button on the imperfect, afraid like my grandmother … that I might need them one day.

I can see a correlation between my saving photographs that would be better deleted in the same way that I find it difficult to let go of many things such as beliefs, ideas, dreams, and even people, who clearly no longer wish to be included in my memories or life.

I hold on … shifting them over to an external hard drive of sorts in my memory, letting them take up space that would be better served by something else. For the last few days I have been ruthlessly deleting thousands of images and the big clear out is not over yet.

I should have done this years ago and when I pause too long before pressing the button, I remind myself that I am making room for new images that will give me what I want without all the effort of trying to shape them into something they never were from the beginning.

8 thoughts on “Sorting Things Out

  1. Those shoes are wild in that garden, a great juxtaposition of modern and old.

    I’m thinking this is an important exercise on many levels…I need to do the same. Pictures included.

    Sometimes cleaning is not the answer, but a distraction; and sitting and thinking is needed to hear what our heart and soul is softly telling us. It’s a process, and a journey.

  2. I’m about to do the same thing except I’ll be decluttering my copious amounts of paper files. What do I really *need* vs. what am I keeping out of habit? Some of it could go. Probably lots of it could go. It’s daunting, frankly.
    I have come up with one solution for the multiple copies of magazines for which I’ve written: Keep one entire magazine and then scissor out the article from one other copy. The rest get recycled. It will be interesting to see how many pounds lighter that makes my archives.
    It’s hard to let go sometimes, but then you find you have your hands free at last.

  3. Wow, what beautiful gardens!
    And I’m like your grandmother too – I hate to throw out things, as I just KNOW I’ll need them sooner or later… but eventually, I get rid them. When I do a total clean out of everything, people, furniture, you name it, I call it Spring Cleaning of My Life.

  4. Great post – love the ‘when I pause too long before pressing the button, I remind myself that I am making room for new images that will give me what I want without all the effort of trying to shape them into something they never were from the beginning.’

    Your words speak the truth to me there; I believe in this ‘clearing to make space for the new that is meant to be’ but — as we’re currently in the process of sorting, purging, etc. — sometimes it’s hard, especially when we pause before ‘pressing the button’ (or taking to recycling or Lifeline or the tip!).

    Cheers from Sydney and happy hard drive clearing.

  5. The images stored on our computers make for a wonderful metaphor for what we hold on to..and why..and the power of cleansing and letting go. So well said!!!

  6. I love this photograph, as I love all things Cotswold and English-cottage, of course. You take wonderful photos, and it is such a gift to view your part of the world through your blog. But I know exactly what you mean when you talk here about feeling a bit stuck, and how doing some physical sorting, like cleaning, helps clear the path for new energy and projects. Thanks too for your very kind comment on the current post. That piece is one dear to my heart.

  7. I find that I don’t have the same difficulty deleting digital photos as I do throwing away actual photos. I have two big boxes I need to go through of those. I kept the blurry ones for the exact same reason you did. But with so many new pictures of my travels and my grandchildren I am more selective now.

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