I have never been very sentimental toward things. I have had a few collections over the years and they kept mostly because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who had given them to me. I found myself attaching to people. I never wanted to let go of anyone once they had been in my life. I wrote letters for years to many of the people who had come and gone in my life. When email came along I switched to emailing them and then later to Facebook (FB) if they had an account.
In mid May someone made a comment on 365 Less Things that set me to thinking. I wish I could remember who and could quote the comment. I just know I suddenly realized that I had a clutter area that I needed to work on. It was my email list and FB list. I realized that I had a lot of people on both and that I was spending a lot of time reading status reports and sending emails. I also realized that I had a pretty long list of people I sent homemade birthday or anniversary cards to. With some of the other changes I am making in my life I had to examine these areas to see why I was so dutifully engaged in this.
One of the first things I realized was that many of the people I emailed or send cards to never responded back. Oh, they seemed to like reading my messages but I never heard anything about their lives. I had the same thing going on when it came to FB. Many of them would have all of these pictures, jokes, etc. they posted but little about themselves and their actual lives. I sat down with these lists and began to set some priorities and guidelines. I began to delete friends and addresses.
On FB I had 93 friends when I started this process. I now have about 40. I am part of a FB group for our church so anyone who is in that group is no longer a FB friend in the regular friend area. I don’t need them in two places. It’s the important stuff they put on the church group page that is what I want not the games, likes, jokes, political stuff, etc. In the regular area I have kept my few family members who have FB accounts, some close friends who I hear from all the time, and a few friends who only post on a occasional basis but who are very important to me. I read FB once a day now.
In my address book I removed everyone who I have not heard from in a long time. As I went through that book I realized I had 20+ names of people who I had been sending a Christmas card to plus quarterly emails and not once had I received more than maybe a Christmas card with nothing but their name signed. Hmmm! I don’t seem to be important to them. That’s okay. Things change in our lives and that means we even lose some friends we cared about and were close to at one time. I took those names out of my Outlook address book. I also went through and deleted a number of email addresses for this same reason.
The last thing I went through was my list of birthdays and anniversaries. I realized that only a few of them really cared about receiving a homemade card (or any card). These were mostly family. So I took all those names and listed most of them either FB or email birthday/anniversary greetings. Less postage was a bonus benefit, and better for the environment
Does this sound unfriendly to you? Do you have the same dilemma? Have you even considered this as a place to declutter? I have to tell you that it was a huge change for me. It took lots of consideration. I was so used to making the effort to keep up with people. I had all of this done near the beginning of June. It’s been quite feeling of freedom since then. I expected guilt or something to overtake me. It hasn’t. I feel like this was long overdue. I don’t think anyone will notice.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow