More on Keys and What They Can Tell Us

So I was talking about how I spent more than an hour sifting through this box of keys that had somehow accumulated on my kitchen counter.

A less than optimal place for the keys, I’ll admit – but then, that meant they did keep getting in the way, and that eventually led me to sort them, on a morning when I had a lot of probably more important stuff to do.

Or what seemed like more important stuff.

But what the keys told me opened doors on more levels than I had any inkling of, when I grumpily dumped them out and started trying to remember why I would have two keys marked “Do Not Duplicate” and a bunch of little bitty ones that look like they’d go to padlocks but don’t fit any of the ones I still have.

The sorting of the keys was in itself a key.

First they told me to quit putting them back in a jumble until “the right time” came to sort them.

They’re are now  in a half-dozen clear plastic baggies with labels like “Other People’s Keys: Return” and “Take to Hardware Store” and “Previous Incarnation” and “Interior But Not to Storage Closet.”  It’s a start.

Sorting brought me face to face with my chronic, cosmic inability to SIMPLY THROW ANYTHING AWAY. Especially anything permanent, like a metal key.

Some folks say we just have to learn to throw away. I partly agree. But I am taking a clump of keys to the hardware store where Quint will tell me what kind of keys they are likely to be and whether they can be recycled.

And meanwhile I had to laugh at myself, the process and the pretty humble result. But – the keys had more to say!

So here it is:

1)      WE ALL HATE TO SORT, AND WITH GOOD REASON.  We hate to sort because it takes time from what we’d rather be doing, at a time when we already have too much work to do and not enough time to play.

2)      But sorting, alas, is too often where downsizing starts.

3)      Sorting is the key to unlocking that downsizing.

4)      And the key to sorting is creating categories.


Does it resonate, this inability to throw away? Then let me encourage you to just take one small category and do the basic  KEEP – RECYCLE – GIVE AWAY – THROW AWAY. You know you’ll be amazed at how encouraging it is. Just one little category.

But the trick is, YOU have to choose the category. Invent it, or whatever you must do. That’s where it starts.


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