Spark Joy

The emotional dangers of decluttering

Illustration by Alice Zhang

Written by: Tiffany Chang
Illustrated by: Alice Zhang

I just wanted to stress-clean and not think about homework for a little while! When I entered the abyss that is my closet, I didn’t ask for an emotional assault by my own accumulation of useless school supplies. But to my horror, it happened anyway, and I came out the other side of that abyss clutching three years’ worth of academic paraphernalia and excruciatingly painful memories.

Four of the same SFU booklets for prospective grade 12 students: It’s the one that includes all of SFU’s programs and requirements to get into each faculty. I got one each during a presentation at my high school, a campus tour, an orientation night, and a Welcome Day. I tried to remember the youthful spark of jubilance I once had, but I can’t anymore — my soul is already too crumpled, as crumpled as these pamphlets.

The iClicker: The early 2000 AD technology I spent $50 on and I only ever used for that one class. It brings back memories of how much I hated myself for choosing that class, and how I became a grumpy freshman walking into those three-hour lectures first thing in the AM on Monday mornings! The only way that I’d even consider keeping this piece of plastic is if it could help me control my daily life, like using the yellow on/off button to mute the loud AF construction noise on the Burnaby campus!

17 SFU lanyards: I don’t even own enough keys, or key chains, for that matter, to need more than one lanyard. I’ve unearthed 17 so far and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see another lying around. It just proves that I’m one of the thousands of young students turned innocent victims of the “SFU” brand.

Four SFU pins: The pin that I dislike the most is the one I got during an almost hour-long wait for kitten therapy. I’m not a cat person by any means, but I thought I’d give it a shot and I decided to go with a friend. I came out disappointed and carrying a pin in my jacket pocket that kept on reminding me of how much time I wasted lining up for tiny cats running away from the students who tried to love them.

An SFU rubber phone stand/card holder: I received this delightfully useless item on Welcome Day when everyone had a chance to spin the wheel just outside the bookstore. As much as I love free stuff and appreciated the prize, I knew right away that I wasn’t going to use it. But of course, I put an awkward smile on my face and proceeded to put it in my backpack. I knew all too well that this was going to be donated in the next year or two.