Juan spent a year and a half purging his studio, going through his photographs, negatives, and slides, scanning the gems and discarding or giving away the rest. Sorting through the family photos his mom had taken was a real challenge for him. After much consideration, he kept just enough to enrich his memories then sent the rest to his siblings and their kids. Despite his ruthlessness, he still stashed four large tubs of photos in storage.
The most tedious and frustrating aspect of purging was dealing with the “stuff” of life that fills up every house – the kind of stuff you wish wasn't in your way when an impending forest fire forces you to evacuate. Nonsensical piles filled up corners and random surfaces, looking as if we had dumped our junk drawers throughout the house. Those piles plagued us like begging dogs and highlighted how cluttered our lives had become. We could only hope the intense emotional and physical energy required to purge reflected the degree of simplicity we would attain on the other side.