This business of getting rid of stuff is odd.
On one hand it’s quite liberating – with every trip to the thrift store, I feel the weight of things lifting off my shoulders, bit by bit.
How nice it is to go into the basement, which used to be crammed full of crap, and see nothing but wide open space.
No more collections of fancy gift wrap being saved for that barely possible moment when I meet someone sophisticated enough to appreciate it.
No more baskets of toys that had been taken away because “you didn’t pick up the playroom, so now these will live in the basement for a week” only to have been forgotten about completely.
No more…..what? I can’t even really remember what all that stuff was now. Tablecloths and fancy cloth napkins. A truly awe-inspiring amount of Christmas decorations, vases, platters, dishes….all rarely used, but needed nevertheless, in case I suddenly switch from the person who eats pizza on the couch in jammies to the person who has fancy dinner parties.
Seems unlikely at this late date, though, don’t you think? I’m better off accepting my jammie-wearing, teevee-watching, party-loathing self and getting on with it.
On the other hand, there have been many, many, moments when I’ve put down my head and cried, unable to stop the flood of emotions that pour over me as I go through certain boxes, unable to make yet one more decision about what to keep, what to not. I have literally bins FULL of baby clothes, and a plan in my head to make a quilt out of them. How much to keep? I couldn’t get rid of it all, but going through boxes, I couldn’t even remember some of the tiny clothes. When did that happen? So, half was bagged up to bless some other family shopping at my favorite thrift store, and half carefully packed first into giant zippy baggies, then into plastic bins to go to the tiny storage unit that will house all the things we can’t bear to part with.
I have developed a rule of thumb for what to keep. We’ve decided that this adventure will last for at least a year, but recent negotiations have revealed that no one thinks we will be done by then. For all we know, we’ll love it and decide to carry on indefinitely. With that in mind, we are only keeping things that are truly special, things we will want in 1 or 2 or 5 years – boxes of memories, artwork, very few pieces of furniture, and all the toys that the kids will not be taking. We are keeping the toys as a purely appeasing gesture, because while we know they will have outgrown those things, they don’t know that yet and they want their stuff safe. Which I can certainly understand. I mean, who taught them to like stuff? Probably the same idiots who crammed an entire basement full of things that didn’t get used.
The house, of course, is the biggest weight. When did it become such a burden to maintain? We love our house, it’s just right for us. But constantly noticing the paint is looking a little rough, and weeds are infesting the grass, and are we EVER going to fix that doorknob already? is wearing thin.
I cannot WAIT for the moment of freedom, when we pull out of the driveway for the last time. Our obligations whittled down to barely nothing, our little family tucked snuggly into the car, when I can turn around and ask, “so guys, where shall we go?”