In any household, junk accumulates to fill the space available for its storage. ~Boston’s Irreversible Law of Clutter
They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure, but I can’t think of a single soul who’d be interested in the old storage shed Dallas told you about a couple of years ago.
It’s empty as a box of chocolates hours after Valentine’s Day.
But it’s still here.
Perhaps I should explain.
The reasoning behind acquiring a shed in the first place was that paying monthly rent for a unit across town didn’t make sense.
Nor did it make sense to cram it to the ceiling with things nobody in this family needed or wanted.
If you haven’t used something in years, or it no longer brings a smile to your face, why hoard it? Once we’re dead and gone, our offspring will have to dispose of it, and the young ‘uns don’t appreciate our “stuff” the way we do.
I’ve long been a fan of purging excess. I make three stacks — one to keep, one to trash, and one to give away.
But I’m in control of the decisions.
With this shed, I wasn’t.
I procrastinated too long to clean it, leaving it victim to undetermined furry creatures and ANTS.
After our handyman’s first pass-through, I set off some chemical bombs and locked the door behind me.
Afraid to go back in to separate.
Eventually, the handyman returned and dragged out box after box, awaiting my decision on disposal.
Most, I callously trashed.
Without knowing what was inside.
Now I’m starting to remember:
- My scrapbooks, lovingly put together and serving as a record of my life from junior high on
- My photos, painstakingly compiled into albums and serving as a visual reminder of good times
- Mementos of past jobs, former co-workers, and the Domer’s old baby clothing and logo T-shirts from various sports
- My college textbooks and yearbooks
- Wall hangings, a candlestick from a long-ago church renovation, old stuffed animals.
I’ll probably think of more.
So while I’m delighted the only thing left is dismantling the shed and hauling it off, I rue my haste.
What’s gone that I should have kept?
On the bright side, I’ve got a huge start on uncluttering, and nobody can take away my memories!
Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright
Debbie, I’m sure you remember the post I shared earlier this year about how I purged A LOT of stuff I’d been storing for YEARS, in preparation for my move to New York City (which, as you know, didn’t happen). I too went through a period of second guessing myself about how I threw away old photographs, VHS tapes, theater programs, books, mementos of wonderful experiences I had had, etc., and began to feel a bit of regret.
Yet, I think the thing I learned the most from purging was that all those things I threw out were just “objects.” Because the “experiences” and the “memories” are still with me. And those things can never been thrown out.
“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright”
Have a great week, my friend!
I do remember this, Ron. Thank you for empathizing! I know you’re right — the things tossed out are just “things.” I don’t need to prove to anybody that I got medals for tennis or band, ha! Especially since I still remember those accomplishments, various people from my past, and the feeling of victory or defeat.
Perhaps I’ve always been a “saver.” I think it’s in my DNA to want to preserve mementos from the past. Our society has long clung to “things” — that’s why there are museums, right?? Still, who wants to cart that stuff around with them as they move from place to place? I really do feel lighter having gotten rid of stuff I didn’t need! xo
I remember having to go through that kind of triage process when my mom moved from Iowa to Kansas City. She had 50 years of stuff — including some wonderful collections — in a house with an attic and a basement, and she didn’t want to get rid of any of it. By the time we were a week away from the moving van showing up, there was nothing to do but toss a good bit of it, and I can’t bear to think of some of the things that were just thrown away.
On the other hand, I never think of those things until a morning like this, when your post reminds me. So, in a sense, it didn’t make any difference in the end. Like you, I have memories, and I still have many, many things that are representative of that whole houseful of “things.” Over the years, I’ve done a good bit of culling myself. It certainly makes things less stressful when hurricane season arrives and I’m not packing boxes full of stuff to move inland!
Linda, you probably more than most can appreciate my angst at the thought of having to go through my mom’s stuff one day down the road. She refuses to part with her things — maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to move — and even my reminding her that if she gives some things away now, she’ll see the enjoyment they bring, doesn’t seem to convince her.
I remember too well those hurricanes — piling stuff as high as one could reach and hoping/praying the waters would leave them alone. Some of the stuff in that shed should have been tossed ages ago. Honestly, there’s little sense in fretting over what’s gone. It’s gone, and I don’t imagine the dump is going to part with it.
Still, I marvel at the days long ago when I could pack my car with the “stuff” I owned and travel to a new domicile! Maybe traveling light is the better option?!
You still have the memories. Those that fade don’t mean a lot anyway.
What a nice, practical way of looking at this, John. Thank you! (Sounds a bit like something Domer would tell me, providing his precious Legos weren’t what was tossed, ha!)
I have a huge cupboard full of ‘stuff’ and haven’t looked at any of it in years – old photo albums, letters, ornaments that were gifts or that remind me of my parents, etc., etc. Meantime I haven’t got room to store all the stuff I actually need to. I wish I had the strength of mind to just chuck it all – as you say, someone else will have to do it when I’m gone anyway. But I keep putting it off… So well done you! The memories are far more important than the things!
I’ll keep reminding myself of that, FF! Logic tells me you’re right, but there’s something comforting about holding those memories in one’s hands. I’d like to be able to share with Domer some of that stuff, too, but I think that’s a lost cause — he has little regard for trekking down Memory Lane, ha!
It’s amazing how tightly we clinch to things, and then when we see them again realize it’s the memory not the stuff. Hugs
Good perspective, ma’am — thanks for pointing it out!!
Debbie, I should fly you over to Switzerland to sort me out. I wish I had your ability to discard things, but I am a pack rat.
So’s my mom, Pat. I expect cleaning out her accumulated stuff will be a major headache one day. I sure don’t want to put Domer through that with my stuff!