Reality TV inundates us with alleged financial windfalls from otherwise innocuous attics and closets and we are left wondering why our moms made us throw out those old 12-cent DC Comics, baseball trading cards, Barbie dolls, and so much more. "Clean up your room", "Get rid of the clutter"... I once had a friend whose mom tossed a complete tea set because it looked tarnished only to find out later that it was an antique pewter tea set. Stories such as that kind of make you paranoid about what you might be throwing away.
But there comes a time when you have to figuratively bite the bullet and let go - how do you decide what to keep and what to toss? How much value do you place on a child's first-grade drawing that still adorns your kitchen wall? What do you preserve? How long do you keep that collectible that will surely being you more money than you paid for it and not necessarily a lot more?
We've reached the point in our lives where we want to clean out the clutter - the kids are married and aside from the cats, we are only responsible for ourselves. In the house where we raised our family, though, there's a whole lot of memories both in our hearts and in our closets. Nowadays as I go through drawers, closets and stored boxes I keep asking myself "if I were moving tomorrow, would I be bringing this?"
I've been going through my closet after losing a slight bit of weight (not as much as I want, but certainly enough to change the size I wear) and trying to wean out clothes to donate. Of course most of the "too big" stuff I gladly am getting rid of - a few formal outfits will probably make it to the seamstress to see if they can be altered. Then there's the stuff I USED to wear and now find I can fit into again, but the styles are so outdated... would I really want to be seen in THAT? It takes time though and a hardened heart to successfully eliminate all of the excess.
Many of my childrens' crayoned paper artwork probably won't even survive removal from the walls and for that thank goodness for my cell phone camera - I am capturing those precious images JUST IN CASE. Anything that does stand up to time will most probably be put into an inexpensive album alongside the photos of what doesn't last. Another book for a bookcase.
And omigoodness books! I will NEVER toss a book into the garbage and maybe that's where my problem begins. Currently I have two-thirds of the walls in my family room covered with overcrowded book shelves, books in my office, books in boxes, books on my nightstand, and this doesn't even begin to account for the copies of my own authored books that I have on hand for various author events (by the way, if you want to purchase any contact me for personally autographed copies!). I have a feeling that a few local libraries and hospitals will soon be getting sick of seeing me.
My daughter made a wonderful suggestion and, I won't admit it to her, but when the time comes that we do pack up our house and make a move, we will pack our boxes with the absolute necessaries and everything else will be put into boxes labeled with numbered priorities; if it doesn't fit in the truck, it does not go.
It's brutal to think about.