We’ve been cleaning out the cellar and garage for the better part of the last two weeks. By that, I mean my husband has been doing most of the cleaning out, and I have been doing most of the watching.
Each year, like clockwork, he’ll point to different items in the basement and ask, “When are we getting rid of this?” and I’ll say, “Don’t get rid of it. I’ll have a yard sale and sell it.” And I always mean it. I consistently convince myself, without a doubt, that on the very next fine-weather weekend, I’ll haul all the boxes and bins up the driveway, set up tables, and make some good cash on our old stuff.
Yet, it never happens. Why? Because I finally realized the truth. I’m a hoarder. I hoard.
All those boxes and bins and broken, useless things that have been sitting in the basement and garage all these years represented memories. There were plastic bins of books I had as a teenager, filled with adventures to which I’d escape every single chance I could. There were boxes of toys and books and stuffed animals that represented our girls’ childhoods. There were skateboards, roller blades and bike helmets, and a very old hurricane lamp from our first home, as well as an old griddle that we’d bought years ago for our new home. Every single item, for me, was a memory. And I just didn’t want to part with any of it.
But even I could see that things had gotten way out of hand with all the clutter. And I knew that if I went through every box and bin carefully, I would end up squirrelling away as much as I could to other parts of the house where they might temporarily avoid notice. Believe me, I know myself.
So, other than a few very important items (baby items, christening and first communion dresses and the like), out it all went. My husband would point to a box, give a general idea of what was in it, and I’d just nod or squeak out a half-hearted “OK.” It was the right thing to do. It was the SANE thing to do. All of those possessions that had been buried in boxes for a decade or longer would be donated. They’d be much better served to be in the hands of someone who could use them.
Do I sound mature saying that? Did I take the high road? lol
The thing is, parting with all of those earthly possessions made me face the realization that those parts of our lives are either over and coming to a close in the near future. Our eldest daughter is already married and living out of state. Our youngest will be out of high school and pursuing her own life in a few short years. My years of being the mom of two young children is over, and a new chapter – a chapter in which the nest will be empty – is soon approaching.
It will soon be time for new adventures for all of us.