Sunday, September 11, 2011
Saturday morning while my peeps languished in the living room, I took the house and yard and garage and car by storm. (Should I feel guilty about that? After week one of home school, I threw my arms wide open to greet the weekend.) I tore through these parts like a dervish. I couldn't get things clean enough, organized enough, purged enough. I took two full carloads to goodwill. Enormous garbage bags stuffed full of accumulated crap. When I pulled up with my second load, the employee manning the drop-off station said, "you must me moving?"
"No, I'm just neurotic," I told him. "and sick of clutter."
"I guess so!" he heaved as he hefted a large black garbage sack of my stuff into the truck.
I don't think of myself as a hoarder, but I guess I have had a tendency to hang on to stuff. And I think I know why...I felt like we might need it? Or like someday we might fall on such hard times that we'd be glad we had 47 stuffed animals and an extra high chair and all those over-sized, ugly hand-me-down maternity clothes. ???
Now I prize simplicity and minimalism more than hidden potential or possibility lurking in stored stuff. I want a simple life. I want to have things because I love them or use them - preferably both. Good thing I think my husband and children are so loveable and useful...everything was under "save or send" scrutiny Saturday afternoon :) I'm not sure what the motivation behind it all was; I think there may have been a few things at play...
We helped Nate's dad move recently and being involved in that process really made me want to pare down and rid my life of unnecessary stuff. There is a complication that comes with accumulation. It was kind of sobering to see him toss, recycle, and give away so many things that had once been important enough to purchase. So many of the things we buy are needless and the satisfaction they bring is so momentary. I am trying to evaluate purchases differently.
The other thing that motivated the great garage clean out was a recent conversation with a friend. She had some advice for me: "I know you're sad that you haven't been able to get pregnant...but you've got to go on with your life. You've got to find joy in what you have. Fill your life with things you couldn't do if you had a little baby. Have adventures with your husband and kids. Get rid of your baby stuff. Move on!"
At first it felt insensitive. I got little defensive and bristled at her boldness. But all those things are easier said than done, I told her. And I am trying to move on and find joy in what i have (not hard to do), but there is still a sadness, a longing.
Even while I made my rebuttal I felt the truth of what she was saying. I told Nate about it. "She's right," he said. And she was. So lots (most) of those big garbage bags that I hauled to goodwill were full of baby things - clothes, toys, blankets, accessories. I sat in the hallway by my laundry room (cooler than the garage) and went through boxes and boxes of baby clothes. Half of them were spit-up stained and wretched; easy to give up. Some were sweet, but not particularly sentimental; slightly harder to let go of. And some were absolutely precious. So precious that I had to cry a little bit over them. It was like pulling a memory out of storage - a little outfit or a tiny pair of shoes that stirred up the sweetness of that season with my baby. Those were the ones I kept, the things that brought back the most vivid essence of my babies. One box of boy things and one box of girl things.
Not surprisingly, shedding that physical weight has helped me let go of some of the emotional weight, too. Or maybe it was the other way around? Either way, I feel less tangled, less heavy. Still hopeful. In my garage, in my mind, in my heart, I am making room. I'm not sure what for, but inspiration will fly by and drop a feather for me, I'm sure.