Clearing out the Stuff

Clearing out the Stuff

            Theoretically I have a two car garage. I‘ve lived alone since I bought the condo in 2007 so I never had to park two cars in the garage. Good thing because there was barely room for one car.

      My son is now living with me and he has a car. He’s been parking in “guest” spots right next to my unit. I got a newsletter from the condo’s management company. It harangued residents for not picking up after their dogs. It also stated that only guests could park in the allotted spots. All residents needed to park in the garages. Fines would be assessed to those residents not following this particular rule.

     Serendipitously the complex was having (allowing) a garage sale the first weekend in November. This was an excellent opportunity for me to get rid of some of the stuff cluttering my garage. I swear that garage clutter is like rabbits. You thin the bunch out, don’t pay attention for six months, and it’s multiplied.

     My son is not a hoarder. He gallantly offered to sell his entertainment center, computer desk, bar stools, and other furniture that took up his parking space in the garage. So I had to start sorting, prioritizing and selling/giving away enough stuff to make his parking space and mine.

     I am also not a hoarder. I was a librarian, for goodness sakes, and librarians know how important it is to weed the collection so the good books stand out and aren’t hidden by out-of-date volumes. I keep all my books in bookcases that line one side of my garage. I’d done significant weeding of those books before I moved in, so that wasn’t necessary. Yes, I keep the books in rough Dewey order and the children’s and adult fiction separately, arranged alphabetically by the last names of the authors.

     The sale went well and I arranged, via the web, for the Salvation Army to pick up what was left.

     More room was needed. This weekend I had to deal with memorabilia. I went through a box of my long-departed Dad’s stuff. Did I really need to keep his framed master’s degree? How about the tapes of interviews? How about the television tape? I’d tried to get some of those converted to DVDs but they weren’t in good enough shape. And what was a billy club doing in the box? I think it’s something he brought home from WW II. I couldn’t throw them in the garbage. Then an idea struck me. Send it to my brother! He doesn’t have any of my parents’ things. I had a couple of priority boxes and bubble wrap and got them ready for mailing. I also found reprints of one of my Dad’s articles in The Slavic Review. I couldn’t toss them! I sent them to my brother and sister.

      I kept the lapel pin of Lenin, probably from his trip to the Soviet Union in 1969. And his tie clip. I’d already tried to give away my Dad’s tie clips and cuff links to my brother and my nephews but they courteously refused. What about the black lacquer box with the mother of pearl inlay? It had sat on my mother’s dresser all of my life until her death It wasn’t in the best shape. I put that in the “give-away” pile.

     I went through boxes of stuff in my garage, filling the trash can and the donation boxes. I decided to shred my tax documents from 2004 and before. What a job! The shredder overheated twice before I finished. The recycle garbage was packed and extra cardboard boxes were stuffed with shreddings, too. I made one trip to donate items yesterday.

     This morning I got up to finish the job. My son moved the tile that was too heavy for me. Lo and behold there is enough room for both cars! I bought a six foot length of half inch dense foam. My son wants to put it up to demarcate the parking spots and make sure I don’t hit his car.

     As I was loading cartons of more donations, I pulled the lacquer box out of the “get rid of” pile. I couldn’t do it. It held too many memories. It’s fine to relieve yourself of extra stuff, but remember to keep the important items. Kind of like people and life. Remember the important and the good, let go of the hurtful and unpleasant or what doesn’t work anymore.


One Response to “Clearing out the Stuff”

  1. Sharon Says:

    I read once that every move you make is like a major fire in terms of “stuff” you get rid of. I am torn, too, about what to keep, but these smaller homes do force decisions. I wonder if future generations will lament the lack of stuffed-to-the-rafters attics that revealed the lives of those who went before. I know I always enjoyed sifting through the boxes of things I found.

    Did your manuscript ever turn up in one of those boxes? I think you should write about that search and why it was important to you. Love to read the blog! Sharon

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