Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cleaning up and clearing out

The big project waiting for Grant and me in Kansas was taking care of my pile of stuff occupying my mother's storage unit--well after socializing and seeing a bit of the land of my nativity. After I graduated from high school, everything that didn't go to my dorm room went into a storage unit. I have actually gone through this pile and cut in half at least three times (before I moved to Jersey, before my mission and then again after). And despite that, he saw this face a lot during the couple of hours we spent there.
Through the years of periodically going through all my belongings, there are a few things I'd learned about storing stuff well before this trip...

*Storing stuff you don't have room for now but think you'll have use for later is pointless. For
much less money than it will cost you to store it, you can buy new, better stuff when you need it and have room for it.
*Storing stuff that can pick up a smell (clothes, bedding, anything made of cloth) is done at your own risk.
*If you don't remember the "treasure" you're storing and/or the details of it, it ain't a treasure.
*Storing something that you're only going to put in a closet in your house when you take it out of storage probably isn't worth storing. Like the tiny T-shirt here. It's adorable. I totally remember wearing it, but I'm never going to put one of my kids in it.

I also learned about what I really "need" from my mission. You live out of 2 suitcases for a year and a half and you become less sentimental. And there are a few more things I learned taking my husband with me to sort through the relics that remained of my childhood...

*If he doesn't like it, we aren't going to display it.
*If it's not worth passing down to our children, it's not worth having around. Like your National Honors Society paraphernalia you wore at high school graduation.

*You can easily remember stuff by scanning it or taking a picture and save yourself the trouble of keeping it around (especially when the previous points apply to it)--even gifts that you know people made sacrifices to give you.
*Having someone with you who isn't attached to all of your stuff makes it a lot easier to see the sense in chucking it.
*Having a man around who isn't attached to all your stuff is even more effective.

Grant was able to remind me of some logistics like the size of our car that was already lugging our luggage and present we'd received, and the fact that we're going back to a small apartment where we needed to go through some things to make space for a baby (we're amazed at how much space a person who can currently fit in my body requires). He still doesn't understand why I need all the playbills and souvenir programs I collected from the shows I've seen (and there are quite a few) or my American Girl doll clothes but we took
everything and whittled it down to one very large box--and he didn't even pressure me to be able to put the lid on it, just to be able to fit it in the car.

There are other logistics that help with throwing things away that have been sitting in storage since you were 18--like bugs, mold, and general funky smells.

It was a little painful to throw some of the things away. I felt incredibly guilty about all the stuff we could have donated to the Goodwill store, but didn't have time or towing space to make the trips. And I felt really guilty about a few of the gifts I knew people had sacrificed to give me, but I had to admit that even though someone who loved me gave it to me, I just
didn't have any use for it anymore. Especially the stuff I'd forgotten about.

And there was a small notebook of pictures that somehow got mixed up in the piles of high school Geometry notes (don't ask me how or why that made it as far as the last whittling down) and tossed, which I'm very bummed about. And there are two or three specific things I wish I would have added to my box in retrospect. But...too late now.

It did feel pretty good, though. Even though I realized I've wasted thousands of dollars storing and shipping a lot of that stuff through the years...but hey. Now the long-awaited satisfaction of having absolutely everything I own in one spot is finally mine. And it's awesome! I highly recommend it.

We took pictures of lots of things I decided i could live without so I could still remember them later. The following is a real gem...

Wes Southerland was in my class every year Kindergarten through 3rd grade (and we moved after that) and was the very first boy I ever had a crush on. When I turned 8 (between 2nd and 3rd grade), Mom threw me an awesome birthday party and Wes presented me with this. He shyly admitted that he'd picked it out himself. He might as well declared his undying love for me on the spot as far as my 8-year-old self was concerned. I always set aside and nervously gave him the cards that said, "Will you be mine?" for Valentine's Day and this was my affirmation that yes, he would. I should see if I can find him on Facebook...

So it was not only a fun but also productive trip. And there's more to follow about it! We've been kinda lazy about getting it all blogged because we were having so much fun just hanging out with the downtime we had here when Grant didn't have to work. And since he's gone back my priorities have been in making sense of the disaster area that somehow has completely taken over our apartment.

Especially since I have barely more than 5 weeks before I'm due to have a baby and have so much to get done before then! Eeek!


Danielle said...

Speaking of, I still have boxes at my parents' house too.

And thank you for this post. Just yesterday I took pictures of Grant's casts. I took pictures from all angles. And then I threw them away. It kinda hurt. But I kept telling myself wasn't a junk collector. And pictures of things take up a whole lot less room than the actual things.

Thank you for reaffirming my decision before I climbed into the garbage can to retrieve them. :)

Seth said...

Yay for throwing stuff away. I am a strong believer in throwing stuff away (or getting rid of it somehow) rather than letting it accumulate and clutter stuff up.

Also, it hit me while reading your post that very soon, all your blog posts will be about a little girl who was just born and explaining all the fun stuff that you are learning together. I am WAY pumped for those posts (I like all your posts but I am really excited for them to include a little baby).

Michelle said...

Dear Lord, please tell me there were no pictures of myself in an inebriated state. I have enough memories of those days (some of them are blurry, but they are there) and there is no need for pictures!

Otherwise, good for you getting rid of stuff!! Poor Dave, he's a pack-rat, and I'm always yelling at him to get rid of stuff!!

I'm so excited to see your baby!!

FYI- I have a new blog, Check it out yo.

Scott and Kel said...

5 weeks left!!! YAY!!! Oh and by the way, you said it's funny Haddyn's preoccupied with doing her own thing instead of what I want...well, that isn't just being preoccupied, it's being her Mother's daughter and pretty much doing what she wants when she wants. Heaven help me!

Jacqueline said...

Playbills and programs of memorable events are flat and can be all contained in a notebook. Feel free to save them. Remind Grant that he has a notebook full of them. When I cleaned out the memorabilia from 4 campaigns for House of Representatives, I got rid of boxes of extra stuff but I saved one copy of everything and put it all in a notebook. Felt wonderful.

Grant said...

HA! She has a huge pile of them. 10 or 15 pounds probably. It's not anything like flat. One reason I wanted them gone is that she wanted to wallpaper one of our rooms with her nasty old dusty playbills. Gross.

Jacqueline said...

I am fascinated that she has a lot of blaybills. I guess I knew in theory that she was a theater major. Of all my kids you were in the most plays. Your daughter may be a drama queen. I would like to see them when I come out in a few weeks.

Peless Family said...

I think I saw cheerleader pom-poms(is that what they are called) from the good ol' days at CHS and maybe even some warm-ups! I still have a few things in my moms basement that I haven't managed to get up here yet. It does feel good to get rid of stuff and it is nice to get everything in one spot.
I can't believe you only have 5 weeks left. Your pregnancy has went by so FAST! You will make a great mommy and from the sounds of it Grant will be a great daddy too! I look forward to hearing your parenting adventures!

Kristina said...

Seth is a believer in throwing stuff away. That doesn't mean he gets to throw stuff away. Since Seth doesn't remember having a childhood, I figure one of us has to. He is absolutely NOT allowed to throw my childhood away. I don't care if it would be more optimal to not have my childhood all piled up in the storage shed. No one is touching my childhood but me :P
And I'm also a firm believer that mementos of achievements should be saved. I would have (and have) saved my NHS stuff and will show it to my children :P