Originally posted May 12, 2009
I’ve been purging quite a bit lately (in that decidedly non-eating disorder sort of way). We just moved into a beautiful little apartment, and decided before hand that we DID NOT want to become the sort of couple who collects more and more and more stuff, only to outgrow their home and move to something bigger and then years down the line not be able to tell you what’s in their basement if their lives depended on it. Keeping things simple sounded like a great idea to me, so we (mainly I, being the pack rat of our little family) began to pare down a bit in the “possessions” department.
It felt quite nice, getting rid of some of the baggage that wasn’t needed. Some furniture, some clothing, some shoes. A good deal of dishes and mugs and kitchen wares. How did I collect so much STUFF to begin with?
I sold a couple of things, but gave most of it a way. A good deal of it to my sister, much to the chagrin of my brother-in-law (hi Yippie!) who was glaring at her the whole time with the same expression the boy gives me when I bring things INTO the house when I’m supposed to be carting things AWAY. C’est la vie.
Simplifying is nice. It allows one to breathe easier, knowing you’re not wasting things. My mother collected some beautiful glassware and antique dishes — which I’ve carried through FIVE moves in the eight years since her death — and they’ve sat packed up in boxes, untouched while I utilized other dishes and other glassware with no real significance to me. I’m pretty sure she’d roll her eyes at that, if not be downright offended. So you know what? To hell with storage. I gave away my nondescript dishes away and I’m using the pretty ones. She would have wanted that.
There were other casualties of the move though. Things that weren’t so easy to get rid of. I had an entire, MASSIVE hope chest, plus a few boxes, of my mother’s belongings that I’d put off going through for nearly a decade because “I just wasn’t ready.” But I did it. And by and large I found that the things in that box didn’t really hold any sentimental value for me. The things that did, I kept, but most were mementos of my childhood my mom had kept for her own sentimental reasons. Things I didn’t want or care for, that I had originally hung on to simply because I felt like SOMEONE should have kept them.
Well, world, I’m proud to say those items are no longer following me around. WHY WOULD I WANT 15 PAIRS OF MY OWN BABY SHOES? What, am I going to bronze them and put them in my own house? Do I really need to keep drawings I did when I was seven years old? Old report cards? WHY DO I HAVE THE BEDDING FROM MY OWN CRIB AS A BABY?
It’s not like keeping these items was keeping my mother alive. They weren’t even MY memories. They were hers. I didn’t remember half the stuff. I think I just kept them because I was mad that no one else WANTED these things. Out of spite, perhaps. Like, “FINE, if you don’t want them, I’LL KEEP THEM MYSELF!”
Another casualty of the Great Purge of 2009 was Shirley, my quirky Jeep who I’ve lovingly told stories about here and here. Well, not long after her most recent bout with demonism, she stopped running and sat idle for months on end. Once upon a time she was my mother’s car, but she was mine for much longer, so that bit of sentimentality had fallen by the wayside. She was a cranky old broad, and had many lives, but perpetually keeping her alive was threatening to bleed me dry over the long run. Not to mention that I’ve found myself in a location where a more pedestrian lifestyle isn’t only possible, it’s preferred. So I sold Shirley to a new family. For FAR less than what she was worth. I hope she has many more lives.
Live long and prosper, Shirley.
With that taken care of, I do believe I’m no longer in possession of any large items (with the exception of the dishes, some jewelry, and a few other mementos) that I did not earn or purchase on my own. And it’s a good feeling. I’m not going to get so dramatic so as to compare this to a phoenix-rising situation, but it’s a fresh start.
People, a weight has been lifted. And I couldn’t be happier.