I quite literally battle my inner hoarder every single day.
I grew up in a home where, quite honestly, there was a lot of...stuff. Books, magazines, recipe clippings. Collections. Knick knacks. Closets that you couldn't open if anyone was over. A garage that never housed a car.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing...I'm just saying we didn't go through things and give away much over the years. And, if something had ANY sort of sentimental value (you know, Cousin Joe's wife, Gaby, left it to you in her will...or Grandma MADE that for you...or those were Nana's and she hand carried them here from Montreal in 1957...) well, we could not get rid of it.
No. We were not ABLE to get rid of it.
For a LONG time, these feelings overwhelmed me. I couldn't give away ANYTHING that anyone had made me or given me or even something that I bought that even REMOTELY reminded me of some amazing memory...good or bad!
This lasted, of course, up until I lost my 1,450 square foot home (with a two car garage) and knwe I'd be moving into a 700 square foot apartment (with a carport.)
I knew it was time for EVERYTHING to go.
It was tough to do. Extremely tough! It seemed like I could literally tell a story about every single item in my home! Where I got it, what song was playing when I last used it, what a DEAL it was...
it was truly a little cray cray.
I slowly but surely realized (as I took carloads of boxes and bags to the Goodwill each day) that none of these THINGS were my memories. And, as I began to sell and give away the majority of my belongings, I began to feel a little better. A little lighter.
Happier in many ways.
That was three years ago THIS WEEK! I moved on St. Patrick's Day 2011 and every single thing I owned fit in that apartment...very comfortably.
If I'm honest tho....I have to admit that I did, however, have several small 'baskets' of 'things.'
Things I couldn't part with. And...a whole Hope Chest full of silliness that I couldn't let go of.
Until this last month.
Dave says that I'm 'nesting'...not sure why, but that does seem pretty accurate. I can't stop cleaning, gleaning and organizing our home. So, now I've gone through all those baskets and I even (finally!) tackled the Hope Chest.
CRAZY is putting it mildly. Inside was every single note and card and letter that ANY HUMAN ON EARTH every wrote to me. I started with those. Honestly, over HALF were from people that I honestly could not remember. Trash.
Of the half left, I kept a very few--the cards from my kids when they were little, the special note my Nana wrote me when I moved out in 2005, my acceptance for pre-admission to UCLA...and a couple of other special notes.
And, truly, the rest went in the trash.
The People magazines with Michael J. Fox, Peter Frampton, John Denver, etc etc....come on. Trash.
Then came old jewelry (most of it was from Avon circa 1968--Goodwill) and all the mice from my 10 year mouse collection? I kept one.
Then...well, I have to admit there is one VERY silly thing that I had held onto for 34 years.
The fact that I kept it over the last NINE is the crazy part.
It was the shirt that William was wearing on our first date.
I KNOW! RIGHT?! A Red iZod that was THE shirt to wear in 1980. Why was I keeping this?!
I held it in my hand and smiled--as I had every time I'd held it over the last nine years. I CAN tell you exactly where we were when I first saw him in that shirt, what song was playing, where we were going...and, of course, how HAPPY I was that night.
THAT is why I kept it. THAT is why.
But, without a doubt, it was time for it to hit the road.
I said goodbye and put it in the Goodwill bag.
Fast forward to last week when I had a few things that needed to carry down to my car after work. Jonathan, my partner, grabbed a few things and helped me out to the garage. As I opened the back of my car, Jonathan saw the bag for Goodwill...and, picked up the iZod shirt with excitement in his eyes!
"Are you giving this away?! It's vintage iZod! It's in great shape! I love it."
...You guessed it.
I was thrilled.
I was so excited that the shirt was being loved and worn and appreciated.
And, most of all, that I was able to let it go.