Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Lost and Found

on February 28, 2013

My ostensible reason for visiting my parents this week is to help them start cleaning up their house and get rid of a bunch of stuff. No, they aren’t downsizing or looking to move, but they are beginning to think about selling the home down the road. They’ve been doing some much-needed improvements and upgrades and they know it’s time to make a dent in the accumulation of items. My parents have lived in this house since 1997 and both my sister and I are long since moved out. Well, I’ve moved out and my sister is not currently living there since she is living abroad for a few years. Over the years I’ve more or less purged my old room of childhood items, but almost all of my sister’s stuff is still living with my folks, filling her old room and overflowing into my old room! Combine that with my parents’ tendency to hang on to things for sentimental reasons or because it might be useful at some point in the hazy future, and you have a houseful of stuff just taking up space. Don’t get me wrong–this is not a criticism! There is nothing wrong with keeping sentimental items! But there is a point where you just have to discard something.

Enter, moi. When it comes to dejunking, I am ruthless. Oh, is it slightly broken or discolored? Trash! Is it a size too small? Give it to Goodwill! Haven’t read that book in over a year? List it on Amazon! When my family moved away from Billings, we gutted our home so we could move everything in one moving truck. So I have lots of practice.

See, the weird thing is, I actually get a kick out of loading up a garbage bag full of random  house junk and dumping it in the curbside trash can. It’s very satisfying to have a chest of drawers full of God only knows what, then deal with it, and presto! An empty chest of drawers! Then you get to dust the chest and fill it with things you actually want to have around. Or if one of the drawer pulls is missing and there’s a glittery pony sticker from 15 years ago on the side, you get to throw the chest out too and go buy a new one! Double yay!

It’s been a bit of an adventure, going through my old things and random stuff my parents have stored away in unused rooms. I found lots of little trinkets I used to love as a girl. I found a pink plastic jewelry box full of sea shells and cheap costume jewelry and interesting-looking rocks and tiny carved animals. A little girl’s secret stash. I found old textbooks from college: ear training and music theory, psychology (barf!), statistics (barf x infinity!), a book about drive in movies. I found clothes I haven’t worn since I was 8 or 9. Apparently my mom was saving those in case I had a little girl. I looked her in the eye and said, “I would never dress my little girl in those.” Can you imagine? I was 8 in 1992. Ick. Just ick. “Here honey. Do you want a neon blue scrunchy to go with your stirrup pants and side-knotted t-shirt?” Never in this life.

But by far the most exciting find was my journal I started keeping when I was a freshman in college. I know they say those are the best years of your life, but O Holy Mary, I am so glad those years are behind me! I read a few of the entries and it was just horrible. So horrible. I got a crawly feeling on my skin and I couldn’t keep my face free of scowl. When it got to the point that one more page would cause actual physical pain to read, I chucked the journal in my big garbage bag along with the stupid posters, dried up markers, and partially completed crossword puzzle books.

So, yeah. When I told my aunt I was helping my parents start to clean out their house, she laughed and said, “You’re going to need more than a week!” Yes. That is so true.

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4 responses to “Lost and Found

  1. Michael Schwager says:

    Culling old journal entries now and then is an important part of the process, for me at least.
    I’ve been writing journals since I was in Viet Nam, and often the act of writing is more important than keeping the entry.
    Sometimes I summarize or abstract entries or whole journals, before cleaning them out. That is, I write about what I once wrote. Is that compulsive or what?
    Sometimes I keep the whole notebook, sometimes I tear out one or two old journal pages to keep, sometimes I just chuck all of it.
    Happy journaling in the future.

    • judy says:

      I could never keep this book. Or even summarize what was in it. It’s far too horrible. I guess now I have an online journal, and I’m writing about good stuff this time!

  2. I’m really worried about my dresser. I can see that it has a loose drawer pull.

    • judy says:

      It’s okay for now since the drawer pull is not actually missing. Plus we did already bother to paint it a pretty color so I think it will be safe…

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