Friday, April 3, 2015


I have moved so many times in my life that I have lost track of the number. I have lived in dormitories, a shared room above a workplace, apartments, fairly large houses and small houses, a motel, a mobile home, and a "mother-in-law" apartment. I have lived in five different states and seven towns (some of them more than once).

I always hated moving. But I always said that it was one way of getting my closets cleaned out. There is nothing like moving to make it easy to discard some of the excess baggage of life. I also used to say that I really should just pretend from time to time that I am moving, and accomplish the excess baggage clear out without the inconvenience of actually moving.

There is also one of those Murphy's Law corollaries that says, in effect, that a person's stuff will always expand to fill whatever the available space is. I have been feeling that I had reached that point of my available space being filled. Then I had my little cardiac adventure last September. Add that to the job it was to clear my mother's house after her death (the most of it done by my sisters Grace and Kathleen), and I decided to get serious about lightening the load of stuff my kids would someday have to deal with.
Tote bag of books ready to take to the
library free shelves

I have, so far, filled several of those stretchable trash bags. And I can barely tell anything is gone. Of course a lot of it came out of my filing cabinets, so its absence is not readily visible. I tossed dozens of files. Most of them were lessons I had created over the years for various Bible classes I taught. They were a resource that represented many, many hours of work and study. It was not easy to discard those files, but I took a hard look at the possibility that I would ever use them again. Many of them are saved on my computer, but a lot of them were composed a number of years ago on different computers and several different versions of Windows ago, and I no longer have the computer version. Again, the chances that I will ever need them again are slim to none.

I hardened my heart, bagged them up, and put them out.

Bit by bit I am culling my bookshelves. It is very, very difficult for me to part with books, but I now buy books for my Kindle, which is much easier for me to read from these days. There are old favorites I will not part with, but some books I know I'll probably not read again. Among those are aging paperbacks with small print and yellowing pages. These are hard for me to read with my present vision peculiarities, and so they can go. Are my bookshelves going to be emptied? Not a chance! But I will continue to work on culling. The discards will go to the free shelves at the local library.

I have mentally tagged quite a few things in my spare closet, which serves as storage space. I also have movies on VCR tapes, many of them old favorites, but I doubt that I'll be playing many of them again.  And, then, there are boxes under my stairs that have been packed away since I moved here almost nine years ago. I've already emptied one storage bin from there, but there are several yet to go through. Some things can be donated; the rest will be destined for the dumpster.

Now, in case you are envisioning me slaving away at this cleanout every day, I can only say that I wish that were so. I'm just doing it a bit at a time. But I will get it done. It can be hard to let go of things that are reminders of  the past--my personal history--or anything that is linked to Jerry. But I am facing the fact that those things will mean nothing and be of no use to anyone else. In fact, a lot of it is of no use to me. After all, something that has been stored away for nine years will never be missed!

1 comment:

  1. I'm doing the same thing, a bit at a time. We've lived in this house 11 years this month. That is a personal record for me! It does mean that we've collected too many things, though.