I’m a pack rat.
I my first house for three years, and when I sold it, it took two full cargo van loads to take what I was throwing away to the local dump.
In just three years I accumulated a lot of crap.
We moved into our present house 10 years ago and over those years have accumulated the usual detritus of raising three boys.
Spring cleaning is coming, and over Christmas I determined that if we want to do a proper job of spring cleaning, we have a major task ahead of us pre-cleaning, before we can even get to the actual cleaning. We have accumulated too much stuff.
For the last two weeks, one day each weekend has been devoted to tidying and organizing. We’re reconstructing toys and games, whose parts have been scattered over the years, and this morning we took a bunch of them to the places that sell used kids’ stuff.
We learned two major lessons.
One is that it’s hard to go through your children’s childhoods, sort through their treasures, and dispose of them. It’s even harder watching strangers go through those treasures, examine them critically, and reject most of them as junk. We thought we had got it over at home, but at the stores it all came back.
In future, we’ll take it to donation centres like the Salvation Army because they aren’t going to reject perfectly good toys for no particular reason.
The second lesson is that it is freeing to let go of what you no longer need. Old toys and clothes, no matter how treasured they once were, are literally in the category of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
The only value they possess is tied to our memories, and we’ll always have those.