Wednesday, February 3, 2010
This guest post comes from reader Lee in the Midwestern U.S.; she sent me an e-mail with this message, and then gave me permission to share it with all of you. I thought Lee's story might resonate with many other readers.
We just moved out of the house where we had lived since 1974. It was the home where we learned about renovating an old house. It was the home we brought our two babies to after they were born (they're now 31 and almost 26). It was in the neighborhood where we and our children made lifelong friends. And it contained almost everything we ever owned (excluding real trash, pet waste, etc.).
I had saved toys and baby clothes for our someday grandchildren. I wanted to be the grandmother who had Daddy's old toys to play with. By the time we were ready to move them, almost all of the plastic toys (Fisher Price, Little Tykes) had deteriorated so badly that they had to be thrown in the dumpster. Fortunately, the Legos - and surprisingly, the stuffed animals - survived. It saddens me to think of the joy I could have given a child by giving him or her one of the plastic toys when they were still usable.
I have five bottles of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner that you squirt under the bowl rim and four cans of Lysol cleaning foam. We only had two bathrooms. We had at least six pairs of Fiskars scissors and countless scissors of other brands. I think everything was so cluttered that we couldn't find something, so we just bought another "whatever."
We found lots of small pieces of glassware and other antiques in the basement. We didn't like them well enough to use them upstairs and couldn't remember whose relative's estate they were from or if they came from someone's garage sale. Really special, huh?
It took us months to move and we finally rented the biggest POD available and bagged the rest of the stuff and threw it in the POD. What an unnecessary expense.
I'm happy to report that the POD has been emptied and sent back, but the garage spaces are full of "stuff" and the cars are parked outside in the snow. We are trying to be very ruthless as we go through things.
Two things have helped me to be ruthless as opposed to my usual sentimental self. A friend who had just helped her parents move from a huge home on Long Island where they had raised their three daughters to an assisted living facility insisted that I read Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much. We rewrote his questions based on how we wanted to use the rooms in our new house and if something isn't needed in a room, we don't need it and it's "out."
Also, we got to know many missionaries who were coming off or preparing to go to the mission field. One woman, who had several children, talked about having to pare her family's possessions so they, along with the washer and dryer, would fit in a 10 foot square shipping crate. If I'm now having trouble deciding the fate of an object, I just ask myself if it would earn a spot in the crate.