Once there was a lady who used to be a little girl. She had a pink teddy bear that was in terrible condition, but had the stuffing loved to a flatness only time could provide. It was around 58 years old. She threw it out last night. Threw it out as in burned it in the burning barrel. That lady was me.
I have been getting rid of stuff. Sorting my belongings and trying to decide if they are bringing me joy. That term annoys me to no end, because I read that darn Marie Kondo book (I mean I listened to that book on CD) and sort of wanted to throw it in the trash. It didn’t bring me joy. The first mistake I made was probably getting the book on CD from the library, thinking that I could listen to that while I drove to and from work. The reader of the book was not my favorite reader and since I think whoever reads the book is the author (although that is not always the case), I immediately blamed that Marie Kondo for sounding like a shebot and not bringing me joy. She probably is a terrific person, but I think that she might be OCD. Who does all that when they were a little kid and then does it for others when she is grown making a gazillion dollars? I guess not me.
I follow the Minimalists. Those are those 2 guys that made a bunch of money and didn’t find joy in their junk and ditched that lifestyle. Their names are Josh and Ryan. One of them looks like Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters and the other one looks like Clay Aiken from American Idol. When I recently read one of their essays…they have podcasts too, I see they actually said, “bring you joy”. Gahhhhhh! NONONONONONONONO! The words are true, but when I see those words all I can think of is Marie Kondo’s shebot saying, “Does it bring you joy?” I also heard it on my favorite show, “Gilmore Girls”, when Lorelei was mocking something…that a girl, Lorelei.
I was in my basement going through the never ending pile of stuff that I will use someday. I find that I have 5 main towers of totes/boxes. A pile of totes full of my kid’s toys, containers of craft materials for when I make something, photos, and decorative accessories and holiday decorative accessories (I know…different from daily decorative accessories). There are some other random piles of stuff, but those seem innocuous to me and don’t yell at me when I go in the basement.
My kids have boxes that we took to two of them last summer. So many boxes that it filled up the bed of Rick’s truck. I had the pleasure of sitting next to my daughter while she sorted it when we got it there, took pictures of some of it and remembered a few nice things of some of the memories. Most of it ended up in the trash, but that was ok. I felt it wasn’t for me to decide if they should keep it. Sometimes it is nice to look it over, handle it, think of it, get repulsed, laugh at it or choked up a bit about it, and sometimes it is good to toss it. The stuff hasn’t earned a right to take up that much room for what it is, yet it does have a right to spark a memory. Lisa Frank erasers? Birthday card from Great-grandma? Participation ribbon for an event? Note from a childhood friend? Sometimes it is hard to decide and you have to live with it for a while before you pitch it or keep it.
When my dad died my mom got the chance to move from their farm of 54 years. That means that there was a lot of stuff to sort through and make decisions about and that was just me. My mother and brothers had their own sorting to do. I had to make a rule for myself on what would come and live at my house. I said then and say now, “Everything has a memory on it.”
The rule I came up on was, “If something comes into my possession then something must go out of my possession.” Mostly that has worked out for me. I got rid of a lot of my stuff to make room for family bowls and tablecloths. When I buy a new clothing item, one old thing must go out. Here is the thing with that though, I am a child of a Depression Era and WWII survivors who grew up with the adages, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!”, “We might be able to use that for something or that might be worth something someday.” Finding the buyer who thinks it is valuable to them is difficult, time and resource consuming. What is valuable to me is not always valuable to others because of the memory. That potato ricer has a story on it that I don’t want to be reminded of…not hard to part with. That hand tatted little baby collar for and outfit is so pretty, but who wants just collars? Who has use for a tin full of embroidery floss that was already old in 1962? The hard ones are the glass bowls that held a million salads that were the best salads made by Grandma, Mom, Aunt Milly, who were/are memorable.
The not hard ones are the things from people your mom loved, but you didn’t know or if you did know them and didn’t like them then they are not valuable to me. I rarely have anything of monetary value in my possession as I like things that are memorable or recycled. Some of the best stuff I have are things like, the “Cats” Broadway show program my daughter brought me, a little Barbie tiara that one of our sons found on the school playground when he was little and gave to me as a ring, or the note one of my sons gave me on the occasion of his wedding, the glass piece that my dad welded a frame for so I could hang it on the wall or the wooden bridge my Rick recreated for me for my garden. Those are gold.
So who gets it tonight? I think my baby dolls will have to live in the totes for a while yet and make faces at my kids’ stuff in their totes. Getting rid of the pink bear will have to do for this entire week. A person can only handle so much memory burning in one week.