What should I do with all the pretty rocks my children and I collected over the years? It doesn’t make much sense to pay to move them all, so I have compromised and separated out a few. The rest will go out in the back yard to be discovered by someone else’s children.
The physical part of packing up my house doesn’t bother me much, although hauling boxes of books up from the basement is no picnic. No, the really hard part is making decisions about which things to keep.
Some things were easy enough to part with. I already wrote about the golf clubs and the cross-country skis that I disposed of. Prior to that, I had spent weeks digitizing photographic slides, and now all those slide reels can go in the garage sale. Also, I downloaded my CDs to iTunes, and the originals have gone to recycling and thrift stores to be enjoyed by other people.
I’ve re-homed my entire book collection, too. It’s gone. All gone. I used to be quite proud of my library, but it had become a burden. I’ve tried to spread the wealth, so some went to thrift stores, some to the college library, some to the municipal library, and some to friends. The remaining few that I discover around the house are going in the garage sale. After that, I’m done with lugging books around forever. That feels surprisingly liberating.
In my home office I had files related to courses I formerly taught. I thought that maybe, just maybe, the college might call me to teach one of them occasionally, but that didn’t happen. So, those things had to go. All the binders are going in the garage sale, and the hundreds of pages of notes are in the blue box for recycling. Writing that in one sentence makes it sound easy, but eighteen years of class preparations don’t leave without a struggle.
Yesterday I put all the feedback from students into the blue box, too. I was reluctant to part with all the lovely compliments and occasional insults until I remembered that I had a colleague who never even opened the envelopes that the feedback came in. He was right. Some feedback–even complimentary feedback–needs to be put in its place.
I just took a look at the cupboard where I keep plastic containers, light bulbs, and batteries, and decided not to do anything about them today. I did rearrange everything so that I could see what was at the backs of the shelves, but then I put it all back again. Yes, I know; failure to make a decision is a decision in itself. I may just take them all and when I get to the new house find out which ones I still need.
My children have given me some guidance in this, but they have their own clutter to sort. They did ask for some of the books, but gave me no idea what to do with the storage shelving units. Should I use them to display things in the garage sale or take them apart and move them to the new location? I don’t even know where I would put them, but maybe they will be useful.
Before I do anything with the shelves, though, I have to decide what to do with all the things in the garage and basement that are currently on those shelves: gear for house painting, miscellaneous tools, children’s drawings, tarpaulins, gardening equipment, plant pots, electrical cords, remote controls for electronics, an artificial Christmas tree, the doll I had as a child, all her clothes, picture frames, candles, extra dishes and drinking glasses, more Christmas decorations, articles and diaries I have written, drawings my husband made, and so on.
As I pick up each thing, I try to separate the emotional attachment from the practicality of the move, but as time goes by that is getting harder. So, I put things back in their boxes and back on their shelves. Like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, I’ll think about that tomorrow. Or, better yet, I’ll have a moving company just pack it all up and move it for me.
Yes. Good decision.