Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I have a problem. I'm a keeper. I like to keep things for a really long time, longer than they need to be kept. This is not to be confused with hoarding, though. We don't have twenty multipacks of two ply toilet paper stacked in a closet somewhere or piles of newspapers lining the hallways of our house.

I simply have a hard time getting rid of stuff. Random stuff. Like the typewriter/word processor thingy that my grandmother (who passed away a few years ago) gave me as a high school graduation gift. I used it to write my papers in college and haven't had an actual need for it since then, but I find myself struggling to get rid of it. Ryan and I have discussed this one particular item and its need to find a new home more than once. Our conversations usually go something like this:

Ryan: Can we please get rid of this thing?

Me: But what if we need it?

Ryan: We have a computer and a printer. I don't think we'll need it.

Me: But what about the typewriter function? What if we need a typewriter for something?

Ryan: We won't need a typewriter. Everything is computerized now.

Me: But my grandmother gave this to me.

Ryan: She also gave you her pearls, her silver and her coffee table. I think you're set.

Me: But......

And on and on it goes. And not just with the typewriter, but with a lot of things. Like my clothes. Sigh.

I really need to clean out my clothes. There are things hanging in my closet that I've moved four times and never worn. The wind suit I wore in the early 90's is an example. Or the green suede jacket my mom got me for Christmas my freshman year of high school. Yes - my freshman year of high school which is longer ago than I care to remember (let's see, my ten year reunion was five years ago, so carry the one and well, you get the point). My problem is that I'm emotionally attached to things and I just can't give them away. Seriously, I cried when I had to sell the first car I ever bought all by myself. Little green Honda Civic, how I miss you still.

I have no problem getting rid of other people's stuff because I'm not attached to it. Before we moved, Ryan cleaned out his side of the closet and I had no issues helping him make a giveaway pile of his clothes. I didn't really clean out my side of the closet then because Evan was only one month old and I wanted to get back down to my pre-pregnancy size before tackling the job. Deep down, I know I could have done it, but I used the "I'mstillfatfromhavingababyandIreallywillwearallthisstuffagain" excuse to avoid doing it.

I'm aware this is a problem and I am doing my best to ensure that my kids do not inherit it. Sydney likes to keep every single thing she makes at school and church. We're talking 3-4 little projects/coloring sheets per day. For a while, I threw things away while she was at school (nothing important, just letter tracing worksheets) and let her fill a box with the art I didn't throw away. A couple of months ago, I made her go through the box and pick a few things that she wanted to keep. We took pictures of other things that she liked, but we didn't have room for (like the huge Cinderella mural thing she painted in neon pink) and then I had her throw the rest away. I want her to be able to be sad about getting rid of things, but more importantly, I want to teach her to actually get rid of them despite feeling sad.

Well, I've decided that I've got to practice what I preach and get rid of some stuff. A LOT of stuff. Maybe we'll sell it or just give it away, I haven't quite figured that part out yet, but there are a lot of things that just need to go away. There will be tears involved, I'm sure. I'm tearing up just thinking about the two bins of maternity clothes that I'll never wear again and the baby equipment that we've outgrown. But it's time for this to happen.

I'm sure I've bored you to tears with this post, but I really believe that professing something to the world makes one more accountable for the actions that have been promised. So here goes:

I, Jana the emotional pack rat, pledge to clean out the closets, garage and attic of all things that have gone unused and unworn for the last year.

Wish me luck!

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