Friday, September 9, 2011

But I May Need It Someday!

My heart races.

My stomach tightens.

My palms are moist.

Sweat drips down my face.

You guessed it – I’m cleaning out the garage! Why do I have such trouble throwing things away? I physically react as if I am in a panic (although the sweating could be from hot flashes – I can’t be sure).

My husband could literally throw away everything we own and it wouldn’t bother him a bit. I blame his military brat upbringing where he had to move every couple of years (to different countries no less). His family invented the word “minimalistic.” (Although, I think even they would admit to some regret about tossing boxes and boxes of comic books – some undoubtedly worth a bit of money today).

I look at something and think believe know that I will one day use it again. If it’s something we bought in the last ten years, why throw it away? We spent money on that so why would we want to buy it again when we ALREADY HAVE ONE? You’d think I grew up in the depression as much as I think we need to squirrel away every 25 cent item I run across (and, no, I am not that old, thank you very much. I may be old enough to have hot flashes but I’m certainly not old enough to have lived through the depression). That recession in the 70s may have really messed me up, though . . .

The point is to make room for Robert, so I can no longer conveniently keep whatever I want just because it happens to fit in the garage. I dream of buying a bigger house so I can fit all my stuff in it but realize I will keep accumulating more stuff no matter the size of the house!

How can I throw this away?

I force myself to go through boxes and file cabinets and bags full of knick-knacks that I one day will use or papers that we may have to produce if our utility company ever claims we didn’t pay them in 1995 or school papers the kids brought home in grade school. (Don’t tell hubby but I’m keeping the school items! Certainly that seems reasonable, right?). I relented and tossed a few craft projects that Daughter had created. One was a Giant “R” decorated like a ladybug. It was so adorable but even she insisted I throw it away. Before doing so, I took a picture of it which will only take up a little bit of electronic space (yay!).

Intellectually, I know it’s a good idea to purge and not keep everything one has ever owned forever. Just try telling my racing heart and upset stomach that!


Joan Oliver Emmer said...

What a timely post! We just held our once a decade garage sale, which necessitated parting with some...uh ...stuff! I think it was easier for me than at any other point in my life. I am finally moving on to relative minimalism. Wishing the same for you too Trish!

Judy, The Reflective Writer said...

I laughed in recognition when I saw this post, Trish. I've written many a blog on my clutter and my difficulty letting go! I believe holding onto things has many meanings for us, probably individual, and for me there is fear (will I need it?), disappointment (why didn't I do more with this, succeed, meet the goals this represents, etc), sadness (perhaps connected to someone gone). I inherited a lot of things when my sister died, then my parents, so I have all those things piling up, too. So I completely relate!

I do think preparing a space for a purpose, as you are doing with Robert, should help. You are moving towards something new, and so clearing out is a positive action towards this new state. That doesn't mean you don't get the racing heart, though!

If there's anything really sentimental that you need to let go of, try taking a picture. I'm starting to do that. Gives me a memento where I need it.

Good luck!

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

Anonymous said...

You got rid of the R? Actually, I relate, too. But not as much as my husband. We used to have a typewriter that Dave bought before we were married; we've been married 26 years. Whenever I would suggest that we didn't need it anymore, Dave would say, you never know if you might want to type an envelope. I would remind him that our computer had that capability. He would then say, "Just keep it OK?" End of story. No logic. And he's mostly a logical guy. A few years ago, when I was cleaning the garage, the typewriter went from my hands into the garbage can. It was more of an impulse than a decision. I felt both freedom and betrayal since Dave had clearly instructed me that he was not ready to give up the typewriter. But the freedom. That was palpable, energizing. I waited a couple of years before I told Dave. I had to do it, I told him. I'm not sure he understood, but we're still married.

Hope you're well.


Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Oh, Jozeffa! I love the story but feel for your husband. I would have saved the typewriter too. :-) I'm mostly logical too but sometimes it's just hard to let go.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Judy, I knew you would understand what I was going through! Some of what I had to go thrgouh was from Mom or Dad which made it that much more difficult to decide what to do. (Don't tell hubby but I saved most of it -- thankfully was able to consolidate boxes). :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Joan, I aspire to be more minimalistic and you give me hope! I love having garage sales but I think I sabatoge myself (deliberately?) by pricing things too high. It's a slow, slow process.

Unknown said...

I know it's hard, but you will be much better after you throw away all the junk. I moved and threw away tons of stuff and gave away lost of clothes to goodwill. So when we move again, I know it won't be as bad as the first time. You'll get a great sense of accomplishment, I promise.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Dennis, I have one question: how much did my husband pay you to say that? :-)