Last weekend Hank and I spent an entire day cleaning out our garage, and at times I had to laugh at how silly we were, spending our lovely day off covered in dust and dirt, giving more snacks to Charlie in the pack 'n play and more movies to Henry in the living room, just to power through. Our house is typically very clean- we don't have a lot of "stuff" and I'm not a clutter or knick-knacky kinda person, so it isn't terribly hard to keep it organized (although this does not include the "junk" drawer that has somehow spilled into a second drawer!). But...that poor garage. Our garage has been in a sad state. When we bought this house right before Henry was born I was in a nesting frenzy and obsessively and meticulously labeled boxes and put them in their proper places. But as the past four years have gone by I've had spurts of laziness when putting things away post-holiday or post-get together or post-whatever, which in turn snowballed into our originally organized things becoming a big hodge podge of random stuff. I'm sure you know what I mean. That orange pumpkin basket from Halloween always kind of laid on top of something (my intention was to put it into the non-existent Halloween box eventually), a broken drumstick that should be thrown away yet always ended turning up somewhere, and random clothing set aside for a donate pile that eventually grew and became the pile itself. Then add in an accumulation of bikes and drums and Power Wheels and strollers and seven boxes of memories from my parents' house...and you have a nightmare.
But of course any free weekend we had, the very last thing we wanted to do was spend it in there. And those seven boxes called to me every time I pulled my car into the garage- they taunted me, all piled up like that and reminded me that I had stuff to do! I had boxes to go through! What was I thinking, hanging out with friends when I had a lifetime of parent-collected memories to sort?!
So a couple of weeks ago Hank and I decided that Labor Day would be it! That would be the day!
Now I have to tell you, if you're ever starting to feel too cool, like maybe you've got this life thing figured out (see paragraph one), just take a walk down memory lane, and revisit junior high and maybe even high school. GOD. I look at the clothes, the hair, how awesome I really believed I was...and I have to laugh. So much bad poetry, so many crushes, so much drama (I was reminded of this after sorting through hundreds of notes from friends I'd somehow saved).
And there I sat, in a pile of years, lost for hours remembering so many things I hadn't thought of in a decade. And as I remembered I sorted. Keep, throw away. Keep, throw away. It felt weird to get rid of things I once loved, but as much as I love nostalgia I love not having clutter even more, so I threw away a lot. And it felt good!
Sometimes I think you need to get rid of the old to make way for the new. And it's not like our crowded garage was holding me back, but once we listed the bikes for sale on Craigslist and I whittled seven boxes down to one and we closed up that last holiday box, edited and organized to a tee, I felt better than I had in months.
So yeah, this is one of those posts that's not really about anything. Although it kind of is, I guess. There's a bit about simplicity there, how much I enjoy having less (which sometimes surprises me because I am someone who does gravitate towards more half the time!). But I'm learning. And like I said up there, part of feeling like we've got it figured out is knowing when we're starting to make a wrong turn. Stopping. And resetting. There's a bit about that. But I guess the biggest thing would be that sometimes in life it's good to just jump right in and edit. Keep and throw away, keep and throw away. Sometimes you go through seven boxes of things you thought you needed all along, but as it turns out, you only needed one. That's kind of where I'm at in life right now. Taking a big step back and seeing what I've got, and seeing what I need. Keeping what works and understanding that it's okay to discard the rest. This is progress.