You should let go of the clutter, but keep the memories

yard sale collage

Oh the wonderful world of saving money by shopping at yard sales.  You never know what you will find.  However, when you decide to have one, it is as amazing to see what you will find.  You start seeing items in your house which you are no longer needing.  The above photo are not of things gotten ride of, but of various finds, some bought some just enjoyed at that moment in time.

I have been working on cleaning out our house.  Sort of like Spring Cleaning, but in Autumn.  I also find the physics law to be true – an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by another force.  In other words, once you start looking for things to purge you will continue to find them (at increasing speeds) unless distracted by something else.  What are those something elses?

  • stopping to make a meal
  • checking your social media site
  • being asked by one of the kids to play a game
  • finding that old book you really loved
  • contemplating for too long as to whether you really need that pair of shoes half a size too small and not at all a flattering style for you
  • wondering if Aunt So-and-so would be mad at you for getting rid of that nice dress coat you have never worn but which she gave you … 15 years ago
  • coming across the book list for school last year, scanning it to see if you actually read all the books
  • the memory of your child having worn a particular outfit when they had first moved in with you/were born

The last one was particularly hard and hit me like a wall I did not know was there.  So many images came flooding back.  Pudgy, little Jack running through the house with a huge smile on his face and the side to side run he had.  Him enjoying an ice cream cone, chocolate spread across his face. George’s favorite shirt, one he always chose above the others. The pjs you bought just for him, knowing he would love them. The sadness when you finally admitted they no longer fit.

So why did I not keep those particular outfits? Because the outfits did not hold the memory, my mind did.  The kids will never be that size again. By the time they have kids, these clothes will either not be in fashion or be the wrong season or not fit their bodies correctly.  I have proof in the form of clothes from when my husband was about 5.  Still have the clothes, though they have never been worn by our kids.

After having a yard sale, a lot of items left the house.  I was amazed at how much.  Yet, there were still things left.  What to do? I gathered up what I thought was worth selling and posted it on our local online For Sale page.  The rest was booted to the curb with a FREE sign.  If it was in really tired shape it went straight to the trash, so the items at the curb were not in bad shape, just not worth selling.  Apparently someone needed most of the items as I only took three boxes back to the trash a few days later.

free sale by curb

Since that time I have continued to find items.  Some have been listed for sale, some put out by the curb for free, and other donated to a local thrift store that helps support a women’s shelter.  And you know what?  I am still finding items.

Another thing I have come to realize is that it is easier over time to let things go.  This morning, and yes it is only 7 a.m. right now, I went through items I had listed for sale and moved them to the donate pile.  In my mind the memories are still holding, but I know it is better to let them go. Let the stuff go and keep the memories.  Let them go help others who may be in a hard place in life. Let them go bless others who might be tight on money. Let them go bless others who might be like we were a few years ago suddenly needing a whole wardrobe for kids right now!

And so, boxes sit by the back door while the kids are amazingly still asleep.  (No complaining.  I have had enough of kids being up at 6 or before this past week. I AM NOT COMPLAINING.)  Later they will be moved to the trunk of my car for donating next week.  In the meantime we will have conversations yet again as to why we are getting rid of things.  I will again realize my husband was correct; we have too much stuff.  I will be reminded again of how easy it is to start not seeing things.

I will look around the house and realize how much more we still have, not ready to let go of certain items yet and appreciating the usefulness of others.  Another box will be picked up and filled with things I keep “just in case”, though that “just in case” has not happened in 5/8/10 years.  I will grab that extra binder and hole puncher, sit down and sort through papers that need organization beyond being put into a cloth bag.

For now, though, my momentum has been stopped.  I hear not-so-little voice coming down from my bedroom, where it seems everyone migrated last night.  I will grab the pancakes from the freezer (I doubled a batch last week) to start breakfast.  These are the moments to make memories … the little Spies behind me thinking they have pulled one over on me, yet wondering how it is that Mom always hears their very loud, giggling, ‘sneaking’.