Monday, April 07, 2008

Serenity now

I've spent the last few weeks cleaning and purging in preparation for a joint garage sale we're having with my sister at the end of the month. She's moving and needs to purge in order to make her gorgeous new home (a beautiful old bungalow in our old neighbourhood where our parents still live) as neat and organized as possible when she moves in.

I need to purge to clear my brain. We're not moving, nor do we have any plans to, but the clutter in the house (even the clutter hidden in boxes neatly lined up on shelves in the basement) has been bothering me a lot lately. I can only assume that the need to take charge of the overflowing nooks and crannies in the house is a direct result of my inability to control anything else in my life. Biologically speaking, of course.

But it's a hard pattern to break.

I hold onto everything. Sometimes because I think I'll need that scrap of ribbon, empty box or piece of cardboard for something one day. But usually because I'm deathly afraid of getting rid of anything even remotely connected to the people I know I'm going to lose one day. It's like I need to be the memory keeper, even though I don't know if I'll ever have anyone to whom I can pass along the memories contained in all those little bits and odds and ends that represent my life and the lives of the people that came before me.

It's why I still have gift tags written by my Grandma who died nearly 18 years ago, enough used greeting cards to open a Hallmark museum, and countless boxes containing scraps of paper, trinkety momentos and stuff most people would simply assume was trash.

It all means so much to me. Because I'm a sentimental fool.

But I'm trying hard to ignore the inner packrat who's shrieking in horror at the pile of stuff on our ping pong table destined for the garage sale, and instead listen to the inner Zen master who is practically orgasmic at the leaps and bounds I've made.

She has been wanting to get rid of those 9 years of Reader's Digest back issues for a long, long time...

It feels good to simplify. I want that kind of life - that kind of mind.

I think it's totally okay that I'm faking it.


Julia said...

It is totally ok.
I am fine tossing magazines, but am pretty much the same way about a lot of other stuff. So if your inner Zen master gives lessons, I need me some.

wannabe mom said...

you just described me.

i have my datebooks/planners from college (ca. 1993)

instead of reader's digest, i have martha stewart living magazines (shh)

and every card that anyone has ever given me for the last 10 years

i need help!

kate said...

I never know what to do with those used greeting cards. I can't bear to throw them away.

I have seen people do stuff like this and think i would love to make a bunch of those & hang them in my office. So that is why i am keeping all those greeting cards. Yes. And i am sure it will even be done. Someday. Ha ha.

(in the meantime my basement is damp -- when they get moldy i do throw them out.)

Good luck with your purging!

Blessed Mama said...

Sort of along these lines..were you ever able to find a home for your organ??
Good luck purging!

niobe said...

I love throwing things away and giving things away. My ideal would be to have a totally empty basement, but, alas, there are others in my household who have different views.

Benjing-Benjing said...

You should see my garage. I clear it out every year and bring everythign to the nearest Salvation Army.

chris a

Bon said...

i think it's amazing that you're faking it, so long as you're doing it.

when you're done, consider yourself invited to my house to unleash the zen master, if you got any leftovers.

B said...

I said to my husband that I have become terrified at time passing. It means distance between me and the people I've said goodbye to.

An old house being pulled down means that the memories it once housed are no longer important to anyone anymore. Getting new furniture means throwing away a reminder of the first time you made love on that couch.

I find it all extremely distressing. I've always been sentimental but now I am ridiculous. I just don't like to accept that new things can be more important than old.