My Stuff, Your Junk

No matter what, Mark and I are moving into a smaller house. That part is clear. So we need to clear out some of what I fondly refer to as our Stuff. When I was traveling last week, Mark told me sternly that we needed to declutter. I agreed.

“My name is Johanna and I have a problem with books.” When I was six years old, I tried to run away from home, but I couldn’t. My books didn’t fit into my suitcase. I was stuck at home. (This is a true story.)

I have had a book problem my entire life. Well, I don’t really think of my addiction as a problem. Thank goodness we now have ebooks. My problem has gone underground, or to the bits.

However, Mark has a different problem. We have everything the children ever made us. Every card. Every homemade gift. Every Father’s Day card. If Mark got to them, every Mother’s Day card. Every Happy Birthday card, every Happy Anniversary card.

Daughter #1 is 23. Daughter #2 is 19. Daughter #2 made a Beanie Baby village when she was 4 or 5, which is in the attic. It had pools and couches and multiple stories. It is in the attic in the same shape as when it was created. Last night, on the phone, my beleaguered husband complained, “We don’t have to get rid of the Beanie Baby village, do we?”

Well, what am I going to say to that? “Yes, we do?” I’m the Ice Queen, but I’m not that much of an Ice Queen. I said we could keep that. I did say we had to get rid of the rock in plexiglass.

When our synagogue underwent renovation, we donated money. In return, we got a rock in plexiglass. Now, we live in New England, in Massachusetts. We don’t grow grass or flowers here. We don’t grow vegetables or blueberries. We grow rocks. In fact, our house is perched on ledge. Every spring, more rocks show up in the yard. If Mark really wanted a rock, all he had to do was go into the yard and pick one up. I would have bought some plexiglass.

I know, it’s the sentiment of the thing. He could have left it at the synagogue. He could have given it to someone else. He could have thrown it out. No, it’s sitting next to some wonderful pictures of the girls. A rock.

I bet this happens to everyone who downsizes.  It doesn’t matter which one of us is talking. I think we are going to need a professional.

Because it’s clearly my Stuff and your Junk.

5 thoughts on “My Stuff, Your Junk”

  1. haha Johanna,

    I could come for a few days over and throw away your stuff and you come to my house to throw away my stuff…
    Check out my presentation (agile & lean mindset) . it contains a part about YAGNI (you ain’t gonna need it) with a picture of what we took to Bordeaux. A nice reduction of our hous eto one truck.

    That is slide 17 and then have a look at slide 18. that is what 2 friends of mine needed to live around the world for 1 year.

  2. My daughter and I just moved. We had / have a lot of stuff. I laughed and remembered our conversations about “Your Junk!! MY STUFF!!!” so very true.

  3. Is it ever the truth! I wonder if you and Mark will end up keeping those historical treasures your kids are the same age you and I are now – which is what my mom has done! Just a couple of weeks ago, she carefully handed me a large, heart-shaped finger painting I made for Valentine’s Day – in first-grade. Note what she said: “Here, can you do something with this? I don’t have room for it anymore!” Not, “please throw this out” or “I’m going to throw this out, and I hope you won’t be offended since you probably don’t even remember it.” So, now it’s in my study closet.
    As for books, there’s nothing like moving into a smaller place to force a library downsizing, but it’s tough. I believe your story about the books and the suitcase. Many years ago, I had to move from a town home into an apartment, and had very little time to pack. It meant giving away at least a third of my books, and it felt like an evisceration. Yeah, okay, I hadn’t looked at those music theory textbooks from college in ages anyway. But giving away books to me has always felt like giving away people. It just doesn’t feel right. I don’t think I’ve been much help here. Sorry!

  4. Kathleen,

    My parents did something similar a few years back. Tehy asked me (and my siblings) to look at all my stuff from school. I spend on our look at the boxes. Then I told them to throw everything away.
    This experience has helped me to keep less of drawings from my children.

  5. Pingback: Is Anyone Using This? | Create An Adaptable Life

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