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.
- Overconstraining the Problem
- End of One Illusion: No Safe Place