Last Saturday, as the rain poured down outside, my husband and I decided to tackle one of the the items on our housekeeping bucket list – organizing the attic. Yes, it would have been more fun to lounge around the house in our PJs eating grilled cheese sandwiches and watching old movies, but this chore was on our list for awhile and we thought it was a good time to check another thing off the list.
Since we have a finished basement, our attic has become the catch-all for anything that we don’t know what to do with – along with holiday decorations and mementos from our high school and college years, we store anything and everything that we don’t want to toss or donate up there. After living in our home for more than nine years, it’s become a maze of clear plastic bins piled precariously on top of each other. We decided that a rainy Saturday was prime time to get organized.
You never know what you’re going to uncover when you start a project like this. Opening those bins and rummaging through our son’s baby clothes and toddler toys was surprising – we felt a equal parts nostalgic and bewildered… kind of like, awwww, that’s so cute…but why did we keep most of this stuff? I was honestly kind of shocked by the lack of attachment I felt to things that seemed so important at the time that I simply could not part with them. Did I really need to keep every tiny onesie and miniscule baby sock? Probably not. What about the crib bumper, sheet set, and yes, even the actual crib…we were not going to be using that again. Did I need to keep several bins filled with stick figure artwork and construction paper covered in dried glue? No, a few representative pieces would do. Pre-school report cards? Won’t be needing those. “Just-for-showing-up” soccer trophies were meaningless even to our son who wasn’t interested in hanging on to them.
Even more interesting than the things we got rid of were the things that we kept – notably an entire bin of picture books that we used to read to our son, each one was special and had some wonderful, loving memories attached, the Thomas the Tank Engine tracks and trains that would wind through our living room, and a blanket that my nieces sewed for their new baby cousin with stitches so big and uneven that the stuffing fell out. Those things were worthy of taking up the precious space in our attic.
My guess is that like the stages of growing up, once you pass through them, you’re ready to let go of all the stuff that goes along with it. Twelve bags of garbage and a trip to Goodwill and the town dump lighter, we’re now ready to move on to another stage…and thinking twice about what we decide to take along on our journey.