Before we moved, I maniacally cleared out, well, everything. If it wasn’t useful or extremely sentimental – and especially if I knew it had no place to GO, it was sold or donated.
We did a pretty good job. I brought one, small box of books, and one, small box of truly personal items. The kids had cleared out their toys and books and arrived here with what they needed, sans clutter. There’s an old saying that there should always be an empty cabinet in a house, and, for the most part, everyone has that, in spades. So, gold star for everyone! What we face now is the remaining stuff – the stuff that lingers. Memories of people no longer here. Books. Way too many books. And pictures. Endless amounts of pictures.
Here’s the thing. When I was cleaning out this house, going through cabinets upon cabinets stuffed full of cards, and napkins, and pictures, and mementos, and everything else imaginable, it struck me that someone would be doing this (hopefully years from now) for MY things. Rifling through pictures of people the kids may never recognize, remnants of times that, upon my death, will have very little meaning, almost instantaneously. The things that are left behind are a trail, an insight, but a burden.
I don’t want that. For me – or anyone who has to deal with it after me.
I don’t want things sitting in boxes in the garage. If they are in the garage, they shouldn’t be kept. At some point, time has passed, and grief lessens, and wounds heal. So, I guess first we let go of the person, then we let go of all but the most important things.
It’s the pictures that are currently crushing me. There are easily six, crammed boxes of pictures – unorganized. Not kidding. And I don’t mean shoe boxes. I know I don’t want them in the garage, but I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’m not sure what to keep and what not to. I could probably organize them after a time – but … putting them in albums? Does anyone do that anymore? What a herculean effort that will be.
If you have ideas, rules of thumb, or suggestions – I AM ALL EARS.
The lesson here to me, in the form of a two-by-four, is from now on… all pictures will be organized or labeled. Somehow.
The upside to this (because there always is an upside, right?) is that there ARE pictures. For all the digital-ness of today, looking through actual pictures is still meaningful. The kids still like it. I know there are pictures, never taken, that I wish I had, so maybe, in the end, this will be some sort of, I don’t know, gift?
We’ll go with that. We will slowly go with that.
P.S. If you are itching for a few sneak peeks of rooms, you can find them on Instagram, along with other assorted shenanigans. I’m trying to shoot some actual pictures in the next few days. Stay tuned!