23 June 2010

Letting Go

There's nothing like a flooded basement and its subsequent reorganizing to help one sift through the accumulated crap on one's life.

The entire storage/laundry/husband office area has been in need of cleaning up and cleaning out. Today was the day. Please note the vital statistics:

80 - dollars spent on plastic storage
3 - hours spent on project

Hot Spot #1: Craft Shelving Unit. We had used various items to complete art projects throughout the year...we'd put none of it back in the right spot. Puff balls, styrofoam balls, and paintbrushes were scattered, willy-nilly. The CSU looked as if it had thrown up yarn, pipe cleaners, and glue sticks. Within forty-five minutes, this area was sifted, cleaned, separated and labeled.

Hot Spot #2: Another free-standing shelving unit that could only be described as "Household Potpourri". Light bulbs, painting equipment, the Kirby vacuum attachments, soapmaking items, etc. Again, a half-hour later rendered a much neater, nicer multi-purpose unit. Significant changes here include disposing of the soapmaking materials (a phase I went through about six years ago) and rearranging of the paint roller skeletons/drop cloths/painter's tape.

Hot Spot #3: The huge free-standing, hand-built (by previous owners) shelves which contained most of the crap that had survived the move from Minnesota to Iowa nearly five years ago. Items of interest include:

* Relics from high school and college times (both Brent and I)
* Our wedding unity candle
* Iowa State butt cushions
* Luggage
* Newspapers from significant events like our children's birthdays, September 11, and January 1, 2000.
* Diaries
* Baby books
* Educational materials from student teaching

Now, I am a keeper to a certain extent, but mostly I'm a pitcher. My husband, on the other hand, will keep nearly everything.

He insisted on keeping the entire newspaper from each of our children's births (not a local, small-town rag, I might add here). In the end, I threw out everything but the City/Region section, which included the kids' birth announcement as well as a sampling of the top stories in the area - for posterity's sakes. Then, he disdained the newspapers we'd kept the three or so days after the WTC bombing. Now, these I fought for...and won. I mean, from a journalistic standpoint, the front page headlines were "DISBELIEF" and "TERROR FROM THE SKIES" with tremendous photos of the bombing aftermath...when in history have we ever seen headlines like this?

Eventually, Brent sought refuge elsewhere, especially after I asked (implored/impelled) him to relocate his high school artifacts to a plastic tote (previously stored in a damp cardboard box). I also might have suggested he go through the box and get rid of unnecessaries...I mean, I was just trying to help, why be so touchy?

However, events were in motion; I was on the trash warpath. Math tests I'd kept since college found a new home in the garbage, as did several graduate school booklets. Folders containing schoolwork from high school were pitched. Old picture frames, too. Still, a significant amount of mementos remain, which were then packed into clear plastic totes and labeled appropriately.

In the end, three totally full black garbage made it to the garage, along with roughly ten cardboxes of various size on its way to recycling.

At the end of this very satisfying day, I am reminded of Albert Einstein's Three Rules of Work:

1. Out of clutter find simplicity.
2. From discord find harmony.
3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

So, so, so, so, so true.

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