We’ve been tracking the weather report for the past few days hoping for clear skies and cool temps, a perfect environment for cleaning out the make-shift storage area under our house. In no time, Tim managed to pull out all sorts of containers and the hidden clutter was now on display for the entire neighborhood. I took a poncho liner and laid it out on the yard declaring this was my “donate” pile, a hint picked up from TLC’s Clean Sweep. A good tactic, in theory, but as I started to open boxes and sift through old junk, the blanket became a great spot to set up Spotify and carefully consider the little treasures left behind by our kids.
I have a pretty good handle on what to keep (jewelry, campaign souvenirs, significant sports achievements) and what to toss (old bank statements, exam quiz questions, packages of gum). I plowed through kids’ boxes, party supplies,Christmas decor, seasonal decor, household decor, gardening items, craft supplies. Increasingly proud of my efforts, I placed bright green stickers labeled with the contents and handed the boxes off to Tim. My efficiency ceased when I discovered that all that was left were three ginormous Rubbermaid totes crammed with 15 years’ worth of stuffed animals. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve gone through the animal bins. But this is our first move without little ones at home so it’s time to say Adios to a few of the lesser animals. Goodbye Beenie Babies of all types and color, kangaroo with the stained ear, cheap versions of the classic teddy bear and free tiger that i don’t remember being in anyone’s bed. I was able to jam our “revised” collection back into three bins…not exactly progress but somehow I felt like I’d retaken some ground! These favorites brightened my day:
- The dirty baby doll with chopped hair and a grimy mouth from too many real food encounters at breakfast.
- Snoopy, in all sizes and outfits. Lauren’s favorite stuffed animal, even though Lilly likes him more!
- Two teddy bears in Army uniforms and maroon berets. Given to the oldest girls when their dad became a paratrooper
- One bin full of Build-A-Bear friends. How could we ever give away an animal who has a heart inside that each kid personally blew on and gave a silent wish for everlasting friendship?
By 1pm, Tim and I had the mini-van packed with items for Goodwill and the local dump. It was a busy day at the dump–lots of neighbors dropping off their junk and everyone leaving with big smiles and a friendly wave. “I feel 100 pounds lighter!” someone commented; and it’s probably true.
This morning I asked Lilly how she liked the clean garage. she took a slow inventory of the space and said, “Well, this actually looks like clutter to me.”
In a month, all the storage bins along with our household goods will be on a truck ready for a new home in California. I’m looking forward to adding to our collection of memories and finding a special place to store them–alongside the dirty baby doll and faded photo albums.