Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Stuff

Two Saturdays ago we opened the garage for a sale. Three hours only.

It was a flip decision. It sounded fun*. And necessary.
*(It sounded fun before I discovered that we would be moving the following week, but by the time that happened, I was already armpits-deep in vintage linens and McCoy pottery.)

See, I'm the product of a hoarder and a purger. I'm also the middle child, so you can imagine the quandary I find myself in when it comes to hanging on vs. letting go.

I don't like clutter. But I also rather enjoy the feeling of ultra-preparedness.

And now, an anecdote: From the ages of 13-15, I was scary-obsessed with Teen Magazine. Though money was always tight back then, my mom understood that Caboodles and Shine Free make-up and modeling contests and those weird hot rollers made out of bendy purple foam were my love language, so she got me a subscription. I never did have most of the things I pined for, but I did have the mags, so I could pretend all I wanted.

I wore those suckers out.

I kept every issue, cataloged by date on my rickety bookshelf.

I had big plans to pass them on to my Someday Daughters, so I hung on to them.

Then I went off to college...and the purger found them hiding under my bed.

To say that I was fiercely devastated and eternally aghast would be an understatement. How would I ever show my Someday Daughters the hot pink, asymmetrical, ruffled, one-shouldered prom of my dreams? What if they needed a diagram on how to perfect the perfect shaded eye (circa 1990)?

So, years later, "the incident" still fresh in my mind, I bought a stack on Ebay. They have someone else's mailing address stamped on the fronts, but they are mine in spirit.

Now, you may wonder what this has to do with my garage sale, and I'm sort of wondering myself.

All I can tell you is that it is freeing with a capital FREE to decide that it simply is not in you to box and haul 3 different sets of vintage china and tens upon twenties of milkglass vases to your next stop in life. I started purging with reckless abandon.

I looked on with great fondness and just a tinge of wistfulness as my things found new homes.

Now, we're here in the rental with so much stuff still sitting boxed in the basement, "in storage" until we make our next move.

It's already got both of us thinking that if we don't need it between now and then, we probably just don't need it at all.

I love collecting. I love the thrill of the hunt. I love flea markets and rusty junk. I like unexpected treasures, especially when they're dirt cheap. I will always love these things.

But I am done hoarding. I'm done saving for a rainy day or for that vintage yard party that I never did throw.

The box of Teen magazines? They're still with me, "in storage", because a girl's got her limits.

I'd better find a reason to dig them out, and quick.

Now, it's your turn. What is the craziest thing that you're saving for a rainy day? We want the dirt.

*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.