Cleaning Out My Closet

Juliette has made cleaning out the office closet one of her summer projects, which meant that this past weekend I had the opportunity to go through some boxes that I haven't opened in probably five years.

I always love these little trips down memory lane, rediscovering all the little treasures from my past. Being able to touch them, having a physical connection, always brings back the associated memories much more strongly than just thinking about them.

For example, there's the rocks that I found under the deck at the cabin my family used to rent in Tahoe every year. Turning them over in my hands, I remember how fascinated I was by the flat orange color on the top and the clear, ice-like crystal structure on the bottom. More, I remember the bite of the cold air in my nose, the crunch of snow under my feet, and the layer of pine needles and fir cones that littered the ground under the deck.

I especially enjoy it when these little forays into my "treasure boxes" turn up things I thought I'd lost. I actually let out a little cry of joy when I found a big stack of old RPG manuals and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles graphic novels that I thought had been lost or donated years ago.

On the other hand, there's also a certain embarassment that comes with some of the things I find. I have a tendency toward being a packrat, and why I save some things baffles even me. A selection of some of the useless or forgotten things I don't know why I saved:

  • A mostly full box of perfectly good staples, tucked in between some old harmonicas instead of, you know, being put into a stapler.
  • My "Intro to Systems Engineering" notebook, completely blank.
  • Ten or twelve rolls of old Pez, most of which weren't even still packaged with their dispensers.
  • An old micro-butane torch I bought for a project for my high school physics class, long since empty and broken.
  • A bunch of empty cigarette lighters.
  • A giant pile of old homework, some of which dated back to my freshman year of high school.
  • A 1985 nickel.
  • A green permanent marker that looked like it was about 15 years old, completely dry.

I started having flashes of those hoarder interventions you see on TV, with the host aghast at the piles of garbage and the hoarder breaking down in tears saying "I don't know why I kept it!" I shuddered and made a silent vow never to become one of those people. Not that Juliette would ever let that happen, anyway. But still.

Anything I found that I couldn't remember at all and had no immediate use, I tossed. I actually even got rid of some stuff I did remember, deciding that I didn't really need it or wasn't going to use it. By the time I was done, I'd cut my pile of stuff by almost half.

This is a big step, people. I may actually turn into a grown-up yet.



Right on. I love getting rid of crap!