Letting Go Part 1

2 Feb

I am a packrat. I’ve been a packrat most of my life so this isn’t a new announcement. I wasn’t born in the Great Depression era where you used something up or wore it out but I subscribe to the principle. I’ve always supported the practice of conserving and recycling as much as possible.  I’ve never liked the idea of throwing something away just because you were tired of it. The fruit jars are washed and packed away for the next batch of peaches or tomatoes. I use up the leftovers in the refrigerator to make a great soup. I make quilts from old fabric scraps.

This idea of recycling continues with remodeling projects.  If I am tearing out a kitchen, I’ll try to salvage the cabinets to use for garage storage or I’ll offer them on free cycle so someone else can use them. Old fixtures or appliances are listed on Craig’s list or placed by the street with a free sign. I always find a need for surplus wood scraps or tile or trim. So I have a collection of the remains from previous projects waiting for their next use or a new home.   Some items are big and some are small but all are carefully stacked. I know it is time to let them go. It really is time to let them go. That is all of them except the extra tiles I’ve already moved to Texas and the thick wooden planks waiting for the next trip. I know just where they will be used in the new house, at least I think I do.

6 Responses to “Letting Go Part 1”

  1. teadleagain February 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM #

    I have a feeling most will go with you to Texas….but that is what makes you , YOU!!!!

    • compterteach February 3, 2012 at 5:32 AM #

      Actually I won’t be moving as much as you might think. I did cheat when we moved everything that was in the carport I never unpacked for here. I had, however, actually found a place for it there. I am seriously setting things aside for the 1st of many garage sales. Of our motorcycle gear all but 1 helmet and my bike are gone. Know of anyone who wants to buy a candy apple red really fast scooter? It is past time for letting it go.

  2. gramajan February 2, 2012 at 1:55 PM #

    I’m a life-long packrat too, descended from a long line of packrats. I balance that by being quick to give away anything I can spare that someone else’s needs. I hate to see anything useful wasted, and will make an effort to find a good home for anything that can be reused or recycled.

    When my brother and I cleared out Mom’s house before moving to Washington, we gave away stuff by the truckloads, and finally got so burnt out on decision-making that we brought a lot with us. I’m still dealing with that, as well as with possessions abandoned by my children. Because the “junk” from Mom’s house included over 100 years worth of photos, letters, and assorted memorabilia, I’ve been reluctant to get rid of any of it without careful consideration. I’ve become the family historian by default. At least I’ll never run out of projects.

    One nice bonus to my Dad’s saving everything: his father used to buy Coke syrup (the big cans meant for soda fountains) and bottle his own soft drinks. We had four (empty) syrup cans in pristine condition, in the original box. My son put them on Ebay for us, and even after splitting with him we had more than enough left over to pay for our gas for the trip to Washington. We kept the bottle capper for the family museum. Being a packrat has its compensations.

    • compterteach February 3, 2012 at 5:23 AM #

      Grief counselors do say that you should not make major decisions too soon after a loss. I’m sure the decisions as you cleaned out your mother’s house would qualify. I will keep this in mind as I work on the sorting over the next 5 months. I do like that somethings are both safely stored for a following generation and loving used by that generation when I ship things to your daughter. Neither of my sons seem to be interested in those family treasures, but the granddaughters can know the story because you raised their mom with a respect for that history. Thank you. (If you want to know the trick: put the things in a box, ship it and then tell her you did so 🙂

  3. nhowardwenatchee February 4, 2012 at 9:19 AM #

    My parents both had to leave their home of 55 years. And that home is full of 55 years worth of saving things that might one day be useful. Now my brothers and I are staring at 3000 sq. feet of stuff none of us wants. The term “dumpster” comes up in most conversations. We are also trying to find out if either the Wenatchee YWCA or the Yakima WYCA will lay claim to Ellensburg as being in their territory. If so, they have an estate sale service. They come in and tag and gather and sort and then have their famous sales all summer. Given the incredible work the YWCA’s do, we are inclined to offer them 100% of the proceeds for doing the work we cannot. Just a thought when you get down to the wire this summer and….

    • compterteach February 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM #

      But your parents spent those 55 years surrounded by the things they loved or that involved memories of the 3 of you growing up. Even if they had cleaned out everything that they didn’t actually need each year, you and your brothers would still be faced with clearing out their home. I hope you are able to have the YMCA come in. In Aberdeen, we made friends with the mother and daughter who handled the estate sale for our seller. They were very good at their jobs. I’m sure that our children will find someone for our house in Texas but for me now, it is not yet that time.

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