Chasing Inspiration

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Scaling Back

I never want to leave unorganized crap behind for someone else to deal with. Grieving the lose of someone you love is hard enough without compounding it with having to go through every piece of their life and decide is it garbage or is it a treasure worth keeping.

After my FIL died, my husband and I spent a lot of time at the family home. His stepmom wanted to get the house ready to sell and sell quickly. My husband spent most of his life before marriage in this house, as did two of his three siblings. You would think the house would have been full of family keepsakes. It wasn't. At least not those types of keepsakes. You see, his dad and step-mom had been prepping to downsize for a few years and had culled the home of the children's possessions.

No, we didn't go through old yearbooks and arts and crafts. We went through years of documents my FIL had kept from EVERY JOB HE EVER WORKED! Every church directory that ever crossed his path. Reel-to-reel audio tapes we can't even listen to because he kept the tapes but not the equipment. Ten computers, most of which were so out of date no one wants them. Plus, every last piece of computer software the man ever installed. Or purchased. Or received free in cereal boxes or from AOL. I kid you not. We tossed so much crap from this house. And that's just his stuff. My step-MIL also had books, cookbooks, paper products, exercise videos and paraphernalia, doodads, knick knacks, fake plants.

And then there were the items from the shop. Tools, yes. But not always tools in good condition. Pieces of wire and tubing that were too small to be of any use. Vacuum tubes. Half used caulk and glue. Baby food jars filled with nuts, bolts, screws, nails and more bits of wire.

It took us six weekends to clean out the junk, decide what was valuable and help his step mom set up an estate sale. I'm talking 8 hour days or longer. And while I loved my FIL, the amount of crap he clung to made me itch.

I am a packrat. I get what it is to want to cling to something. Part of this comes from the fear of what if I need it in the future. What if I need that document? Or that book? Or that pice of wire that is less than two inches long? Part of this is laziness. I have better things to do with my time than to make sure everything is organized and put away. No one goes into the office anyway, so what why not let everything pile up? I have a file cabinet, why not stuff it full?

But man, after last fall, I'm less inclined to want to have all this stuff. I took a week off from work over Christmas and during that time I went through all my books and Goodwill is now the proud owner of over 100 of my books. Last month I cleaned out my closet. Twice. The file cabinet is more organized than it's been in years and those piles of papers that were squatting in various rooms and on various surfaces have been evicted.

I really don't want to die and leave a mess to someone else. I guess what I want is a simpler life with less stuff. I won't ever be a minimalist, but I can scale back and know that only the things that matter surround me. I think it's time to bring back Operation Office Downsize and maybe expand it further. Yes, I think that is a very good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment