In an effort to raise money to send my son to summer camp, I recently hosted a garage sale. Just the thought of doing all that work is probably enough to make any mom nauseated, but I also enjoy a good challenge and the feeling of a hard-earned dollar. And I’ll take any and all opportunities to clean my house and convince my husband to purge it of unnecessary things. The problem is my definition of “unnecessary” is so broad that it usually applies to anything that’s not currently in use and not moving at the time.
In an ideal world, I’d be a minimalist. I’m sure from the outside, my wardrobe indicates that I already am. I have weird rules about what I keep and what I toss or donate. Take my clothes, for example (“No, seriously! Take ’em!” lol). If I buy new clothes, I find old articles of clothing no longer useful and donate them to make room. Basically if something comes in, something must go out. It’s like Newton’s fourth law or something.
Another rule I have is that I think long-term about the item. Am I going to keep this for a couple months only to throw it away? Or is it something I see myself using often or wanting around long-term? If I’m eventually going to toss it, there’s no better time than the present. Happy trails, thing-a-ma-bob!
Also, everything needs a space. I’m not opposed to keeping things for posterity’s sake, but they must have a drawer. Or a file that’s alphabetized. Under “P” for Posterity.
Convincing hubby is the challenge, really. I don’t want to say he’s a “hoarder” — that may be a strong word. He’s not like Princess Ariel Level, but he would be if I let him. Or maybe he will be when I die (someone check on him if I go first. Look for him on A&E). He’s at least relegated his 1987 Ghostbusters Firehouse and accompanying parts to the attic. He kept it with the intention of our kids one day playing with it, but they have shown no interest.
When I used the Garage Sale ploy as an awesome opportunity to ditch it, I guess he started envisioning grandkids gathered ’round his rocking chair, merrily playing with Venkman and Slimer, thanking Paw-Paw for his infinite wisdom in keeping the timeless toy. I saw it as an easy few bucks. I lost that battle and lots of Lego model battles. (And before you start lecturing me about how much money they’ll be worth one day, they’re all in terrible shape)
I feel so out of the loop. I see lots of moms around me keeping what I think is just weird crap. My mother kept the first curl that was cut from my hair, my brother’s newborn belly button scab, and even some baby teeth whose owners she can’t identify. Gross. Throw that away. Some moms emotionally gush over onesies and can miraculously remember details like “This is the one she wore when we went to the mall for the first time! Remember? She spit up all over the collar!” Eww.
I don’t assign any sentimental value to things, maybe to a fault. When I had the garage sale, I used a Boppy Pillow for one feeding and had it outside on a table by the next. I don’t miss it. The glider that I rocked all my babies in sold for a fair amount, and now I have so much room for activities! I respect that in spite of my habit, my kids may want some of their valuables later in life, so I’ve had to create a drawer full of loveys, stuffed animals, cards, and art. I’m big on framing kids’ art (the good stuff). And I still have fancy dresses dry-cleaned, hanging in plastic hangers in closets and everything. So I’m not a total failure at sentimentality.
I do assign sentimental value to pictures, though. I’m very meticulous about printing and organizing them into chronological order and curling up on the couch with my babies to look at them, remembering our shared experiences. From family vacations to back-yard picnics, I find it practically impossible to choose which ones need to go in the albums (the sleek, practical albums). They all belong. Every picture of everything we ever did. And, best of all: they take up very little space!
When people ask what I’d grab if the house caught fire, it’d be the photo albums. The Ghostbusters Firehouse can ironically go up in flames with no love lost.