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Ridding your house of the what if stuff

Linda Wilk

Let the sorting, decluttering and minimizing begin.

Over the next two weeks, Laura, Marissa and then Andrea will be heading off to school.

Our pool table room that has housed Laura’s apartment items including a leather couch, kitchen table, dresser, clothes, book shelf, futon, boxes of books and various other household items will be going to Milwaukee with Laura this weekend. Also, a coffee table from my parents’ house, which cleared the way for my mom to have space for the recliner that dad only used for a couple hours. Mom has decided to keep the recliner finding it a nice place to sit and relax.

Marissa spent the better part of an afternoon just sorting through her T-shirts, soccer socks, and other clothes, deciding which ones she is willing to part with and where to take them.

A drawer full of decent soccer socks made its way to an Oak Hill Girls Soccer practice to see if any current player wanted any of the socks. Marissa also found two practice shirts, along with Physical Education shirts each of the girls wore their freshman year at school. Of course, there were also St. James Lutheran Church Vacation Bible School T-shirts from the past 15 years.

On Tuesday, the dorm sized refrigerator that my parents brought from their house when they came for Andrea and Marissa’s graduation will go to Purdue with Marissa.

That will then allow for the three drawer plastic craft container that has items the girls haven’t used for years be placed back in the kitchen from the bathroom.

Or, if I could just stop thinking that someday we might use the drawer of crayons in varying lengths and colors, or the random pieces of felt and construction paper, to name just a couple items it holds, that too could go.

I blame my parents for that tendency in me to hang on to things for that what if day.

While we truly did clean out and throw away a lot of things from my parent’s house when I was home in June, there remains, so much more that needs to go. When I was home, we didn’t even touch the wood shop shed that my dad had. One walk in and I walked right back out, shutting and locking the door behind me.

The last time my dad was in his shop was the day my mom had her stroke in March. He commented more than once after that as we went to the hospital to see my mom that if someone had to go in and sort through his shed it would not be an easy task. That comment came as my sister, brother and I had spent an afternoon cleaning out my parents’ fridge and decluttering the kitchen. I think he felt a little bit guilty as we joked about all mom had in the fridge including old corsages.

The task of cleaning out the wood shed will be something we will probably do this summer as we decide what to do with all his wood, craftsman tools etc.

As we worked through my parents’ garage, there were things I just had to laugh about. Like why would my mom not keep a stack of napkins from my 1994 wedding reception, - who knows maybe Larry and I can use them for our 50th wedding anniversary. Or three plastic tubs of paper plates, napkins, plastic silverware and cups, that I am confident were forgotten each camping season so additional paper products were bought.

Some of it is still too fresh to throw away or give away. I find that here in my own home too.

The plus and minus of having a full-sized attic where you can tuck things away to sort through another day.

In that attic are all kinds of the girls’ toys, along with a stove, sink and refrigerator that Larry built for the girls and that someday if we have grandchildren will likely come down to be played with. We also have lots of hot wheels and other toys from Larry’s childhood. (No rush on the grandchildren thought – I want nothing more than to see all three of our girls graduate from college and start their career, before a thought of a family enters their minds)

Yet, why am I still holding on to these things. I suppose in part because there is so much, where would we take it all or how can we possibly find the space in our trash can to toss it. Also, because it is out of sight, so out of mind.

And, because emotionally, I am just not ready to part with the items. Or, as others who have college students know, until your child gets settled in that first or second house, they legitimately don’t have the space to keep their high school memorabilia, and in Laura’s case their college architecture models.

So, as the girls’ sort through their things and we begin the downsizing process, I will do my best to take their lead and work to rid our house of some of those what if we need them one day things.