The three problems:
1. When I was a kid and my parents, who were pastors, moved us around a lot (from saving troubled churches to planting churches to church-interventions and back), each time we arrived at our new, but temporary home, I was like an Etch-a-Sketch that had been recently shaken like the dickens. It took all of 15 minutes to set up the bed and put our underwear-filled drawers in place. But books? Toys? Prized schoolwork? Gone, all gone – wiped clean, left behind, a history erased.
Now some may say this was a good way for a fresh start, but it affected me in ways I am only recently coming to understand. When we left Des Moines when I was 10 and my dad (whose space can never be messy because there is nothing to be messy, AND he is known to have a garage floor you could operate on) threw away my Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, a treasured book from my grandma, it seemed lost forever. Imagine my delight when, in my early marriage I discovered a copy of the exact printing of it at a garage sale for a quarter. I bought it! Retrieved history, right? The problem is I now have 7 copies as I ever search for the best one. You can see this is a sickness.
It affected me this way with my kids: I have wanted to save every stinking doodle they ever made, every gift they ever received, every story they ever wrote. I never wanted them to feel they'd lost something important, so I have spent a good many years organizing and filling neatly stacked and labeled totes. My husband indulged this because he didn't want our kids to feel the uprootedness I had often experienced. (I've written before about keeping my children's "treasures.")
2. But my husband Dave was raised by depression-era parents. They'd married during WWII and had their 4 kids and were finished, but adopted my husband when their "baby" was 8 1/2 years old. They saved everything, and I mean everything, in preparation, it almost seemed for another depression. Nearly crumbling boxes filled with newspaper-wrapped and rubber-banded items were stuffed in to and falling out of every closet and garage and basement nook and cranny. "You just might need it someday," was the unwritten motto.
This translates into our garage – anything you might possibly need for absolutely anything – there is a 99.987% chance Dave has it.
3. Then the two of us, with these odd and polar-opposite experiences came together and received, as a wedding present, a cross-stitch pattern (which I never made, BTW) that said, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without," and as if we had our very own slogan, 2 new "frugals" were born. We relished a deal and being imaginative and using things for something other than they were originally intended. We were lauded for our artistic creativity, we relished our ingenius (if we do say so ourselves) style.
The new problem:
I am sick of it all. I hate totes and organizers are the devil. They don't really organize stuff, they just make you think they do.
But now- I have grandkids doodling, for crying out loud! Whatever will I do!?!
God, show me what is worth saving and leaving for some one else to have to deal with! Ha!…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Spend more time making new memories and less organizing the old.