The Move So Far

As a young person, there may be a kind of adventurous spirit to moving. But having raised a family in a big house where you’ve lived for 20 years, it’s much more of a seemingly impossible task.

After years of neglect, it’s time to pick up and consider every item in the place because you’re not just moving down the block, but well down the Atlantic seaboard.

Which of your books will you need to read again (or just have on hand)? Ditto with CDs – could you listen to all these if you wanted to? Love letters of yore presented a special case: How could handwritten expressions of affection ever be tossed, no matter how outdated and inaccurate the sentiment?

Going through boxes of letters really started slowing down the process of cleaning things out. If the letters were going to be kept, which ones? And based on what? Whatever it is, they still have to be read, for the first time in decades. But how else to decide what to keep and what to toss?

Having cleared out my dad’s house a couple years back, we stumbled upon every letter he got and every letter he wrote – courtesy of cabon paper copies. What to save and what to save for the archives? (Just a couple key examples, it turned out).

And don’t get me started on childrens’ school work.

When the paint is fresh, every one of their paintings seem a masterpiece. Years later a decision has to be made: Which are the best? Which can be tossed?

Furniture, clothes and kitchen items all have to be similarly considered and ruthlessly eliminated if need be. But the personal items will mess with your head.

Just about the only tag sale I could get interested in was one of all-Elvis. It wouldn’t bring in a lot of money or even clear out a lot of stuff, but I liked the audacity of its single-mindedness.

I had enough Elvis stuff that I had doubles or overflow; then my aunt, doing her own downsizing, decided to send me boxes of her Elvis collection. Together they made up an impressive – though baffling to some people – display.

At the inevitable Regular Items tag sale a couple of weeks later, the Elvis leftovers constituted its own table.

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