Trash or Treasure

trash or treasureIn a recent post, I mentioned that I have been prepping to have a tag sale. I’m not exactly looking forward to the event itself, but I am certainly looking forward to cleaning a bunch of stuff out of my home. For several weeks, I have sorted through virtually every nook, cranny, and closet of our house. My basement, which is the holding cell for all things tagged, now looks like a discount retailer’s bargain bin… or, perhaps, an episode of Hoarders. I am a bit aghast that all of that “junk” has been somehow hiding in a house that has very little storage space. I’m beginning to believe that in a past life I was a pack rat.

With only a couple of weeks left, I have come to the point where I must enlist my husband’s assistance in the sorting. Predominately because the areas left to sort contain mostly his accumulations. When I walk into the garage or his workshop, I don’t even know what I’m looking at, let alone whether these are things to be kept or sold. So in order to remain happily married, I must get his input.

Throughout this process, I have determined that we are all collectors for different reasons. Perhaps like any typical Real Woman, I tend to collect items based on emotional attachment. If something has any sort of memory attached to it, I hesitate to get rid of it, even if I haven’t used it or even looked at it for years. For my husband, however, his collections have far more to do with some sort of perceived value. Today, as a matter of fact, he came home with a set of “perfectly good” stereo speakers that someone else was getting rid of. Do we need a set of speakers? No. But in his world, that isn’t the point. If something can be fixed, repaired, or just plain flipped, he’s all in. I believe his secret desire is to travel with Mike and Frank from American Pickers.

Although I have been working on the tag sale sorting for weeks, I thought it best to ease my husband into the process today with something fairly easy: the closet in the basement. Besides being a catch-all for an assortment of oddities, the majority of the content of that closet was a variety of media: books, photo albums, music CD’s, movies, and even record albums. We both easily agreed to just throw away the stacks of VHS tapes. Yes, it’s true, we still had several. I did, however keep one. It is the video of my first wedding. I didn’t keep it to stroll down the memory lane of my first marriage (much to the relief of my husband), but because I know there are loved ones on that tape who are no longer with us — including my parents. For that reason alone, it is worth getting it converted to something watchable.

Next we moved on to our CD’s. I separated them into two piles, his and mine. We each sorted through and filled a box with those we no longer care to keep. Then we moved on to DVD’s. My husband was on a roll now, and was quick to dismiss several movies which I had to pull back out of the pile. Imagine, he was going to toss away Pretty Woman and The Heat.   No self-respecting R.W. tosses out classic Chick Flicks.

When we filled the box to be tagged, I took a quick look and had to laugh. The whole box looks to be an Ode to the 80’s.   It may as well have a neon sign with the title “Middle-Aged Couple Cleaned Out a Closet.”

One of my BFF’s has been reading a book about getting organized and simplifying your life. I of course find it hysterical that she is reading the book, as she loves to be organized. I swear she carries a label maker in her purse and has stock in The Container Store. It would be like Jennifer Aniston reading a book about how to be beautiful.   Nevertheless, she has shared with me a few interesting tidbits from this book, one of which is the theory that the only “stuff” we should keep is stuff that brings us joy. If something doesn’t bring us joy, out it goes. Hmmm. Interesting.

I think on some level, this makes sense. But for someone like me, I think that can be a dangerous premise. As I sit here in my home office, I look around at the “stuff” I have surrounding me. It is all here because it brings me joy. I have tons of photos of family and friends, words about creativity and motivation, and memorabilia from past events. I have antique items inherited from my parents on my bookshelf. I have two shelves loaded with my finished scrapbooks. I have a bulletin board littered with notes, reminders and ideas for the books I’m writing. I have an odd assortment of small trinkets lined up on my desk, each one meaning something to me. For me, I find joy in a whole lot of little things that can easily lead to clutter.

This is why I know that after the tag sale is over, and I have basked in the extra space in my basement, closets and garage, I will also realize that my house is far from empty. I’m sure there is much more I could clean out. Someone else could wonder if I ever got rid of anything in the first place.

But to me, I’ll be down to the bare basics. My husband will still have his best great “picks” stored in Man’s World, and I will still have things like a tiny metal elephant on my desk that used to be my Dad’s. A life of minimalism is just not in our genetic make up.

However, with luck, our tag sale will be successful and we will live up to the quote that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”   And with even more luck, my husband won’t come home with more great deals, and I won’t fall in love with more trinkets and home décor…

Well, at least for a week or so.



About Real Women

A "real woman" mom, wife, worker, friend, sister, daughter....
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