Parting with "stuff", make room for real "little treasures"

I’m unsure what to title this post yet. I usually write my main text then choose a title anyway. I have a few options in my mind: change happens, live with it; or parenting: growing up; or goodbye childhood memories; or out with the old; or chucking things out; or changing room; or cleaning out the closet; or.. I don’t really know yet.

Corey and I have bought Alexis a bed. Not just a bed, in fact, a bedroom suite. That little girl is going to be decked out with such stylish furniture, I am secretly quite jealous. I will keep the details to myself for now, because it hasn’t arrived yet. The reason I mention this though is that it has fastened our attempts at combining the contents of the study and spare room into one room. My parents are coming tomorrow to help us move the furniture, so the room is clear when Alexis’ furniture is ready. By all reports it will take close to a month to get her new furniture but while we have time (the long weekend) we are going to make the most of it.

Let’s set the scene with some background information.

I started mentally preparing this situation almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant. Seriously, I was hassling Corey about it 10 minutes after I peed on the stick. “Where are we going to put Alexis?… We are going to need a new car.” I am a planner. Yes I am a worrier but I’m trying to give it up. I like to think about things, visualise things, take time to mull over things before I go for it. Corey is an avoider who can suddenly turn into road runner. He likes to avoid the prospect until the very last minute and then just suddenly snap into life and get it all done incredibly quickly. Corey can’t stand me doing the hypothetical scenarios for weeks on end. My dad, well quite often I think Corey must be the biological son and I must be the in-law. My dad and Corey are quite similar (eek). Dad is a “do-er” through and through (although he would say he is not an avoider). When dad gets an idea in his head he is like a steam engine, he plows through until he gets it done in barely any time at all. Dad is incredibly efficient, and he leaves me freaking out in his tracks. I say it’s because I like to make sure that once we do it we will only have to do it once. “Do it right the first time” is not such a dumb motto (although not a good one for someone who wanted to be a scientist!). So Corey and I have been preparing, the best we can with Alexis underfoot, for the “move” by getting as much junk as possible out of the way so we can work out what we want to go where.

Realistically, dad and Corey and mum and anyone who knows me know that I am not good with change. Even change I have been looking forward to for a very long time is still change, and thus petrifying. I am trying to give this up, and since Alexis has been born I have been much much better at dealing with change, but I still have a fair way to go.

Anyway, for some reason, when I’m pregnant, the nesting instinct overcomes my fear of change. When I was on maternity leave before Alexis was born I changed the house around every day or so. It drove Corey nuts! I found it invigorating. I was looking for the most practical solution. I was actually having fun too. I had a project to work on and I discovered I quite liked it. So, I am looking forward to combining the rooms and in the process of doing that I am looking forward to throwing out some stuff. We have, in the last two weeks, thrown out so much stuff. Many many garbage bags worth of stuff. I also have multiple boxes destined either for charity or a car boot sale. It feels kind of cleansing, in a way, to part with old things, junk, clutter, unnecessary memories, and old technology that we have already replaced multiple times but for some reason kept the old.

What happened when Corey and I first set up house together in our old townhouse was we took the entire contents of his bedroom and the entire contents of my bedroom and shoved it in the new house. We had a cupboard under the stairs and we had lots of wardrobe space too, so we kept a lot of things boxed up. When we moved from our townhouse to our new house we only had one week’s notice, and I had a 4-month old, so we moved as quickly as possible. While I have been going through the study and spare room I have found multiple boxes and drawers that still haven’t been unpacked. How embarrassing. So I’ve had fun going through them and having a good pitch. Basically anything we haven’t used is gone unless it has sentimental or material value. I didn’t want to throw anything of Corey’s out without checking with him, because that’s a big marriage no-no, so he’s had the privilege of me coming up to him saying “do you need this box of stuff?” every few days. Poor Corey. I bet he’s glad tomorrow is “moving day”.

There are still some boxes that I will leave unpacked. Boxes of memorabilia and old school books. To Corey and I, we have kept these so long that it will not hurt us to keep them a while longer. I simply do not have time to go through them all right now. Who knows, there might be elements of genius in there. I used to be really creative and write stories. Often. I haven’t written in so long, it’s quite sad, but I love, on the odd occasion, to read through things I was once creative enough to write. Then again I sometimes get upset that I don’t write anymore! One day, “when the kids are in school” I might pick it up again. “When the kids are in school” is something we used to use so flippantly. My in-laws would introduce me to their friends (beaming with pride) saying, “this is my son’s girlfriend she’s going to be a doctor” and I knew my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I didn’t want to disappoint them, so I’d say, “um, actually I’m going to work for a few years to get some life experience but I want to get back to it, maybe when the kids (who weren’t even close to existing yet) are in school”. These days, the kids being in school doesn’t seem so far away anymore! Boy I do get easily sidetracked..

I have compiled some more boxes of stuff to join the pile in the cupboard, just for now. Some precious ornaments that we just don’t have enough high places to keep them safe from curious little fingers. One day, “when the kids are in school”, we will buy a display cabinet, but for now we have nowhere to put it, so in a box is as good a place as any. I have parted with many of my old favourite ornaments too. Some of them were old and busted, some I just don’t feel the need to keep anymore. Now that I’m a mum I don’t really need pretty things on display to gather dust. If I want to look at something pretty I can look at my daughter. If I want to see something cute I can watch my husband as he mows the lawn, cooks a meal or plays with Alexis. If I want to dust something Alexis has her own collection of beautiful dust-gatherers these days, and no doubt “baby wormy” will accumulate them too.

It is sad, in a way, packing away and parting with objects I’ve just always had. I have 23 years of “little treasures” to sort through. I’m retiring my beloved bookshelf that I have had since I was not long out of the womb. It’s a good old melamine white wash pine backed typical 80s/90s bookshelf. It’s falling apart. Corey is even parting with a much-beloved desk. We currently both have our desks from our parents’ homes. We had to choose just one. I gave in and said we could keep his because it has a hutch (where we could keep our shiny smashy things) but once I realised the drawer was busted (again) I would not have a bar of it. My desk at least fits the computer and printer on it and has four drawers, it is the much more practical option. I do feel for Corey though, as his desk is a work of art, with photos and stickers covering it from floor to ceiling. I would love to keep it, but it’s just not safe anymore. At the end of the day though it is just stuff. We’ve decided we would much rather have space and ease of living so we can have time and space to form new memories of precious moments with our real-life “little treasures”.

Have you been through a situation like this? Did you find it refreshing parting with old possessions? Or was it incredibly difficult?