Last week passed by in a blur. The kids were back at school and we set ourselves the challenge to clear out the clutter from the back storage area, the spare room and the boys’ bedroom. Doesn’t sound too daunting, does it? We were trying to do it while S was away at preschool, leaving us with 12 child-free hours over three days.
First stop was the back area and that was the easy part. We’ve been carting a fair amount of stuff around that shouldn’t never have left Melbourne and I’m still not sure where some of it came from. Anyway, out went the old modems, the stuffed toys that seemed to have bred in the cupboards and the antiquated TV.
The spare room was next. Broken toys, jigsaws with pieces missing, McDonald’s toys – gone. We’re were well on our way, on schedule and the rubbish chute was getting a great workout.
But here’s the catch. I find it really hard to get rid of the little things. Paintings, drawings, homemade Christmas decorations…why do I feel the need to hoard? And then we moved onto the boy’s room. Do I really need to keep all those learning journals, art books from pre-school and pictures that look more like tadpoles than people?
But I feel that I do. Why? I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s because those tangible, physical household memories are gone for us. Like that dent in the wall that perfectly matches the scar on H’s nose? Or the lines on the doorframe marking height and time? Swept clean every time our life was packed into boxes and shipped.
So if that cute little drawing of Frosty takes me right back into the house in The Hague, the backyard and the first time the kids built a snowman, I’m keeping it. Or the paintings that have hung in their room since they were tiny? The kids have probably outgrown them but I remember each wall they’ve been hung on and they’re staying.
Fortunately my husband isn’t as sentimental as me, so thanks to him, we did get rid of a fair amount of clutter that needed to go. But there’s also a little bag of bits I went back and retrieved when his back was turned. I’ll probably get rid of it all one day. Just not today.