Bob and I are both savers, not hoarders, just savers, but that's still a problem.
While Bob saves mostly farm stuff - you never know when a part will come in handy - I save the rest. This way I've been able to fill up closets with things I don't need any more - I think I got rid of most of the baby clothes though.
It probably all goes back to my childhood when we were dirt poor. My parents both lived through the Great Depression, so when they got anything they saved it, and that's the way they raised another generation of savers.
I get sentimentally attached to things. My dad died in 1991, yet I still have three of his accordions - maybe I should learn how to play.
When I think of getting rid of those special instruments, it's like getting rid of my memories of my father. So there they sit in an unused bedroom - it's not good having a big farm house with places to store things.
Anyway, I decided I needed help cleaning out some of the filled closets. Only a family member can help with this kind of sorting, so I asked our daughter Rebecca to help.
She brought along her husband, which added more work hands to the project.
"Where do you want us to start?" asked Rebecca, ready to go.
I hesitated. "I don't know, maybe the laundry room." This room is more than a laundry room. It's also my pantry and the place I stash stuff if company is coming.
Rebecca went right for the closet at the end of the room. Above the closet are three cabinets that I haven't opened recently - in all honesty, I stashed some boxes in there when we moved in and never looked at them again. I forgot what was in that space.
Our daughter started pulling out the games we used to play when all the kids were at home: Balderdash, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, and a game that dealt with maps.
None had been used in years and a thick layer of dust covered everything - if we play games these days it's usually Dominoes or Scrabble without the dust.
The game boxes were cleaned and went onto a stack that would be going to Goodwill but that wasn't all that Rebecca and Andy dug up. A lot went right into the trash.
Dust allergies almost did in my crew. Rebecca started sneezing and blowing her nose.
Andy got a headache. He moved out of the area and into the kitchen. There Andy emptied a lower corner cabinet. That space was a black hole for all my lost plastics.
It should have a lazy-susan that rotates so I can find stuff. Instead, it goes into a dark space I can't reach.
Andy crawled back into that cabinet and pulled everything out. He found my lost teapot, pitchers I didn't know I had, and many recycled plastic food containers.
It was the same process for things found here as in the closet Rebecca tackled. A few items were saved, a bunch of stuff went into the Goodwill collection, and the rest went in the trash.
Sometimes the decision wasn't easy for me. At least Rebecca and Andy can recognize things that are collectables or even antiques.
Back in the deep recess of the closet Rebecca found a pair of brass swing-arm curtain rods. Now, that's not something a person finds every day. I knew I had those rods. They are old and decorative, but I've never decided on a good place to hang them. Now Rebecca says if I'm keeping them, I have to put them somewhere, not the floor of the closet.
My helpers weren't taking any chances that the Goodwill stuff would find its way back into my house again. She and Andy loaded their car with the designated boxes and delivered them for me. They also filled our trash bin to the breaking point before leaving for the day.
"You have homework, Mom," said Rebecca. She pointed to a box marked Junk Draw and a laundry basket full of papers. "It's up to you what to do with that stuff, but I recommend throwing out most of it."
Andy wasn't as adamant. My son-in-law just helped me stick a couple empty boxes into the dark recesses of that corner kitchen cabinet. This way my Pyrex bowls won't disappear from sight again.
It's a start and I am picking away at my homework, but it's a challenge. It's the only way things are going to get done. Thanks for all the help, Rebecca and Andy. We'll have to do it again sometime.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net; http://www.facebook.com/susan.manzke.://://://://://://://://://://