Stuff and I get along well. I welcome stuff to my house, stuff enters, looks around, likes what it sees and stays. And stays and stays and stays and in the meantime I have some new stuff and the old stuff is wearing out its welcome.
Lately I’ve been trying my hand at de-stuffing. I feel moderately inhospitable getting rid of stuff that has made itself at home. But it doesn’t pay rent, doesn’t clean up after itself, and some of it is developing severe personality disorders that are making the possibility of eviction easier.
Take these dolls.
The first one belonged to my mother in law. (Both are pushing 90. My mother-in-law is by far the better looking of the two.) Look deep into the doll’s eyes.
I dare you.
I call her “Soulless Lou.”
Actually I call her Soulless Sal but some lovely people I know are named Sally so for purposes of preserving friendships she’ll be Lou. I believe she turned down an opportunity to appear on “The Walking Dead.”
Second is a little lady I refer to as “Scabbers” for obvious reasons.
She is probably about 110. She belonged to an elderly neighbor who had no children and thought I’d like the doll. Scabbers isn’t particularly horrifying until her eyes—which still function—start blinking, and don’t stop.
The last doll is mine. One of the few toys I have from my childhood. She is about 60. Her name used to be Judy but now it is “She-reminds-me-of-the-little-possesed-girl-from-the-Exorcist.”
My kindergarten-aged grandsons slept over last week and refused to go to bed till the doll formerly known as Judy was out of the room.
My de-stuffing has caught on a snag. A doll my parents bought me when I was a toddler. One from my beloved mother-in-law and one from a sweet neighbor who is now in heaven. How can I evict them?
I don’t have an answer yet.
But tell me.
Is it my imagination, or are they suddenly just a little closer to the edge of the sofa than when I first set them down?
Destuffing is hard work. My husband and I have lived in the same house for more than 35 years and raised four kids here, so we have prodigious amounts of stuff, as well as several empty bedrooms to contain it — all of which have doors that I keep shut so I don’t have to look at all that stuff. But sometimes I have to go into one of those stuff-filled rooms to find toys or books or games to amuse my grandson, reminding me that one of these days I need to sort through it all and get rid of at least 90% of it….
You get me. And on a related note, we just in the last 5 minutes got rid of a misshapen piece of pottery my oldest made when he was about 11. He hates it. I’m not fond of it and have about 200 other pieces of prettier artwork he’s made. But sad music played in my head as my husband brought it out to the garbage,
What wears me out in the destuffing process is all the questions I have to ask and answer about each individual piece of stuff. Is this mine? If not, whose is it? Might that person want it? Should I contact him/her and find out if he/she wants it? If it’s mine, do I keep it or get rid of it? If the former, where do I put it? If the latter, does it belong in the trash, or is it something that could be of use to someone? Do I know someone who could use it, or should I relegate it to the Goodwill pile and let them figure it out? After about ten minutes of this sort of thing, I’m exhausted and ready for a nap.
Those may be able to be sold for repurposing. I will not regale you with how scary they will become.
Bless you 😉
Oh my word! I can totally relate to this! I’ve been de-stuffing for the past 5 years–at my dad’s house and my own house. Being the sentimental sort, picking up each object turns into a five-minute internal dialogue over the memories and ends with “How could I ever think of parting with this?” Oh brother! I’ve learned to take pictures of the things I really love and want to remember, then get my husband to cart stuff out to Goodwill or the garbage. He has no trouble with that. We complement each other that way, thank goodness.
So I’ve gotten rid of some things and kept others. But I’m getting better at saying goodbye to stuff. And I find that even though I have pictures of the old stuff, I hardly look at them. And not once have I regretted throwing something out, even though it was such an ordeal getting to that point.
I knew you’d be able to relate to this!
I’ll be adopting your idea of taking photos of the stuff.
It’s a great stop-gap measure to letting go, but gently.
Photos are good. I finally sent the cradle handmade for my infant children to my granddaughter. Alas, my son, it’s only as antique as you are, I reply when asked. And then there’s Jocko, the fabric creature that my late father’s grandmother made for him that’s almost 90, and certainly the basis for some evil horrifying movie monster. I won’t be handing him down to the grandchildren. I am not sure if I will honor him with a photo, either.
At least Jocko has a pleasant name. But the fact that you refer to him as a ‘creature’ says a lot. 🙂
My dad made a cradle when I was pregnant with my oldest. It’s a treasure, but like yours, not particularly old. Except to the grandkids, who think anything 30+ years is ancient.
You have a granddaughter? Yay!