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Memories Day

Memorial Day is a day to honor our veterans and thank them for their service to our country. And I am grateful to all the military, past and present who have served our country.

However, on this Memorial Day weekend, I found myself seeped in a different kind of memory: I cleaned out our attic… Dum-da-dum-dum (scary music)

Why it took we twenty years before I cleaned out the attic: There are approximately 30 days of the year when it is not too hot or too cold to clean out the attic. On 20 of them you will forget, on 5 of them you will have something else to do, on 3 of them you will be too depressed/sick/grouchy to clean out the attic.  The remaining 2 days will be so beautiful, you just can’t waste them in an attic!

Here is what happens when you put stuff if the attic without ever getting rid of anything for 20 years: It gets FULL!

So I spent some of yesterday cleaning the attic. I started by getting rid of some easy stuff, and then I made my way to the bins and bins of clothes I have up there. What was I thinking and why did I keep all these clothes???

For the following reasons:

1. A lot of them were baby/toddler clothes. I guess I really am a fabric person. I could picture my kids in each of the outfits and I could remember the occasion they wore them. I guess I saved them thinking they would want to let their kids wear them someday. Who was I kidding? One of my favorite things to do as a young mother was shop for baby clothes. I’m sure I’ll love shopping for a grandchild even more. And hello??  I hate hand me downs! Result: I kept a few special things and gave the rest to the Goodwill (dropped if off today – yay me!)

2. T-shirts! I am drowning in them. I always felt bad getting rid of them – they are a memento of a certain point in my children’s life.  My mother gave my youngest sister some of her old T-shirts and her kids wore them as beach cover ups. I thought that was a nice idea, but I think we were talking about maybe 6 t-shirts. I don’t think it is physically possible for my kids to have enough kids to wear all their old t-shirts. And again…I hate hand me downs! Once I learned how to make t-shirt quilts, I figured I would make t-shirt quilts from them, but out of sight is out of mind and I haven’t done it yet (well, I did do 1- a very cool BHS Drama one. If only I would put the binding on!). Result: I have to give myself a deadline.  The next one needs to be done by 8/31/13 or I lose my t-shirts. If (when!!) I finish it, I will set the deadline for the next one.

Lessons learned from starting to clean the attic (oh no, it is not close to being done!)

1. Don’t wait 20 years to do it.

2. Don’t put stuff up there because “I don’t need/want it anymore but I paid a lot of money for it so I feel guilty getting rid of it” . Donate it and get it (and the guilt) out of the house. Let someone else enjoy it.

3. Don’t put clothes up there, ever. Not even if you paid a lot of money for it. Not even if you think it is the most beautiful piece of clothing in the world. Not even if you think it will fit you again someday (it won’t!). Not even if you think someone will want to wear it someday (they won’t!). Just say no! Let someone else enjoy that beautiful piece of clothing, now, while it is still in fashion.

4. Carefully evaluate whether you want help. Yes, it is great handing stuff down so you don’t have to go up and down the ladder. But you will also hear: “you’re getting rid of this? What are you getting rid of that’s yours?” If they haven’t seen it in years, and they don’t see it leave the house, they’ll never know its gone – you decide which is easier. I look at it this way: I got my workout in going up and down that ladder!

So it was a trip down memory lane this weekend. It wasn’t easy getting rid of all my stuff . Let’s face it – all those clothes were mine, even if I didn’t wear them. I was the one with the emotional attachment to them. And right up until the door of the Goodwill closed, I had to fight the urge to sneak some little dresses out of the bag. I kept telling myself: you have pictures of her wearing all these things!

Hopefully I will venture up again to tackle the next hurdle: Toys!! What stays and what goes? My Little Pony, Lady Lovely Locks, Rainbow Brite, Dinah the mangy looking cat puppet (never!), Lego’s, Matchbox cars, Thomas the Tank Engine (never!), Hess trucks???  Accckkkk!!!!