This process is feeling like a bit of a Lenten sacrifice for me, going through all of these precious and even not-so-precious things. (People say, "Just let the movers box it up and worry about going through it when you get down there." However, the idea of having to spend the first few months in our newer, smaller house culling through all of this junk is so stressful to me that I'd rather take care of it on this end. ) But it's undoubtedly been good for me. I'm a saver, particularly when it comes to items that tell the story of our boys' history and our life as a family in this house. I gotta say, this experience is making me realize that I keep a whole lot more than I should...and it's making me want to live my life clutter-free (or clutter-reduced, anyway) from now on.
For instance, I kept every single trophy my boys ever received--even the participation trophies from youth sports. Last night, I FaceTimed with son #2, going through each and every one of his awards to see which I should keep and which I should toss, and we both had a good hearty laugh. Apparently, he's okay with not holding onto his t-ball participation trophy from kindergarten! Huh, who would have thought? In the end, there were very few items that he felt strongly enough about to hold onto. After we spoke, I decided to do a brutal clearing-out of his brothers' trophies, too, without bothering to FaceTime each of them (I don't even know who I am anymore!!), keeping only the ones that said "MVP" or "Offensive Lineman of the Year" or something equally noteworthy. (Full disclosure: my youngest son's trophy collection has not gone through a weeding-out yet; I just can't get rid of anything of his until he gets further along in his grown-up life.)
So now there's a box containing evidence of my four older boys' football, lacrosse, and basketball glory days in our garage, awaiting disposal (as soon as we get a second dumpster--yes, we've already filled one!). Kind of sad--but kind of freeing, too.
I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that in my travels in the attic, I found a large plastic bin filled with folded-up old calendar pages. We used to hang a huge calendar on our ginormous bulletin board in the kitchen, in order to keep track of all of our boys' activities and our family events. I remember not being able to throw them out, my excuse being that sometimes I jotted down phone numbers on them, and I might need to refer to an old page someday. In truth, I thought of them as a sort of journal of our family life, and I couldn't seem to get rid of them.
Here's another find that should make me feel pretty sheepish. In my youngest son's trunk, I was going through all the treasures to make sure there wasn't anything in there that would be better off in the "toss" pile, and I found a ziplock bag with a splint and two finger casts in it, from when he hyper-extended his pinky in a football game in high school...and kept on playing! This baggie was right next to a sweet collage I made as a memento of our homeschool classroom, when he graduated 8th grade and went to the same Catholic high school his brothers had attended. I asked my husband for his advice regarding that ziplock bag ("Toss it out!" he said, without hesitation), but then I didn't take it. Why do I even ask him, if I know what I'm going to do already?
In spite of keeping lots and lots of things (oh my, those boys sure collected a lot of football cards!), some of them as ridiculous as those little finger casts, I have managed to get rid of a mountain of useless clutter. I have made countless trips to both Goodwill and the recycling center. And you cannot even imagine how many empty large plastic bins I have now, after four straight days of working like a dog up in that attic! I wish I had a Fitbit; I'd love to know how many steps I've taken and how many stairs I've climbed.
I still have some work to do. Such as boxing up these precious T-Rex and St. Patrick Halloween costumes worn by my youngest boy back in the day.
Now about that Instagram giveaway I mentioned in the title of this post...I'm giving away a free signed copy of Erin's Ring, and the winner will be announced on St. Patty's Day. If you want to know how to enter the contest, look for my recent Instagram post with this darling image of Princesa reading Grammy's book, and the directions for getting your name in the hat are in the text under the picture.
See you over at the 'gram, dear readers. :)