Daughter Rachel decreed that we EMPTY our attic.
She set a date and showed up at 8 AM.
The heavy stuff, requiring strong backs, is still up there. But at least 50 boxes of varying size and shape now grace hallways, bedrooms, living room. The contents of these boxes span the totality of two lives. Rachel’s directive: “Look at each piece. Read or admire. Then ask, ‘Will anyone care about this after we’re gone?’ “
In the foreseeable future, our free time will be organized into three piles: Toss, Save, Think About It. And if we don’t want these boxes to become our permanent décor, We. Will. Do. It. Our children will then rise up and call us Blessed.
My quick survey uncovered an early reader, portraying everyday eating items under the title, DIN-DIN. Farther along came a high-school project on weaponry in the Middle Ages. Got me an A+. And books—all the way from Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, to horse stories and beyond. Aaaugh! How can we relegate this stuff to the recycle bin? Well, you close your eyes and do it.
Are these boxes the sum substance of my life? No, though I see similarities. Habits and routines that need to be tossed. A flourishing devotional life that should be saved and expanded. The Real Me that people see and assess. Love, care, encouragement, modeling—these will have value throughout eternity.
Nostalgia can grab your heart. I found an autograph book, dating back to grammar-school days. Among bromides like, “If you get to heaven before I do/Bore a little hole and pull me through,” I found my teacher’s signature: “In your chain of friendships, regard me as a link.” Besides being a good teacher, Mrs. Treible nudged my spiritual life—just by reading aloud the whole of Psalm 104, with its many references to the natural world.
Will I save this little book? Probably not. But Mrs. Treible is on my list of people to hug in heaven.
What’s in your attic, these days? What will you find that’s hard to toss?
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While putting an addition on our house, we packed up the bookcase and stored the boxes in the basement. The addition took a little longer than we expected, so exactly one and a half years later those books are still in the basement. In all that time, I only went down there seeking one book. It was my large print edition of the Bible.
The bookcase is now set up in the new addition and stands empty. And I have no idea what is in all those boxes downstairs. I guess I will find out when my daughter makes me.
In the meantime, I think I should start filling it with new books.
No pressure intended Ellie!! 😆
Having recently done something similar, I know this can be hard. But it is a good exercise. I found many reasons to be grateful, and to move on to the next stage. As the Lord has been faithful throughout our lives, so he will be faithful as we cross the bridge to what he has prepared for us — before we cross the last bridge “over Jordan.”
I have purged a lot of my life’s memories. Dwindled down mine to a few of my 3rd and 4th grade art pieces, now a little torn on school coloring paper. They trigger some of my days living with my grandparents, Mom and brothers. Meeting my first friend at 8, as she and I are now sisters a lifetime ago. I saved my photo albums dating back from 1967 to my son Jason’s birth, grown up and graduation pictures from high school and college graduation. I saved a small box from hundreds of school papers from his days in kindergarten through high school for him to look at when I’m gone. I need to make a photo album of my Grandparents, great-grandparents and grand aunts and uncles. History of his genealogy. And pictures of his grandparents by Mom and Dad of whom he loved. Yes, I have purged a lot. Now that I’ve recently moved, it’s time to purge the last of my Mothers clothes and some things I can let go of. I don’t have much left to discard, I did loads when my folks passed and I broke up our family home.
The memories are with me, love forever is within my heart…… the Lord takes care of that.
Our family is going on an adventure, some of us that is! Rebecca is going off to college. Jim and I are moving to Waco, Texas and we have started defining the buckets: keep, toss, donate, yard sale. Surprise, surprise we all were nostalgic over different items. We took pictures of some items and donated, that caused less storage, but those will sit on a hard drive forever! Once we started to donate to others, we felt a sense of encouragement, something we will never use again, will now have purpose for another. I am taking the approach of fun with this gigantic feat and having yard sales. The irony with a yard sale is no one thinks “your stuff” is worth much. When all is done, the items required will be loaded on the truck and set down in a home and the cycle will begin again. Tip for clothing: if I have not worn it in 2 seasons, I donate it and make room for new pretty things!
Oh , yes the attic….we have one too. Your daughter is a wise “sagess” and her advice is solid. Not withstanding, it doesn’t make the task any easier. To be honest, I have always been a bit of a minimalist when it comes to ” stuff” ( ask Kim Johnson about this), but do have a couple regrets. However, you certainly have my admiration for doing this…remember, you are not throwing away any memories because they will always be ever present in your mind. But, you are making room for new ones.
Thanks Ellie. I am right in the process of packing boxes and this will help me toss a little more than I would have…
I have several “memory boxes”. Every now and then, I go through the boxes and recall precious times. I always throw away something, but I keep most everything. 🙂
Let me know when you’re finished. I’m packing up my personal library so that all I need to do click on the Send FedEx icon. Approximately 700+ volumes, primarily dealing with 2000 years of Protestant thought. Do you want the bookcases?
I’ve been wanting to do this, but find it hard to make the time to just start! I’ll need to go through my Mom’s things soon and dread the day when Dad is gone too and the whole house needs to be emptied. Life’s ever changing seasons can indeed be difficult, full of sentiment and emotions in the letting go process (with people and stuff). I always love how real you are Ellie! Give my love to Jim too.
On the other hand we just discovered an envelope on eBay with some special stamps that my father sent from Korea in 1950 is worth over $400. Glad someone saved it
Oh Ellie, I am so there with you!! I’ve still got things here that we pulled out of the house in Hollis as well as from Tom’s grandfather’s house (and a lot of what came from that house had obviously been saved when he emptied *his* parents’ house)! I do not want to leave this mess to my kids, but I find it very hard to do. Hugs and prayers for you and Jim in this process.
I have some boxes of stuff to give to the Lenca mission team since they are having a yard sale this week(June 1st). Your memorabilia could help someone else rekindle memories they had lost of their childhood. They will even pick it up!! Unfortunately you would need to pick up the pace on your sorting. Maybe a good thing?