The Stuff We Keep Just in Case

Tomorrow is garage sale number two, and this time we’ve advertised it in the local Penny Saver and have a little better idea of what to expect since we had our first by-the-seat-of-our-pants sale last week. We’re prepared.

I feel like I’ve talked a lot about downsizing and how enlightened I’ve become about stuff through the process of getting rid of things I really don’t need as much as I thought I did.

That’s been great.

But let me tell you about the stuff that no one needs. Really. The stuff we didn’t even know we had that has moved with me through at least one cross-country trip, three homes, and two apartments. The stuff I kept just in case.

Like the Waterloo/Cedar Falls phone book.

From 1999.

Or the ceramic blond cheerleader figurine given to me by my boyfriend’s parents for Christmas 1997.

Or the free bonus music tracks included with my trial period of AOL.

I have come across these items when packing and made the decision to bring them along. I have reorganized these things during spring cleaning sprees and chosen to set aside space for them.

I have made room in my life for a decade-old phone book. Repeatedly.

And for what?

Because I was afraid of being unprepared? Because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to snag 50 free hours of dial-up internet? Because I might someday have the perfect spot for a ceramic cheerleader and wouldn’t I be pissed if I had to go out and buy a new one?

I’m not sure what my logic was, but it pains me to think that it took getting rid of things I loved to find out just how much useless stuff I was hanging on to. Honestly, it pisses me off a little. I’ve let pure crap take up space in my life and home for years – and I didn’t even know it! It’s as if I’ve discovered a boarder has been holed up in my guest room for months and I’m just now realizing how much rent money I’ve missed out on!

I hauled an out of date phone book for a city I didn’t live in 1400 miles in a U-Haul.

That’s insane. It’s especially insane because I don’t think of myself as a hoarder or overly sentimental about stuff. I don’t have tons of mementos from when the kids were babies; I throw out Christmas cards on January 2nd every year. But the Macarena single? Oh yeah, I held on to that baby.

Not anymore.

We have one wooden trunk that was given to me on my 18th birthday by my father and all of our sentimental items are now in there. All the pictures, good dishes, report cards and baptismal clothes fit comfortably with room to spare. That one trunk will stay here in Florida at our friends’ house and we’ll take what we need with us in the RV.

What we need.

What we really want.

Why the hell do we hang on to anything else?

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