Clearing Out the Old

Garage sale

Things have been kind of crazy for me the last few weeks as we get ready to move and start new lives outside the Coast Guard. We’re in the process of buying a house in Oregon, and need to unload a bunch of stuff that we’ve been dragging around with us all of these years.

One thing about moving every four (or so) years in the military is that we tended to keep things that worked for one place because we weren’t sure if we would be able to use them again. That’s why we have salmon fishing poles and crab pots from Alaska, surfboards and snorkels from Hawaii, antiques from Illinois, and a wide variety of tools and equipment for all of our hobbies over the years.

Then there’s the homeschool books and accessories that I’ve accumulated over the past 15 years. I still remember the effort that went into choosing each item, and the days we spent using them. So many memories! I don’t mind passing my treasures on to other homeschooling families who can use them, or at least know what they’re for, so I had a yard sale last weekend, trying hard to advertise to local homeschoolers. I got rid of some stacks and piles, but ended up giving away most of it to Goodwill, where I’m afraid no one will know what to do with these things. Oh well.

Now I have the rest of the house to go through, because we absolutely will not have room for everything in our new house. In many ways, it’s nice to finally have a place to settle, and know for sure what we can and cannot use, and what will match and what doesn’t. If something is genuinely useful and I anticipate really using it in our new home, I’ll keep it. This differs from the usual advice of “Did you use it in the last year?” because our circumstances are always changing, depending on where we live. Now that we know where we’ll be for a while, we can assess just how useful the beach chairs and duck decoys will be.

For the things that are not terribly useful, I’m trying to trust my instincts as I purge. When I look at something, does it make me slump, as in “What am I going to do with this?” Or does it make me smile because it is so “me?” But it’s still a hard process, because “things” can trigger so many memories of loved ones and times we have had. Letting go of books is especially hard for me, because books are like my friends – especially the ones I read over and over as a teenager. Books are such a source of comfort and enjoyment for me, how can I decide which ones get to stay and which ones have to find a new home?

I’ll have to be ruthless with myself and read simple living blogs and quotes every morning for encouragement. I also may not get much blogging done, but I hope to have fresh perspective and renewed purpose when all of this is done!

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