I think I’m having decluttering remorse.
Almost like waking up after a blackout, trying to remember each item I tossed.
“I threw away what last night?”
I don’t really need to item by item remember, because it ALL went.
What was in the last room that I attacked with the rage born from exhaustion and frustration?
Just everything I had thought was important enough to move from house to house, even if I never opened the boxes.
The next day was moving day, and I thought the last room would only take a few hours. Although the anxiety I felt every time I went in there over the past year should have warned me.
It was just a corner filled with boxes. Boxes I hadn’t opened since two houses ago, some hadn’t been opened for twenty years.
I had spent the last three weeks decluttering. Selling and giving away the contents of a ten-room house, cellar and garage.
I was on a roll. How hard could this last corner be?
I had thrown away my wedding heels a few months ago, so I thought I had toughened up.
The contents of several boxes had been scattered for weeks, opened and left, the victim of my confusion. Well, I had no choice now.
Tonight, was my deadline and I dug in, armed with kitchen trash bags. It didn’t take long for me to go downstairs and find the huge, green bags.
I always knew I was a good packer, but I don’t know how I fit so much content into those boxes.
I filled at least six green bags with CD’s and cassettes and that was just the beginning.
Some of the CD’S had been special to me. Our ten-year anniversary by Alabama I had signed, “Then Again…Forever, you and me.” I kept that one.
I had listened to and loved each CD at some time in my past.
As I looked through them, I was overwhelmed by how many there were and I began to grab handfuls, shoving them into the green bags.
So many material things I no longer needed or wanted, but surely my frustration added volume to the trash pile.
I was angry, and I was sad, and I just wanted to be free from stuff. Too much stuff.
Our mind is like a computer and it captures every little thing we have ever done, seen or felt and much of my frustration was because I was replaying those memories as I threw each thing away.
My wedding dress got special treatment. It was 3:00 a.m. and I walked outside and hung it on a tree beside the yard sale.
My neighbor was still outside because she was getting ready to have a yard sale with me, and she said, “You have to take a picture,” and of course, I did. As I took pictures, I realized that I was trying to capture my emotional whirlpool in a snapshot of a wedding dress.
The dress had fit like it was designed for me, draping my tiny hips, and it had made Mum smile, because back then, I seldom wore dresses. As I ran my fingers down the silky dress, I could see her smiling face.
I remembered the day I went shopping for it with my mum and how proud she was that I was marrying such a good man, a man who worked and took care of me and my three kids financially.
She special ordered artificial roses for my corsage and for the wedding, because I was allergic to flowers and I remembered how the florist thoughtlessly sprayed them with rose perfume and I sneezed all day.
I threw the still rosy corsage away too tonight, along with a box of wedding day souvenirs.
We never dreamed thirty-eight years ago it would end this way, my wedding dress hung in a tree for a yard sale, all alone in the dark. Us, living in separate houses. Big ouch.
Couldn’t hold on till morning. Needed to let it go, let it go.
He was here helping me finish up the packing and for the closing, and I couldn’t afford to show any weaknesses in front of him. It was a real test.
His heart was hurting as he saw me throw away our memories.
The picture Mum bought me because she thought it looked like us, my IHRA umbrella and hundreds of presents he had bought me.
I think it hit him hardest when he saw my books start to go. Fifteen house and thirty-eight years, and through it all, he’d been complaining about moving my books. I always found ways to resist his demands to get rid of the damn books, because I loved my books. I had learned that if I carried the boxes in and out of the moving trucks, it wasn’t as bad, but even then, the “weight” it added bothered him.
I usually soothe him when he’s hurting, even if he’s sad because he hurt me, but not anymore. Not anymore. Recovering codependent, yes, I am.
Now, as I rerun the night of the huge declutter through my mind, I am proud and sad and proud.
I let it go, I let it go.
I let it all go so I could move on, move into my twenty-foot Coachmen Nano Apex travel trailer and on to the next chapter of this story I am living as I create it.
I took pictures of things that touched my heart as I tossed, and that was enough stuff, for me.