Everything tells a story


I’m the biggest packrat I know of, but Dad was close. Whatever extra ability he had to throw things out was kind of negated by the fact that he had a thirty-year head start on collecting things. Although he lost a lot of personal stuff in the fire since he stored lots of stuff upstairs, his business stuff was safe since we still had a separate office west of here back then. That stuff came over to the house once he built the addition a few years ago, and going through all of that stuff, while simultaneously handling the hundreds of other pieces of business his death has brought up, has been quite the task. It’s been painful for me to try to resume some kind of a normal diet here, because most of this past month I’ve needed tremendous amounts of sugar and caffeine just to stay fueled up here. (I’m not denying emotional eating is playing a large part in that as well, but I think emotional eating is kind of understandable under the circumstances.)

Just before Dad’s death I had started to go through my closet because I needed to clear space for some new clothes. Rather than throw out old clothes, though, I’ve only put them into "retirement" in a plastic tub out in the loft closet. I honestly don’t even want to do that — even if my clothes get too ratty to wear out in public I still think they’d be good for working out in — but I need space for new clothes. I can’t bring myself to throw any of the clothes out, either, because I can still remember how I got each shirt and from whom. Just like I’ve been learning this past month going through Dad’s stuff, every little thing we have has its own story, and as much as the memories and stories matter more than the things themselves, I can’t bring myself to throw them out.

As far as clothes go, though, Mom was in charge of cleaning out Dad’s closet, and after we took out the things we wanted to keep or could repurpose (we have a thing in this house about converting old sweatpants into shorts to wear around the house), she’s got the rest bagged up to send to Goodwill here shortly. Granted, most of the clothes I’ve retired are so raggy that I doubt they’d be of much use to anyone, but this is one of those things that makes me think about my own consumption. Being a packrat is bad enough when you’ve got so much stuff you have to find space for, but I have to admit that I don’t think enough about how me keeping all this stuff around means that other people can’t get enjoyment out of it. This is a matter that deserves a lot more thought than I’ve been giving it recently, but I simply don’t have any time to stop and think now; I’ve got too much to do here.

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