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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Large Box of Crap

We had a GIANT and I mean large bin sized box of crap that at some point, I dumped a bunch of stuff in and never seemed to have a chance to go through it.

My husband had threatened to toss it, but I assured him there were things in there that I needed to go through.

He said I was my mother.

My mother has a tendency to um... keep things, shall we say. 

It was not a compliment.

If you've been to my house, I really don't think we have a lot of clutter.  My husband thinks we do.

Let me rephrase-- he thinks that I do.

You know, crazy things like tax returns (filed by year), our mortgage paperwork, warranties, birth certificates and one small box (a photo box) for each year we've been married.  In those small boxes I include pictures, report cards, a few of the kids' art projects, their awards and Christmas cards.  Crazy, huh? If it doesn't fit in the box, it goes.

It's 11" x 7 1/2" by 4 1/2"-- not exactly massive

I also have sewing stuff, which to be honest, I don't actually do much of these days, but if you sew at all you know it's a lot like fishing- you need a lot of crap to do a little.  And for some odd reason, I have a LOT of wrapping paper crap.  Four purses.  One travel, rolling briefcase. But other than that, that's it.  Please note that this is the same man that thought 25 pairs of shoes- including winter boots and sneakers-- were a lot.

Of course, we have a shed full of camping equipment (last time we went was 2 1/2 years ago), hunting and fishing gear, and a full workbench of tools for the 3 times a year when he needs to fix something.

And when I counted HIS shoes, he informed me that boots, waders, etc, don't count.  Because then he would have 20 pairs.  And that would apparently make him Imelda Marcos.

But in this case-- this ONE case, he had a point about The Box.  The Box had been sitting there for about 6-7 years.

Yep.  That long.

For whatever reason, I was avoiding it.  No, actually, I know the reason.  I deal with paperwork all the freaking day long.  The last thing I want to do when I come home is more paperwork.  My office is immaculate.  We have a strict policy of file, shred or toss.

But at home, I have a co-chair and for the first few years I thought he might actually be interested in some of the stuff.  So I kept it. Now I know he, in fact, does not care.  He is also very paranoid about throwing anything out because he has in the past, thrown out very important documents that I have had to fish out of the garbage- stains and all.  It was bad.  I will leave it at that.

So in the assignment of marital duties, paperwork is my duty.  Which I still hate, but the reality is, I'm the one who always need to be able to find it, so in the org chart of my marriage, it's under me.  Lucky me.  He gets lawn care and vacuuming. 

But honestly, it wasn't any psychological war at this point, it really was my lack of interest in addressing it.  Because I hate paperwork.  But it has to get done.  Just like the vacuuming that I know he does not especially enjoy.  I said I would take care of it and I didn't.  For a very long time.

And so today, bronchitis be damned, I went through it because I had, as I had many times before, promised him that I was going to go through it during this vacation.  Because when most people think of vacation, they think "Hey, let's spend it sick and going through stacks of paperwork!"

But this time, I meant it.  Last week I went through my office and I had a half bag of things that need shredded.  It was too much to do at the office (we've burned up a few shredders over the years) and I knew I had some at home that would make the drive across town to Opportunity Village to their shredding service worth the drive. 

So it was time to tackle The Box.

It took me, I kid you not, less than an hour.

For 7-8 years (yes, I realize the time period is lengthening....) I avoided going through The Box.

And there were definitely things to keep in it:
  • Our air conditioning paperwork
  • 2 marriage certificates (so that's where the extras were...)
  • My son's 1st & 2nd year birthday cards
  • Letters from my grandmother who passed away 7 years ago
  • The house sale paperwork from our old home
  • Baby girl cards (so it couldn't be more than 7 years...)
  • 2000 business expenses and taxes
  • Photos from college, his late dog as a puppy, a prom picture of me, some pictures of my friends' kids- great stuff-
And a bunch of crap that I have no idea why it's been in there
  • Power cords to something
  • A Palm Pilot docking station
  • Old video tapes that we have no way of playing
  • Bank statements and credit card statements
  • Catalogs
  • Gift bags
  • Chargers
  • Manuals to things we don't have any longer- like our first digital camera
  • A Franklin Planner that was never filled in
  • Baby's First Bank, Tooth, Curl gift set- never opened- oops

You know, things that are invaluable.  So invaluable I hadn't looked at them in years.

It reminded me of when I got rid of our storage unit 6 years ago and realized I had been paying $65 a month to basically store what turned out to be my trombone, a dressform and a small box of letters (which I think got dumped into The Box). Don't get me wrong, it was full of stuff that I felt was so important when we moved in together that I couldn't part with it when he didn't have any room for it at his townhome.  But looking at it years later, most of it was silly to keep- college textbooks, clothes that no longer fit (THAT's where I threw my reds that were in the dryer when I moved...), cassette tapes, plates, mugs of things I had participated in-- all crap.

But what really cracked me up was how quickly I went through The Box.

For the last near decade, I had been tripping around this stupid box, moving it from place to place. It was heavy, by the way. We had FIGHTS over The Box.

And it was empty in an hour.  In four piles- garbage, shred, donate and file.  I just dropped off the donation stuff. I'll drop off the shredding next Saturday.  Everything else is filed or in the trash.


That was all it took.  An hour.

Now I'm really motivated.

There are 2 small boxes left in the garage on shelves that I am excited to go through.  I've moved them twice without opening them.

Clearly, they must be full of VERY important things.

I'll probably find some shampoo and Q-tips.

Maybe I'll find something like this gem...

My beloved passed out while enjoying nature with some friends.

Because to me, a picture like this, after being harassed for years about my ONE box of clutter, is truly priceless. 

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