Finding Treasures

Another day ends, and I’m still feeling good. I find it unusually pleasant to be able to say that on a Monday. Let’s face it, only masochists actually enjoy Monday. So, anytime I can get through the worst day of the week and still be feeling good, well, that is a good thing.

The weekend was surprisingly productive; got a lot accomplished on a couple of projects, but I’m most pleased by the work I’ve gotten done on de-cluttering my living area. I finished my bedroom and got started on the bathroom this weekend. I’ve still got a lot left to do; regaining control of this house will be a project that takes a while. What makes me proud, makes me feel good, is that I can see that I am making progress. That visible progress helps me maintain the self discipline to keep going.

For the past three weeks I’ve been focusing on cleaning my bedroom. I’ve gone through and eliminated over half of the items in my closet.  I’ve also gone though all the boxes of stuff I had stored in  my closet, the boxes and tubbies stacked along one wall. I’ve also cleaned out the two junk drawers in my dressers. Most of the stuff I tossed from the closet  were pieces of clothing I’ve been holding on to for far to long. The stuff in the boxes and tubbies, and in the junk drawers was mostly…well, it mostly crap I took each box, tubby, or drawer  and removed everything inside. Each item got examined individually, and a choice on whether to keep or toss was made. Quite frankly, most of it got tossed. If I hadn’t  used it in the last year, it got tossed.

Well, the “have I used this in the past year?” test determined the fate of most of the items in those boxes. The three cases of cassette tapes, none of which I’ve listened to in at least ten years? Tossed. The box of assorted commputer cables and other related odds and ends I’ve not needed in the last six years? Gone. The files of class notes from college?: Out of here.

I’ve compared this de-cluttering process to an archeological dig recently, and that is an apt description. The most recent items were on top, and as I dug down through the stacks of boxes, through the layers of stuff inside the boxes, I was literally digging through my past. Most of the items were no longer relevent to my life, so, as mentioned above, they got tossed. Just as most of the items found at any archeological dig are trash, literally. The trash reveals a lot about a culture, but it’s not what one would consider a treasure. Occasionaly, both in “real” archeological digs, and in my personal dig, treasures are found.

The first treasure I found was a small stuffed animal, a buffalo, that my sister gave me about ten years ago for my birthday. She was not the first person to tell me that I’m difficult to buy a gift for (a description that I heartily disagree with – how hard is it to get a gift certificate to a bookstore?), and that year she had commented a couple of times that was, “as stubborn as an ox.” So, on my birthday she handed me a wrapped box that contained this little stuffed buffalo and said, “this was the closest thing I could find to an ox. Love you, bro”. I’m not sure how long it’s been in that box; I remember displaying it in the apartment in Decautur, but I can’t really remember having it at the apartment in Nashville. It’s now sitting on top of the two reference books I keep on my desk (dictionary and thesaurus). It also led to me calling her Sunday afternoon and having a long, pleasant conversation.

The next box contained two treasures: a fake stone gargoyle statue, about six inches high and as ugly as homemade sin, and a bear figurine. The bear was a gift from my Mom, and I can’t remember how long I’ve had it. It is now guarding the top left corner of my book case. The Gargoyle? I got that from friend about  seven years ago. For reasons I never did really understand, his name is Fred. It’s ugly, as gargoyles are, and he is now guarding the second shelf in my book case.

I know that by keeping thse three little nick-nacks, I am kind of violating the concept of getting rid of things I don’t use. The whole purpose of de-cluttering is to simplify, to get rid of stuff. I know all that, but there are different ways to use things. The buffalo reminds me of of my sister, of what a great person she is, what a unique sense of humor she has. The bear does the same job, reminding me of my Mom. Fred, the gargoyle, reminds me of a friend I’ve not seen in years, and the fun we had. These three little items serve as visual reminders of the most important things in life; they remind me of friends and family. That is plenty of reason to keep anything.

That’s all for tonight.