List of Things That Are Still Here, After the Basement Clean-Out
Two 42-gallon trash bags went to the Purple Heart Donation Center. One more to the dumpster.
This, after a grueling basement declutter session, in which I applied June’s Tennis Ball Test any time I felt myself gripping an unwanted item to my chest, heading down a rabbit hole of what-ifs.
Here’s what I was left with:
- Neon pink 80s ski jacket with faux fur-trimmed hood.
- Used Christmas wreath I bought for $.25 and vowed to rehabilitate.
- Small well-loved, once-white teddy bear.
- Medium well-loved brown teddy bear.
- Small pewter warrior princess with jeweled walking stick and unicorn companion.
- Brownie sash with 5 pins and 22 badges, front and back.
- Once-white L.A.M.B. wallet.
Michel Martin said, “In her memoir, Coming Clean, Kimberly Rae Miller describes growing up with a hoarder dad and shopping-addicted mom.”
I istened to Rae Miller talk of so much needless stuff that her parents had to abandon their house, and began questioning my sanity in a form of psychologic hypochondria. (Note to self, put “psychologic hypochondria” on list of imaginary band names).
“Maybe I’ll donate this too,” I said to June, who was climbing over my lap, trying to get at the teddy bears.
But then Rae Miller said, “From the research that I’ve done, many hoarders start hoarding as a form of connecting to other people. And so when they see something that reminds them of someone they love, they hold on to it. If it reminds them of a way they felt good, or a positive memory in their life.”
That’s nice. It reminded me of my own family’s extreme nostalgic tendencies. We create, consume and thrive off of nostalgia the way other families do guilt, drama, and 100-year-old recipes. We hang onto random things until something even better comes along, like my twin nieces, who will be getting my now-clean old room during visits, or June, whose box of toys can fit easily in the basement for once.
I reconsidered the list in this new context.
- Neon pink jacket: Handed down from my aunt, who is a great skier, and worn proudly by me, who is not.
- Used Christmas wreath: Purchased at an epically huge, hilarious, day-long rummage sale in New Jersey with my mom, two aunts and cousin.
- Small teddy bear: Little Bear. My sister gave him to me after she punched me in the stomach, as a bribe not to tell. He is the son of Jenny Bear.
- Medium teddy bear: Jenny Bear. She was given to me at my christening by my godfather. She is married to Teddy Bear, who is safe in an upstairs closet.
- Pewter princess & unicorn: This, clearly, is my childhood representation of present-day me and June. Very accurate. I must have had psychic abilities as a child.
- Brownie sash: My mom, dad, and sister helped with every one of the activities behind these badges.
- L.A.M.B. wallet: My fiance ordered this off e-Bay for my birthday during our early years in New York. He didn’t know, yet, that I’m incapable of keeping anything white clean.
What’s one more box?