When I first posted on my house cleaning yesterday early in the afternoon Pacific Time, I had intended to take only about an hour or so to go through my closets and cupboards so I could come up with some stuff to sell at my friend’s yard sale. And just in case, you’re in LA, here are the details again, tomorrow Saturday May 30 from 8am-3pm as the corner of Cahuenga and Bloomfield in Toluca Lake. One block south of Moorpark. East side of Cahuenga. (In the Valley.)
So, I posted on it, headed out to run some errands (including a stop at Staples to buy some storage boxes).
When I returned from my errands, I decided to dispense with blogging and my workout to continue what I had begun earlier in the day. I removed all my T-shirts from my closet–and took most of my shirts on hangers off the bar. I even removed everything from three shelves in my built-in linen cupboard.
It was amazing how much stuff I had accumulated, some stuff that I just removed from boxes when I moved here, now nearly a decade ago, from Washington, D.C. and put into the space it occupied . . . until today.
As I removed stuff from my closet, I took note of my blue jean jacket. Not until I looked at it, did I recall how much I loved wearing that jacket back when I was in law school. I don’t think I’ve worn it since. I graduated in 1994. At least I can’t recall wearing it. Previously, when I looked for shirts to give away, I had the exact same experience I had had yesterday.
This time, I finally moved it to the sell pile.
Only when I look at it do I recall how much I once loved it. I guess that’s why I refused to give it away in the past. When it’s gone, I’ll have a little more space in my closet. And I’ll think about it exactly as much as I did when it took up that space.
While I did find many things in that closet and cupboard that I had never used and rarely even thought about, I did find a few things that I had forgotten about, including the shirt I am wearing as I write this, a Library of Congress T-shirt with the profile of Thomas Jefferson and his words, “I cannot live without books.” This time, I found something I would actually use. Almost like getting a nice gift from a friend.
There were some shirts I just couldn’t give away, even though I wear them rarely, if at all, for example, an old St. Louis Cardinals T-shirt that my grandmother bought me during our last time alone together just as (unbeknownst to us then) Alzheimer’s was beginning to eat away at her memory.
Every time, I see that shirt, I remember the time we spent together just before I started law school.
There were other things without such value, a shirt I bought because it was on sale, then wore only once or twice. It was amazing the number of things I could remember purchasing. And then there were the things that I was clueless as to how they came into my possession. “Could I have really bought that? Was it a gift? Who would have given something like that to me?”
I find the easiest way to get rid of something is to ask, “If this weren’t already in my possession, would I want it to be?” That is, if I saw in a store today, would I buy it? (This particularly applied to DVDs–as I think I have mentioned before on this blog–I have a weakness for cheap DVDs, especially when I like the star, enjoyed the flick when I saw it on the big screen or had heard (or read) good things about it.)
At the end of the day, when I finally gave up (needing to get to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries before it closed), I had filled 9 Staples Storage boxes (10″ x 15″ x 12″) with stuff–not to mention the 20 shirts, 2 suits, numerous pairs of pants and one blue jean jacket on hangers.
It seems I am selling more stuff than some people take with them when they move.