Friday, April 25, 2008

Dismantling the Shrine

One of the things that I need to get done before June is to dismantle the shrine to me in Chicago - otherwise known as my old bedroom at Mom's house. My mother is moving to a nice condominium that is about a mile from her current home at the end of the summer. My sister and her family are buying my mother's house and need to start moving things into Mom's house in order to get their current home ready to be put on the market. I started this process the other week while I was in Chicago. It's a bigger project than I originally thought it would be. These days, I stay in that room whenever I visit my mother but I never really took the time to look around my old room. I basically sleep in the room and watch a little TV before falling asleep. There's a lot of stuff in there though!

I always wondered how long my old bedroom would stay in a time warp. It looks like a younger version of me still lives in that room. On a regular basis, the sheets are changed and the room is cleaned by the maids - regardless of whether I will be visiting or not. I don't even live in the same state anymore. I moved down there when I was in Junior High School. When I say “down there” I mean into the basement bedroom. I don't know what my parents were thinking by agreeing to let me have the bedroom in the basement. It is two floors beneath everybody else's sleeping quarters and has a door to the outside in the utility room next door. I could come and go undetected as I pleased, if I were so inclined. Lucky for them, I wasn't inclined in that manner - most of the time.

The room is full of old stuff - I'm closer to being 40 than to 30. It's got two walk-in closets and they were still full of my clothes when I got there last week. There's a double desk along the wall and it still has my Apple IIc and an Apple dot matrix printer on it (It still works & I still have all of the original software) as well as a huge old IBM PC from God-knows-when. There are trophies, medals, ribbons, paddles, tassels and certificates that are going to be homeless soon. The bookshelves are full of books . There's a teddy bear that my grandmother bought me when I was 7 and a ton of office supplies. (Anyone that knows me well knows that I am weak for office supplies). There are documents from every period of my life in that room - and I guess I should go through all of it before I just chuck it all. The TV in that bedroom is so old that it isn't cable ready even though it is a Sony color TV (a tank) and has a remote control. My signed Blackhawks hockey stick from the last year Chelios & Roenick played for them together is in there. My old autographed Cubs baseballs are still there. My yearbooks and facebooks are all in there. What's not down there?

I tackled my closets that week. My sister and I filled an entire Honda Pilot up with bags of barely worn clothes and accessories and drove them to the Salvation Army location in Des Plaines, Illinois. There was absolutely no space in that SUV for anything else after we filled it with my clothes. I filled my mother's garbage bin as well with things that nobody should be caught wearing. I filled a box with purses, wallets, hair accessories, jewelry and other cool things for my cousin's little daughters in Virginia to play dress up. I didn't keep anything in my closets except for the clothes that my husband and I wear now and just have been keeping there so I don't have to pack anything when I fly between Boston and Chicago. I really don't think I would have had so much stuff in there if I had managed to keep wearing clothes that were sizes 0, 2 or 4. Live and learn. Heh.

In all seriousness, this exercise has taught me a few things.
  • Nothing lasts forever. I never thought my mom would move out of that house. Oh well.
  • Other than sentimental items, no things that I kept in that room add to my current happiness. If anything, the things that I held onto (or - more accurately - failed to dispose of previously) feel like a weight on my back and are really more of a burden than anything else as now I have to deal with them.
  • If I buy it now, I'm using it now. I'm not saving anything for later use anymore. I seem to be a hoarder by nature - that has to stop. I have lots of unused 5 1/4” floppy disks, 3 1/2” floppy disks, pencil leads, pads of paper, staples, markers, audio cassettes, everything - totally unopened and unused. That's bad.
  • If something is two sizes too small to wear already, get rid of it. You'll more than deserve a new wardrobe if you make it back down there again.
I think that short time in Chicago has helped get my mind in the right place for this weekend here in Massachusetts. This weekend is our big purging weekend and my husband promises that we will go through all of the stuff in the house that we've been holding onto for no apparent good reason (boxes of business school case studies come to mind - ha ha). I'll be back in Chicago to finish up cleaning out my old room next month. I'll also have to help my mother find new furniture for her new place. I think by the time June rolls around, I'll be ready for a vacation.

1 comment:

Carrie Ann said...

Thanks for all your help and hard work purging! Sorry, don't mean to be kicking you out of your old room :( Love you