Saving Grace

The three problems:

1.  When I was a kid and my parents, who were pastors, moved us around a lot (from saving troubled churches to planting churches to church-interventions and back), each time we arrived at our new, but temporary home, I was like an Etch-a-Sketch that had been recently shaken like the dickens.  It took all of 15 minutes to set up the bed and put our underwear-filled drawers in place.  But books?  Toys?  Prized schoolwork?  Gone, all gone – wiped clean, left behind, a history erased.

Now some may say this was a good way for a fresh start, but it affected me in ways I am only recently coming to understand.  When we left Des Moines when I was 10 and my dad (whose space can never be messy because there is nothing to be messy, AND he is known to have a garage floor you could operate on) threw away my Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, a treasured book from my grandma, it seemed lost forever.  Imagine my delight when, in my early marriage I discovered a copy of the exact printing of it at a garage sale for a quarter.  I bought it!  Retrieved history, right?  The problem is I now have 7 copies as I ever search for the best one.  You can see this is a sickness.

It affected me this way with my kids: I have wanted to save every stinking doodle they ever made, every gift they ever received, every story they ever wrote.  I never wanted them to feel they'd lost something important, so I have spent a good many years organizing and filling neatly stacked and labeled totes.  My husband indulged this because he didn't want our kids to feel the uprootedness I had often experienced. (I've written before about keeping my children's "treasures.")

2.  But my husband Dave was raised by depression-era parents.  They'd married during WWII and had their 4 kids and were finished, but adopted my husband when their "baby" was 8 1/2 years old.  They saved everything, and I mean everything, in preparation, it almost seemed for another depression.  Nearly crumbling boxes filled with newspaper-wrapped and rubber-banded items were stuffed in to and falling out of every closet and garage and basement nook and cranny.  "You just might need it someday," was the unwritten motto.

This translates into our garage – anything you might possibly need for absolutely anything – there is a 99.987% chance Dave has it.

3.  Then the two of us, with these odd and polar-opposite experiences came together and received, as a wedding present, a cross-stitch pattern (which I never made, BTW) that said, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without," and as if we had our very own slogan, 2 new "frugals" were born.  We relished a deal and being imaginative and using things for something other than they were originally intended.  We were lauded for our artistic creativity, we relished our ingenius (if we do say so ourselves) style.


The new problem:

I am sick of it all.  I hate totes and organizers are the devil. They don't really organize stuff, they just make you think they do.

But now- I have grandkids doodling, for crying out loud!  Whatever will I do!?!

God, show me what is worth saving and leaving for some one else to have to deal with!  Ha!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Spend more time making new memories and less organizing the old.

5 thoughts on “Saving Grace

  1. Me on the other hand, I love to be organized and I love totes. I love my little house and need to keep it organized because if I didn't I'd end up outside because of all the stuff or get a new house…hmmm. No, I'd to the same there. Organizing, it never seems to end…..hehehe 

  2. Oh my gosh, do I relate! My issue is that my father was in the army for 25 years and we moved every three years, whether we needed it or not.  I had a hard time getting rid of things and even though we were supposed to clean out our rooms before we moved each time, I still accumulated a lot of stuff.  I think this relates to the fact that there is not a house that I can call home, so I have stuff that is "home" for me.  Most of this stuff is in our garage.  My Hubby is not happy about this, but has tolerated it for almost 13 years.  Diane has offered to help me go through the boxes…I think I will take her up on it this summer.

  3. Yes, I have inheirited some of this 'pack rat' mantality.  But I am slowly learning to overcome it and get rid of things.  I still find delight in going into Mom and Dad's garage to find treasures!  A person can be so creative with the things in there!  I never want to go out there and have it be completely empty – how boring! ;o)

  4. Yes, slowly but surely I am cleaning out. I will say that usually if the kids or Jeanie need something to create around the house or fix or or or… I do usually have it. From tools to supplies to auto parts (new) to creative items to paint to light bulbs  to Christmas!!! Oh my gosh Christmas!!!! I almost made it this year without buying Christmas lights but then… Target went 90% off and there were so many good ones left that I did, I admit purchase a few things, but not very much as compared to last Christmas (2006)… dare I say it??? I worked my magic at WalMart and said, "I see Target's lights went 90% off and I missed the sale, (remember, this was last year and I DID miss the sale) do you suppose that if I took the rest of these lights off your hands, that you might give them to me for the same price?" The department lady looked at me like I had just offered to pay off her mortgage and grabbed her walkie- the deal was done. She had two pallets of lights keeping her awake at night. I didn't end up taking ALL the lights, but close enough for government work. And I brought home approximately 40,000 Christmas lights, yes, you heard me correctly for less than $100! Some would vacillate and say, "Job well done!" while others would say, "What a waste of money, you could have done something more meaningful with the cash"… But at least when Northern Hills Christian Church needed Christmas decorations for the two sanctuaries this year, my son (who is on staff as a worship pastor) came and "shopped" my garage in order to adorn the worship centers with trees, decor and yes, lights, for our Savior's birth… So there might be some merit to hanging onto SOME things… But I agree, NOT ALL the junk I have… So a lot of it is going to go… Need anything?  Let me know:)

  5. You have heard that it was said, "It is better to have and not need than to need and not have." I tell you the truth, "Have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful (-William Morris, a Raphaelite Brother)." For me? I believe that if I do not purge some items from my home in a quick-fast hurry, I will be in danger of throwing the entire universe off-kilter. My home is quickly becoming the black hole my depression-era grandfather's home was… totally relate with you, Dave. Grandpa kept yogurt containers–and not always washed out, either–full of screws, nails, bolts, bobby pins, clothespins, mystery-items, etc. I'm not doing that, so I figure that I'm slowly bucking the family pattern.

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