Thursday, April 24, 2008


After cleaning my closet, I am more aware than ever of the clutter in my house, possibly because I had to search other closets for coat hangers. My children are living in places that have impermanence written all over them, and they aren't at all interested in taking their sentimental things. In fact, they tend to bring the literal emotional baggage home with them when they move from place to place. Seeing the effort involved in packing (and paying the movers by the pound) they skinny down their possessions.

When I look in their closets, I see their childhoods. Artwork, graduation gowns, photos in frames and boxes, stuffed animals, doll furniture, posters, CD cases (mostly empty but please don't throw them away), soccer shoes, t-shirts that carry memories of camp or trips, yearbooks and scrapbooks and diaries. Their bookshelves are creaking with good books that either they or I can't bear to give to the used book store. Their drawers are full of paints, key chain collections, more t-shirts, soaps and old makeup.

My oldest daughter worked with me one day to clean her room of the extraneous and she has the least left. The other two groan and walk away when I suggest doing the same in their rooms. They have to do it with me, making the decision of what to keep and what to get rid of.

I can't bear to throw away their pasts. When I think of moving from this house that we have lived in for almost 25 years, I know it is inevitable that the decisions to keep or throw away or give away will be made, that they will go through their memorabilia and I will go through my books and accumulation too.

Today, I close the doors to those closets and to thoughts of sorting through our life. But I'm not going to buy much for a while. Toilet paper and food and other things that can be used up and thrown away without thinking or feeling.

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