PURGE [purj] ~ verb.
To rid, clear, or free
HOARD [hawrd, hohrd] ~ verb.
To accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place
I used to donate two items to charity for every one article of clothing I purchased. My rule was, if it hasn’t been worn in a year, it’s out the door. I like clean, balanced lines and earth tones. I don’t like piles that become permanent fixtures. I envy my younger days when everything I owned could fit into my Toyota Corolla. Order calms me.
Life With Four Month Old Twins.
Now, I am not so good at getting things to their proper place before the end of the evening. My living room is riddled with primary-colored plastic objects that play music that will inevitably run through my head at 2:00 a.m.
The mail now gets checked once a week only to end up a pile on the dining room table slash changing table slash high heel storage area slash office space. Unopened. I still feel calm, but only because I altered the boundaries of my definition of Order.
Still, a purger by nature, my purging and order instincts bubble to the surface of my consciousness with relative frequency. For example, on my list of things to do is to take pictures and price a 4-door sedan, two bicycles, a stereo receiver, and a coffee table to put on Craigslist. When I mention the “C” word, my partner, Jennifer, starts to get a little antsy because she doesn’t know what all I’ll get rid of while she’s not looking.
On the kid front, I am preparing for the semi-annual Mother’s of Multiples Club Buy/Sell (Garage Sale) Day. For this, I am separating clothes by brand, then subdividing by ascribed sex (boy/girl/neutral), further breaking down by type (onesies/long-sleeve/rompers/etc) and then deciding which are worthy of scarce hangers and which to package in multiples. Then sizing, labeling, and pricing.
Can I borrow your shirt-sleeve to wipe the drool from my chin?
Oh, I cannot describe the joy I get out of getting rid of things. And yeah, maybe I was a little over-enthused when showing a friend the guest bedroom, strewn with categories of children’s clothing, calling my name out to be tri-folded and packaged.
So you can imagine my stupefaction when my friend said “but aren’t you going to keep any of their clothes for them as a keepsake? What about the outfits they wore when Jennifer adopted them? Those are meaningful.”
“BUT WHY?”, I say.
I suppose there are entire populations of parents who tenderly hang their baby(s) Coming Home Outfits in a shadowbox frame. Or bronze the shoes. Or pickle their removed tonsils for display in the family china cabinet.
My parents didn’t keep my Christening outfit and if they had and had given it to me, I honestly don’t know what I would have done with it. A picture of my being held by my Godparents over the Baptismal waters is good enough for me.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with keepsaking. I’m just saying I have never been one to be emotionally attached to clothing – or most tangible items for that matter – so it is my natural inclination to get rid of stuff not being used. I remember when we found out at least one of the twins was going to be a girl. I called my sister to see if she’d give me some of the clothes that her daughter had outgrown, and after several conversations, she finally told me she wasn’t ready to part with my niece’s clothes yet. It didn’t make any sense to me, but I completely respected her feelings.
As for memory preservation plans in my household, and in my minimalist frame of mind, I had planned to upload pictures over the course of each major age category, type in some milestones, and make photobooks for the twins on Blurb. And then Copy/Paste/Print more copies of the same for the grandparents.
But maybe that’s not sufficient? Maybe I need to get in touch with my inner-Hoarder? And to think, this is just the beginning. What about when the kids get into school and start bringing artwork home? What to do with the first tooth that falls out? Where does it begin? And where does it end?
If you are a Hoarder, what do you plan to do with that/those item(s) you’ll keep for you or your child(ren) for posterity? Are you uncluttery, or would you be one of those eccentric people they write about in the newspapers, the ones that have every issue of National Geographic since 1948 and an attic full of Folgers coffee cans – just in case you’ll need them?
If you are a Purger, how do you decide what’s a keeper without becoming a Hoarder? Where do you draw the line without compromising the memories?
If you are currently pregnant, what are your keepsaking goals, and where in the spectrum do you fall?
Who knew that sorting through 0-3 month clothing for a damn garage sale could snowball into this weighty quandary?!
Rachel’s personal blog can be found at RaJenCreation.