These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I’m moving. I’m going through every room in my house and sorting through what I’m going to try to sell and what I’m going to take with me. This whole process has been upsetting and tear inducing. Today I wondered if perhaps this was God’s way of saying I was too materialistic.

I’ve lived outside of my mom’s home since 1994. My first official home was a one bedroom apartment- perfect for a single woman with no children just starting out. I met CF while living at that apartment. Married him. Bought a house with him. I couldn’t tell you how large our first house was but I know that as we’ve bought houses over the years they have gradually become larger and more expensive. As most homeowners know we tend to accumulate things the longer we’re living somewhere. In short, I have a lot of stuff.  I like my stuff. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a hoarder but I do tend to hang on to things. And that’s what I’ve been dealing with all week.

Why do I feel a pang in my heart at the thought of giving away the mug I bought when I was probably a young teen?  It was from Hawk’s Nest and I’ve had it forever. I rarely use it so what’s the big deal? And yet it tore at my heartstrings to place it in the “sell” pile. There was also the lighthouse glass that I got on prom night my junior year. It’s not something I use but it was associated with a memory; I’ve had it for 30 years and moved it from house to house and state to state.  I can hardly wait until tomorrow when I go through the glasses!  I’m probably going to lose it when I set out the souvenir glasses from a restaurant we frequented on vacation in Florida.

I dread the thought of storing all the pictures of my kids that I’ve had hanging on my wall. I paid a lot of money to have pictures taken of my children when they were babies and those pictures are still proudly displayed. But no more. My photo albums will be tucked away and stored.  The journals I wrote in to document my kids’ lives and the funny things they say also won’t see the light of day.

I have a huge collection of books. I’m getting rid of almost all of them.  I may keep a few chosen ones but most of them, even ones I haven’t read, are going to be sold.

I’m selling off the bulletin boards I had made when I had a stainless steel refrigerator which meant I couldn’t hang anything on them. I knew someone who made these cute little boards with magnets and I figured they would be perfect to hang drawings and important papers. It’s not so much getting rid of them as it is the realization that I won’t be hanging report cards on the refrigerator.  I won’t be hanging up Picasso’s drawings or any important papers. I honestly don’t know where the hell I’ll put any of that.

I look at all the seasonal decorations I just bought and hang my head in sadness at the thought of selling them.  I worked so hard to make my home look festive- snowmen in January, hearts in February, leprechauns in March, fairies and flowers for May, mermaids, coral, fish and all things beach over the summer… Halloween and Thanksgiving, and Christmas and Easter decorations. All gone. I even bought a few new decorations just this past fall. I think my favorite one was the sign that listed all the wonders of fall; I hope its new owner likes it as much as I did. I bought them because I was determined to continue living my life despite what CF had chosen to do. Now those specific decorations have been used once.

I have hung inspirational signs all over my house but primarily in the kitchen.  All of those are going. I have a few that I love more than the others, like the one that says: Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things. Or: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain. My favorite though I think is my sign that reads: Wicked chickens lay deviled eggs.

I’m getting rid of most of my beach towels. With us downsizing so much AND moving in with my mom we don’t have a need for 10 or 12 beach towels. But here’s the thing. Every summer for more than a few years now I would buy each of the kids a new beach towel at the beginning of the season. So I’m not just getting rid of beach towels; I’m getting rid of memories.

Like my shot glasses. They were a small, convenient, inexpensive way to commemorate the various places we had visited. Gone!

Who gets sentimental about towels? Me! It’s not the towel though.  I have a fantastic memory. I can look at every single towel in my linen closet and tell you when I got that towel; I look through all the towels in our linen closet and it’s like looking at a timeline of our life.  There are the towels that we were given as wedding and shower gifts. There are the towels I bought when we moved the first time, and the towels we bought when we moved the second, third and fourth time. Oh, those are the towels I bought for our last house when we needed a nice set of towels when we were showing the house. Finally, I have the towels I bought for the kids when they got their own bathrooms and could choose to decorate them however they wished. I’ll be taking those towels with us, of course.

I look at all the grape decorations I have, which are still in the boxes they were packed away in when we moved this last time.  I’ve had those decorations since around 1998, maybe 1999. I’ve used them on top of cabinets in three different kitchens. I couldn’t use them here because we didn’t have cabinets that would allow us to place anything on top of them.  CF promised to build me a shelf around the enclosed porch where I could use all of them. He never did, of course. As weird as it sounds those grapes have been a large part of my life.

It is the same for my huge picture of magnolias.  It, too, was bought the first time we lived down south; it’s been displayed in four different homes now. It’s not so much the picture that is important.  It is what it represents and the fact that I’ve had it for 17 or 18 years.  It’s mine, dammit!

I’m going through water bottles and kitchen stuff. The water bottles represent different places we visited and sometimes things that were going on in my kids’ lives at the time. I believe I have admitted I have a slight crockpot addiction and I am keeping 3 of my 5 crockpots. Will I ever use them at my mother’s? Maybe at Christmas time.

I’m looking through my cupboards and seeing all the plastic plates I accumulated over the years when my kids were little and I wasn’t going to put a breakable plate in front of them. They obviously don’t need them anymore; they’re teenagers now for crying out loud! But we do use them still. They’re larger than a dessert plate but smaller than a regular plate, so they’re perfect for toast or smaller meals. Or for when I haven’t ran the dishwasher and I’m out of regular plates.  Again, it’s not that they are needed. I’m not going to have to replace them. It’s that they are part of my family’s history; they represent a time when my children were young.

My brother has told me I should pack up and store all of my kitchen stuff. Rodents can’t destroy any of it and it’s not like plates go out of style. I’m getting rid of the plates and silverware and bowls anyway. I will probably keep the brand new hand mixer that CF bought me our last Christmas together and I know I’m bringing along my Ninja blender, my air popcorn popper, and new waffle maker.

I’m trying to tell myself it’s just stuff. It’s not important. People lose all of their things in fires and floods and other natural disasters and they survive.  The important thing is the people.  I have my kids.  They are what’s important. I tell myself that I hung on to way too much and that even if the items represent memories I can always access those memories by simply remembering the event; I don’t need a souvenir or anything tangible for that. I tell myself that if I ever do move out into a place of my own that I can start all over and keep things simple. I even sometimes point out to myself that there is an awful lot that I never or rarely used which means I’ve spent a lot of money on stuff I didn’t need. Maybe this will be a chance to be more deliberate about what I buy.  So why is this so hard?

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26 thoughts on “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

  1. Just is hard
    I have to say I got rid of many essentials in KS and brought to AK the dumbest things
    Anyways it’s hard the process of change is hard and following through with the change and assessing the change and not beating myself up over the change

    I’m not a big fan of change and I like touching things

    And I remember
    But so many say it’s good to purge so good for you
    I bet you won’t even miss the stuff and if you do?
    Try not to be too hard on yourself I did that a lot when we moved here and have found I can find better stuff or will look for what I want specifically, or it’s just time to make new memories with other. Stuff LOL if any of that makes sense 😊

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    1. You know what the crazy part is? I thought a purged a great deal of things when we moved 2000 miles across the country! We got rid of bins and bins of Legos. Dumped beds, furniture, sheets, curtains. My daughter got rid of things from her room. I got rid of clothes we had all outgrown. CF even went through his closet to get rid of stuff. I know I took at least 3 full van loads of stuff down to our version of Goodwill. I sold off many items that we would no longer be using. I *thought* I had done a pretty good job. This is slightly different, though, because I’m not moving into a new house. I’m moving in with my mom and almost nothing of mine is going to make the transition so I’m getting rid of almost everything- years and years of cherished items. Add to that the fact that CF is eligible to take a VA loan and therefore won’t have to come up with a down payment. I’m not going to be so fortunate and since we will get NOTHING out of this house I will be left with no way to make a down payment. Oh well, that’s something to ponder much later down the line.

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  2. What a horrible thing to be forced to go through. Divorce destroys homes in more ways than one. I remember leaving England with what I came: one suitcase. All my precious goodies and my home no longer belonged to me. But remember, you can buy new, and these things will be associated with new memories.

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    1. Divorce destroys homes in more ways than one. <<<<< This is so true! I don't think he's given it a moment's thought. He's off with Harley, living the dream (despite losing his job). He walked out the door with nothing! Of course, that would have tipped his hand that he was moving out and would have exposed him as a liar when he tried telling people I wouldn't let him have anything.

      I'm sorry you experienced that, too. I can't imagine getting out of this house with only a suitcase! And that's a great reminder from both you and NotHateMyHusband that my new things will be associated with new (and better) memories.

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  3. Make photo albums for your kids. When they set up their own homes they will take their memories with them. Be sure and write info on the back. Date, people, place, activity. My husband’s job moved us every two years so some things did not make the trips. On the other hand, my mother was a neat freak and gave away every single book and toy I had as I outgrew them. I do not have a single childhood memento and I am semi-normal. Go for it. Purge yourself of him. Mail his shit to his parents. Pictures of him go into the picture albums never to be looked at again. Your personality shines through your writing. You are going to find your sea legs and sail away from him.

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    1. I’m the exact opposite of your mother. When we made our first cross country move someone asked me how many kids I had since I had so many clothes for sale. At that point my kids were 4 and 6 and aside from some clothes of my daughter’s that I had given to my SIL for her niece, I still had all of their clothes they had outgrown! Kept meaning to have a yard sale and just never got around to it. All the baby stuff was finally sold at that yard sale when they were 4 and 6. I’m trying to do better and as I said above I thought I purged quite a bit for our second cross country move. This one is brutal though!

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      1. I wouldn’t send him a damn thing but I’m spiteful like that – I’d send a note to his lawyer or have your lawyer do it stating it will be in the driveway on such and such date end of story

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      2. I’d love to do it that way but my lawyer told me I have to notify him and give him a chance to get his things. Personally I think leaving all of your stuff behind and not making arrangements in 5 months should absolve me of that but it doesn’t.

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      3. I do like the idea of taking pics of some of the things for a memory book like the beach towels etc

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  4. This is emotionally gutting to read. You have a beautiful way with words, and paint such vivid pictures. I could feel every little gasp and choke that you made to yourself.

    I am exactly the same. I’ve never been a hoarder, but I know what it means to associate memories with little things. I still have stuff from when I was a junior in high school, oh a couple of decades and some ago.

    How old are your kids? I can tell you have a son and a daughter.

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      1. One of these days you’ll have to let me know if I should find you on FB. I’ve never been an anonymous blogger, and still find it weird to do it, and not to know people. Maybe that’s what the protocol is. I don’t know.

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  5. Can you ask your attorney if you can sell off his “half” of the stuff to make up for what he owes you? He isn’t paying support right now is he?
    Technically, you can’t find him, correct? Are you simply suppose to notify his attorney or how are you suppose to reach him. I would do the bare minimum that your attorney says, but I sure would ask her about using the stuff as a revenue source for his arrears to you.

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    1. I forgot to answer your other questions.

      1. No, he’s not paying support.
      2. I do now have an email address for him. I also have a phone number and Harley’s address. My guess is he’s living with her now.

      I’m going to send him an email and call it a day.

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      1. Did he loose his job or quit so that he could walk away from paying you and his children? If he starts working later will he have to pay you then? In my state you can go to jail for not paying child support. I’m amazed that some men can sleep at night knowing the crap they’ve spread around. Love your writing and I wish you and your children the very best.

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      2. Thank you! I hope you’ll stick around.

        He quit his job of 15 years to go work elsewhere. He lost that job approximately 4 months later. I don’t know exactly what happened but I’m assuming he didn’t quit.

        My state takes a very dim view of men who don’t pay their support, too, but I guess we’re trying to be civil, especially in light of the fact that we don’t really know what is going on.

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  6. If you are leaving permanently then just leave his stuff in the house. If he does not pick it up soon he will have mice. I have a neighbor who had a stroke while on vacation. She was so ill her husband could not leave her. When they came home several months later they had to throw everything away with fabric on it. Mice had made a wreck of the house. Let him deal with it.

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    1. I tend to agree. My plan is to simply notify him that the kids and I are leaving on the 30th and his belongings are still in the house despite the lies he’s told everybody.

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