I admit it, I am something of a packrat. I don't like being this way, but it is incredibly hard for me to get rid of things. I prefer to think of it as sentimentality. Yet, the longer I live, the more I see how important it is to rid ourselves of clutter--mental as well as physical. In fact, I have found that I function much better mentally and spiritually when my physical surroundings are free of chaos.
But still, the clutter has a way of building up. If you don't do Flylady's "27 fling boogie" daily (which I don't), then stuff just multiplies until it takes over your life. While packing to move from Arizona to Utah in the last two months I really tried to get rid of unneeded things. I must have driven 4 or 5 fairly large loads of books, clothes, toys and other things to DI before I moved. Yet I still must apologize to the men who loaded the truck for me: I've continued to get rid of things as I unpack them. I could have saved them from having to load at least 5 boxes worth of stuff if I'd only gotten rid of it when I was still in Arizona.
Last week I dropped a huge load off at the DI here in Cedar City. A few days after that we went to DI to look for a dresser. (We are desperately in need of a new one as the baby's clothes are currently sitting in a box in her room). We didn't find a dresser, but we did see many of the things I had donated beforehand. Mostly stuffed animals. Now, I honestly tried to cut down the stuffed animal population in our house before I moved, but only to great wailing and gnashing of teeth by two little girls. So, we gave four (yes, I typed that right) stuffed animals to DI and boxed the other three hundred (an exaggeration, yes, but not by much) up to bring to Utah. Well guess what happened? I didn't unpack most of them. And nobody cared. Nobody cried for their green stuffed frog or their talking Nala. So, I quietly went through them and kept only a few and took the rest to DI.
I was surprised that the girls only recognized one of their former toys, while I recognized all of them. And I was further surprised my reaction: I wanted to buy them all and take them back home with me. Not because of the toys themselves, but because of the particular memories attached to them. There was the stuffed Gund puppy that Joel bought me for Valentine's Day when we were first married because I had just found out I was pregnant with Bria. There was the huge stuffed Teddy Bear that we got Bria for Christmas when she was a year old. She loved that bear...you should have seen her hug and kiss and cuddle with it when she first saw it. There was the little stuffed Teddy Bear that I got for Christmas from Elder and Sister Dudley while on my mission in Romania. They were the CES missionaries and I was called to be their helper. I named the bear "Dudley" after them. There was the frog purse we got on our trip to Hawaii. Chloe loved it and constantly put her little treasures inside. And I could go on...but I'll spare you.
With much restraint, I left the store without buying the animals (and, alas, I didn't buy any dresser either). I kept telling myself that I still have those memories. And, being the avid scrapbooker that I am, most of them are well documented in albums. I really don't miss the animals, and I am much happier without them. Heaven knows that it's hard enough to keep the twenty stuffed animals we kept off the floor without adding twenty more.