Monday, June 7, 2010


This business of finding the lost car key has caused us to sort through everything in storage. It is a daunting task. When the idea came up, straightaway it took me back to the packing up of my house and what a HUGE endeavor that turned out to be. I pitched so much stuff, gave tons to Goodwill, and still had too much when it was all said and done.

I remember that when I first started the packing process in 2006, there was more deliberation about what to keep and what to trash. As the moving deadline got closer, it became more frenzied. I also asked for help from friends. Those people didn't know what to keep and what to pitch, so they packed everything. Naturally. I had two bookcases full of books. There were doubledecked on the shelves with paperbacks. And I has a smaller bookcase that was only two-tiered, but also overflowing. I had books! Now, I have many boxes of books. My mother warned me about this before my step-dad began carting boxes back to the house. It went something like this:

Her: You do realize that books don't fare well in storage.

Me: Um. Yeah.

Her: You are very allergic to mildew and the chances are going to be high that they will be mildewy.

Me: Right. Mildew.

Her: We can try to save the ones you really want to keep by airing them out on the back porch, but you will likely have to get rid of most of them.

Me: Right.

These are the words that a pack rat most dreads. She knew this about me, so we had this conversation several days ago so that it could sink in today. We went through two boxes today. The books weren't as bad off as I expected. However, the space problem remained the same: it is very limited. For the most part, I just sent them to the library. They weren't that mildewy after all. I did catch up with one of my missing Richard Bach books. I will get them all before this is done!

And I found a book called SIMPLE ABUNDANCE: A DAYBOOK OF COMFORT AND JOY by Sarah Ban Breathnach. There is a short read for each day of the year. Today's post hit me right where I lived. I love it when that happens. She was talking about visiting a friend who had made small changes to her living room that spruced it up and made it a real living space. The changes were minor, but they made major changes in their lives. She noticed it immediately when she walked in, but couldn't put her finger on the specifics.

Then she applied what she learned from that to her life. She started talking about her own metaphorical "living room/house" and this is what she said: "The biggest stumbling block for me when I began to bring more order into the daily fabric of our lives - and I began in the living room - was acceptance, even though I knew this was the crucial first step. I'm embarrassed to admit how much time, energy, and emotion (precious natural resources) I squandered hating the fact that our house wasn't more spacious. But hating my house only bound me psychologically and blinded me creatively to its many positive qualities. An ancient metaphysical law says that we can never leave any situation that causes us discomfort until we learn to love it or at least to see love at work in it."

As I said, she nailed that right on the head. That book was published in 1991. How did she know that on this day in 2010 I would be struggling with this very thing? One thing is certain: my space situation isn't changing. In fact, it is going to get worse because there are a lot more boxes coming and the shelves are full. So, Houston, we have a problem.

It is a funny thing. I can clearly see how negative people suck our energy. How long would I have let this book thing string me along with anxiety before I hit my Meltdown switch? Don't know. But I can totally envision it happening. I am not quite sure how I am going to get that place of loving the lack of space. Loving the things it gives and not just seeing what it takes. There is a lesson here. I can feel it, so I know it's important. I refuse to waste my precious natural resources, so that means I can learn to love it, or at least see love at work in it. Those are the only acceptable choices.

So, are you a pack rat or extremely organized? Or an organized pack rat? Do those exist? Are you are reformed pack rat who has shed all of that old stuff? If so, what did that feel like? Would you do it again or do you wish you had your old stuff back?


  1. Ouch! Hit me between the eyes with this one Robin! I'm always complaining because my kitchen is so very tiny and for someone who loves to cook (used to be a chef many years ago), I consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the house. I find myself frustrated so often and thinking - one day I'll have a bigger kitchen and then I'll be able to be more organized. Guess I better stop dreaming about tomorrow and figure out a way to get organized today!

  2. This is a great post! My husband is a oack rat! I'm not, but I am not organized either.
    I LOVE that book, simple abundence. I own it myself.
    I also just think taht is so awesome when you read something that hits home!
    Have a pretty day,

  3. I've moved so many times I've really had to prioritize my life several times. So nope... not a pack rat :)

  4. I only throw away things I REALLY know, passports, degrees, etc...House is really neat and uncluttered...just don't open the cupboards cause it will all fall out on you.

  5. You know, I used to be a pack rat. I've been mending my ways, though I still tend to want to hold on to the things that my kids have outgrown. It's the sentimental in me. Well, that and books. But I like having space. And I hate clutter. So, something has to give.

    So glad you're taking charge of your life and that you feel freed by it.

  6. I tend to let tons of clutter build up and then have a good old blitz to sort it out/get rid of it/bin it/gove it to goodwill. It's a total pain to do, but my goodness, it feels GREAT when it's all done!


You can now add YouTube videos in your comments by copy/pasting the link. AND/OR you can insert an image by surrounding the code with this: [im]code[/im]. In the case of images, make sure that your code is short and simple ending with something like .jpg. If you want to use a pic from someplace like Google Images, click on the image, then click on View Image. That is the code you want!

Dazzle Me!