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English: Bronzed Baby Shoes

English: Bronzed Baby Shoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve read any of my reading reviews (of course you have!  You’ve got nothing but time to spend right here!), you may have noticed that I read a lot of books on minimalism.  And organizing.  Which I thought meant I was an organized minimalist.

And I’m going through a divorce which, for me, means downsizing.

I spent the first few weeks after being served with divorce papers not eating, seeing lawyers, gathering papers, and generally freaking out.  Then I went to the custody mediation and calmed down a little.  Now I’m looking for a new (and affordable…in southern California) place to live.

The cold, hard truth is I can’t afford a place big enough for me, my kids, our cats, and all our crap.

I thought Voldemort was a pack-rat.  A hoarder.  And he was.  He left behind enough stuff to fill more than 50 moving boxes.  I ran out of boxes and got tired of packing some of the weirder stuff (like replica Viking helmets.  I’m not even kidding.) and just started piling stuff up next to the boxes.  In the 18 months since he moved out, he’s never asked about or tried to get all that stuff.

I’m on an email campaign to get him to deal with it.  I may have to threaten to call 1-800-GOT-JUNK to get him motivated.

So, I knew he was a hoarder.  I just didn’t realize I was one, too.

I don’t have tons of clothes or shoes or replica Viking helmets or kitchen gadgets or even books.  I do, however, have boxes and boxes and boxes of sentimental baby clothes, favorite toddler toys, and what appears to be every scrap of paper any of my kids ever scribbled on.  Dear heaven.  How do I go through all of this and decide what to keep and what to (gasp and grab pearls) throw away?  I’m thinking I’ll take digital photos of the artwork before sending it on to its final reward.  It hurts just to type that sentence.  Even though I haven’t laid eyes on some of it in years, even though none of my kids is Picasso, I don’t want to part with the actual papers.

I think it evokes such strong memories of a time that’s long past, that can never be repeated, so I cling to the paper even more than the memory.  It’s a physical and tangible part of the map to The Land of What Used To Be.  A reminder that all the horror we’ve gone through in the past couple of years isn’t the whole story.  We used to be young.  We were happy once.  There was something wonderful before.

The artwork and baby shoes make the wonderful before real to me.  That favorite Tickle Me Elmo makes my sweet toddler (now ungrateful turd teenager) concrete to me.  Intellectually I see this is silly, but emotionally all those things give me comfort.

Letting go is hard.