So a few months ago, I shared a bit of the journey we were going through - cleaning out my aunt's garage containing a time capsule of 10 years of my stuff, my dad's stuff, her stuff, and my mom's.
This was quite the undertaking. Years ago, Gus and I thought - Man, if we only had a good afternoon or two to go through that stuff! Hah! More like seven full days of 8 hour work, spread across multiple months.
We had many adventures in the process of sorting through everything. Like discovering the whole box of the Berenstain Bears books my dad used to read me, or finding both my mom's diplomas (high school and college) and my parent's marriage certificate.
Not to mention priceless treasures like "Home Alone 2" on VHS - a movie I probably watched 50 times as a kid.
We found all kinds of stuff. Some we kept for sentimental purposes (not the walkman if you're wondering) but the great majority we donated or had to get rid of as unusable junk. It took some arranging but we were able to fill half an entire truckload for Salvation Army with some wonderful things I enjoyed as a little girl. I kept a few things but I feel good knowing some things went to another little girl to enjoy now.
Speaking of some of the junk, what you see below is just a fraction of the paint cans we found and had to let dry out so we could safely throw them away. Some we even had to haul out to the sketcho hazardous waste drop-off.
As a Christmas gift, I had this photograph printed for my dad and aunt. I hope we can hang it in the garage as a reminder to never let it get this insane again...
So, without further ado/further art...
I give you the complete Big Garage transformation!
Oh man, look you can fit a car in there!! It's kind of amazing that we got rid of SO much furniture, SO much stuff, and yet... there's still a lot of stuff here. At least it's organized. We bought three storage racks and copious file boxes to keep everything straight and in some kind of order.
Here's a closer look at the newly usable garage.
So how do I feel? In the end, I'm so relieved. Do you know that feeling you get when you finally deal with something that's been on your mind for more than a decade? That thing that you'll never know when you can just finally deal with it. It's like that - finally being free of that.
I'm really grateful that I had Gus's help and partnership in making this happen. It was an amazing thing to sort through my entire childhood with him and have him be so incredibly helpful and critical to the success of such an undertaking.
I'm grateful that I could say goodbye to some things and move on. I'm happy that I kept some things because of what they meant to me. Ultimately, this really showed me yet again that life is a choice everyday, something to be experienced, not thrown in a pile. Keep things for a reason, declutter for a reason - but all for a reason.
I'm not entirely done when it comes to my mom's stuff, but this was a very important step. I'm grateful for every piece of paper I found with her handwriting on it, for seeing her yearbooks I didn't know we had, and for making new memories with her this way even though she's no longer here. In the end, there was a reason I needed to wait ten years to do this - so I could really appreciate it and take it with me in the years ahead.