a lifetime abundance of CRAP

sorabji.com: Do you have any regrets?: a lifetime abundance of CRAP

By wisper on Saturday, December 7, 2002 - 08:26 pm:

    i'm a pack-rat, always have been.
    Now i'm paying for it, as i resolved to spend this weekend (and possibly many more weekends, as long as it takes) to help my mother clean house.

    So i finally have to clear out my old bedroom. I never cleaned my bedroom as a child. At 7 i stopped being able to open my closet door (i opened it finally at 14, much crap fell out, and i closed it again.) Most people don't know that there's a desk in there. I grew up in this house and most of my life here was spent having only a foot-wide path to my bed from the door. It remained that way when i moved out, and being to busy in college to come clear it up, it stayed that way. While i was in college they used what little free space there was in there( mostly just the bed) as a sort-of laundry folding and x-mas decoration storage room. My sister cleaned her room and put most of her old toys in there. Before i arrived, they had managed to get her shit out, so now the rest is my problem. And it is a PROBLEM.
    Why do i keep all this stuff? I can still find homework from grade 5 in there. Notes i wrote but never sent in highschool. This insane story i wrote in grade 8. A bee i made out of egg carton on my first day of school ever. Pogs. I found fucking pogs, even though i never liked pogs and was much too old for them when they were popular. ALF shit.
    And even though i want to keep some of this stuff, where the hell will i put it? I have too much crap already at my actuall house, and i really want my parents to be able to finally use this room. I feel bad.

    what am i going to do with all this shit?! It's been 5 hours in there and i'm not even IN the desk yet, i just cleared the top off. fuck. My emotional bond with these things has to wear off someday, right? Why do i have so many Kinder toys? Why do i have the entire contents of my gr9 locker? I WANT TO LET GO!!!
    I want to be someone else, someone neutral so i can just pull drawers out, dump them straight into the trash and move on.

    but i can't.


By Ophelia on Saturday, December 7, 2002 - 10:46 pm:

    haha, pogs. i remember those, one of those things that the other kids had and i didn't so i wasn't cool. but they were so damn stupid! those were one of the things that made me start thinking as a kid about whether it was so important to have what other people had.

    as for the room, mine in high school was the same way, same little path to the bed. my light switch is near the door, so i would look at the floor, figure out what i needed to step over and where was safe to step, and memorize the path to my bed before turning off the light.
    my parents made me clean it last summer before i left for college, and it was like re-living my life. stuff like pogs i threw away. stuff like what i wrote in 8th grade got put in cardboard boxes in the basement. permanent storage. i'll probably never open those boxes again (or maybe i will, someday when i'm looking for someting or just lonely), but either way its nice to know they are there.

By dave. on Saturday, December 7, 2002 - 11:42 pm:

    you haven't needed this stuff for how long? get rid of them while you still can. do not walk out of that place with more than 3 paper case sized boxes. toss the rest and don't look back. i guarantee you that you won't even look at the shit in those boxes in the next 5 years.

    there was a time in my life when i could (and did) fit everything in a pick-up. now . . . aw jeez, it's such a clutter. by myself, i'm naturally spartan and tidy. here, it's so overwhelming that i give up and withdraw. i go stand out in the garage and stare at the mess for hours because i don't even know where to begin. it makes me contract in every way.

By wisper on Saturday, December 7, 2002 - 11:57 pm:

    i found more pogs.
    and a Wayne's World hat. That was sweet.

    it's true, it is like i'm re-living my life, in reverse, starting with 1996. I'm digging in a time warp.

    i tried to play with the pogs. Since i never liked them anyway, (they were probably a gift from some clueless family member) i forgot how. My sister tried it as well, with no luck. So you whip the plastic one down and try to flip them over, then the fliped over ones you get to keep?
    I don't know.
    In 20 years someone, somewhere will be doing the same thing in their room, but with Beyblades.

    The best part of cleaning has been finding the drawings that my crazy ex (the one who is dying) did for me, because i know he put a lot of carefull work into them, some of them clearly took hours to finish.
    and then i rip them up. I've trashed at least 5 by now. I recognize that this is one of the truly cruel things to do, but fuck karma.
    Butt-fuck Karma.
    I'd like to think that if any of my artwork got ripped up or destroyed this way, i could feel it. I imagine it would be like getting kicked in the balls. Especially the pieces that took 12+ hours or more. I have paintings and pastels that i'd run into a burning building for.

    Anyway, it feels like i'm ripping up little parts of him. Juvenile, but quite a payoff.

    i found a Gremlins pencil case. Think it's worth anything?

By wisper on Sunday, December 8, 2002 - 02:05 am:

    thank you dave. i knew you would slap some smart into me, you art so wise.

By dave. on Sunday, December 8, 2002 - 02:29 am:

    crap, i don't ever expect anyone to actually heed my advice. scared of that burden. . .

By wisper on Sunday, December 8, 2002 - 05:10 am:

    i'm finding a lot of things that raise questions.
    I found my tiny gold cross on a tiny gold chain, the hallmark neclace of every good Catholic girl. How long did i wear that for?
    My dad's mom probably gave it to me as a baby. She was, at one time, a nun. We got her rosary collection when she died.
    Mom says i should keep it.
    I don't want it, but i don't want to trash it either. I also don't want anyone else to get it, like spreading a lie and all that stereotypical stuff. Maybe i should bury it in the garden or something. For a moment i thought of having it melted down at a goldsmith and changed, that seems wrong too.
    I don't think giving it to my mom for safe keeping would be good either, my dad would notice it one day and i think it would upset him. Dad kept us in catholic school and running through the motions of church and communion and confirmation and all that creepy archaic stuff, as a kid i just thought he was real keen on jesus but it became apparent when i got older that he was mainly doing it out of duty to his dead mom. Then when mom had a brain aneurysm, that was the year he didn't drag us to church for christmas, or any year after that. I didn't even make the connection until mom brought it up. It all fits together now, why would god do that to him? What kind of god does that? So he gave up.
    He still gets angry if i 'take god's name in vain', but he's not defending god anymore. He's sticking up for his mom.

    wow, cleaning things really makes you think.

    the cats are helping me clean, as cats often do. They sit on the bed and watch me. They're very confused by me, i must smell like mommy but i'm NOT mommy. The oldest one (the abused and rescued one with heavy anxiety problems) has been most helpfull. He jumped on the bed, curled in a ball and puked right on the covers. The fresh-from-the-dryer, "Welcome Home!" covers. Then he ran off.
    He is so helpfull.

By moonit on Sunday, December 8, 2002 - 04:41 pm:

    I woke up to cat vomit this morning. Over the bedspread and on the floor.

    I'm surprised I slept thru the cat doing it, but I don't remember waking up.

    Molly was very unhappy with us for leaving her without a way to get into the house for one night.

    Its payback time mum and dad. hahahahaha.

    that cat is evil

By Miss priss on Sunday, December 8, 2002 - 07:22 pm:

By Joe on Monday, December 9, 2002 - 01:16 am:

    wisper, don't you think all these posts explained why all this stuff was important? i have artifacts from my childhood (circa 8th grade or 14 years old) that speak very clearly about who i was then and who i am now. i think it's all good.

By dave. on Monday, December 9, 2002 - 02:27 am:

    so she's supposed to schlep this stuff around for the next 40 years? i'm not really one to offer advice in this area. i have a small box of old class pictures, spelling bee awards, and some report cards from elementary school. i tossed all my yearbooks from middle school and high school long ago. that neighborhood on memory lane was condemned and razed. i have a couple pictures of girlfriends from high school but nothing else. the only reason i keep those are because they fit in that small box but i could easily toss them and not even flinch. i don't even think of that person i was back then as me. it's like looking at someone else's stuff.

    if that stuff's important to you, you'd better keep it. otherwise, cast it off and move on.

By wisper on Monday, December 9, 2002 - 05:30 pm:

    yep, it is important to keep it. SOME of it. Not a whole room @ my parent's house and half my current bedroom full of it. I don't think i'll be missing the failed math test in gr.7 or the Girl Guide shit. Definetly not the girl guide shit.
    But i can't throw out stuffed toys. I know their names and everything. They seem to cry at me when i think of it. Why can't my friends or even enemies hurry up and have kids so i can unload these things on them??
    Anybody want a pink stuffed puppy? His name is Fred. He's kinda melancholic, but nice to hug.

    In the end, a whole corner of the room was cleared with an overflowing box for Goodwill, another for paper re-cycling and 4 garbage bags. The corner was all mom wanted free to set up some stained glass workspace. All that from 3 square feet. This is why i can't keep all this shit. There's 4 more corners to go!

    Mom kept running around appologizing for 'making me do this' but, fuck. It's their house. I can't leave it suspended in time like a tomb to my childhood, nice as that would be. Right? right. I kept a lot of pathetic notes from highschool, those are always hillarious. SO like, 2 boxes of meaningfull shit survived. Some of it involves Mr.T! I think that's pretty good. For me anyway.

    And guess what. I found a "time capsule" that i made for myself that said DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 2002. That's pretty fucked up. I haven't opened it yet. I'm scared.
    And my spelling was just as bad then.

By moonot on Monday, December 9, 2002 - 07:25 pm:

    Open IT! Open ITTTTT!

    And post the contents.

    My friend Jules has all the notes I passed her in classes. Some of them make no sense. In fact, I'm surprised we survived.

By Hal on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 08:41 am:

    I love crap.

By Lapis on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 01:39 pm:

    You would.

By Hal on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 05:56 pm:

    Well of course I would, who doesn't love crap?

By Lapis on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 08:35 pm:

    Let me get back to you on that.

By Nate on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 10:41 pm:

    you kids are so cute.

By Hal on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 10:46 pm:

    Damnit... If I'm so damn cute, then I shouldn't be single...

    oh wait.

    its because I like crap.

By Joe on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 01:29 am:

    the old crap is interesting because some of it came from people that seemed so smart at the time but didn't "turn out" to be what everyone thought they would be. there was guy in my grammar school who could speed-read before it was cool, and whose essays were so "adult" that we all thought he would end up being a first rate novelist. he did not. he lives in the house in which he grew up and inherited from his parents. his younger brother lives there with him. no judgment,...just an observation.

By Dougie on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 03:02 am:

    Keep your shit. It's what was you. I've got all my shit. I love looking back at it. I'm drunk as hell right now, but that makes no nevermind. Keep your shit.

By sarah on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 11:46 am:

    wisper, this is what i would do (but keep in mind that i get rid of everything):

    Make three piles.

    Pile #1: everything in this pile, your answer should be a definitive "yes" to all of the following questions

    -Do I want it?
    -Do I need it?
    -Do I absolutely have to have it?

    Pile #2: everything in this pile, your answer should be "maybe" to any or all of the same questions.

    Pile #3: everything in this pile, your answer should be a definitive "no" to at least one of the questions.


    Keep everything in Pile #1.

    Ditch everything in Pile #3 immediately. Dump it or donate it and don't look back. (If you donate it, get a receipt and take the write-off.)

    Think about everything in Pile #2.

    Divide Pile #2 into three more piles.

    Pile #2a should be things that you want but don't need (keep this pile around for a while until you realize that you really can toss it).

    Pile #2b should be things you don't need but might want to have in the future to give away to decendents or other people who would find value in them.

    Pile #2c should be things that deep down you know you can live without. Toss these things.

    Good luck!

By agatha on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 06:41 pm:

    that would take me like a month to complete.

    i vote for making everything tidy and putting it into boxes, which you then tape shut and store in an attic somewhere, to be revisited in about ten years.

By wisper on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 08:47 pm:

    yeah sarah, that's a little more than a weekend's work for me. But you're better at this than i am.

    But that is the logical thing to do, and if you fast-forward that into quick glances and the odd pause to read an old letter or grab my sister to mock her old school photos...that's what i did. Not 'piles' so much as me tossing things behind me (with a digging motion) into the general direction of a box, a trash can and the floor. Trying not to hit the cats. Cleaning is brutal, It always looks worse before it looks better. With one small box to go home with me (the wayne's world hat!) and a larger one for the closet at home, maybe i'll trash more out of that box at x-mas. I hope.

    The time capsule was pathetic. It was a taped-up sketchbook stuffed with old letters to myself (or "future me" as i addressed them) and pictures of shit i wish i didn't remember. From grade 6 and 7. It's funny looking at old pictures and knowing what happened to people, the girl who tried to kill herself in highschool looks so happy then, but she did make it to law school. the boy i had a crush on for like 5 years in elementary school is a crack dealer now, last i heard.
    I sure can pick 'em.
    And the drawings were just.....god.
    I made the mistake of opening it in front of the boy and some room-mates. I knew it was a mistake. The weird thing is that i couldn't draw dolphins then, and i still can't now. Page after page of warped, retarded dolphins and other than a more realistic tailfin, if i drew a dolphin now it would look exactly the same. Dolphins are a fucking bitch to draw, you know.

By Jascofield on Monday, November 8, 2004 - 08:14 am:

    WISPER, I know the last time you wrote here was Dec of 02' but do you still have that pencil case?????? if so please email me ....jascofield@taconic.net

By wisper on Monday, November 8, 2004 - 06:40 pm:

    well, isn't that neat :)


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