Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cleaning house is a lesson in family history

I am on vacation this week. Everyone asked me where I was going for the week, and I proudly announced, "I am staying home.'

I feel less-stressed simply because I am on vacation. I go to sleep when I want and wake up when I want. But, the real sense of freedom comes in knowing I am cleaning my own house, putting my own life in order. My goal is to save only what I absolutely need, and to give away or toss the rest. And I hope to locate my copies of the Reinwald censuses.

Like most genealogists, writers and artists. I work on projects in spurts, start new projects before others are done, and continue this cycle through books, family histories and genealogical searches. Add to that some research trips, a day job, and real life day to day living, and piles of "stuff" accumulate. I define "stuff" as something important which is a part of what you experienced or know you will need later in your research. I have rooms full of "stuff."

This week, I tackle the "stuff." I have discovered some of it is really good "stuff." While cleaning out a desk, I discovered office and school supplies to outfit two children for three school years. I discovered reams of paper, a key from my house in Tennessee, software for operating systems long past, and all of my credit cards from the 1980s. I saved the best "stuff" and tossed the rest. This desk, long past its Sauder lifetime, will be gone soon thanks to the Chandler Recycling department.

I think I will miss the desk. It sits poised at the entryway of what we always called "Grandma's room." The desk is empty for the first time since 1995, the room empty since June 17, 2010. I know once the desk is out of my house I won't actually miss it, I will simply miss the thought of it being in my mother's room when she was there. She remains in my heart and that is where she belongs. She is not in the desk.

It will take more time than this week to complete, but I feel cleansed just by starting the process.

1 comment:

Frank said...

It's always good to be able to let go of the physical things. It's the memories that are attached to them that are important and that will always stay with you. Great post.