Pack Rats!

It truly is amazing what one can accumulate over the years. Before and since our move we have been sifting through our belongings in an effort to reduce the bulk and fit into our new home. This exercise has turned up some interesting, some ridiculous, some wonderful and some odd things.

One of my first goals was to get my husband to toss out some of his magazines. We have been toting these boxes of ancient Outdoor Sports, Guns and Ammo and Black Belt magazines around for years. We just keep putting the boxes up and he never ever reads those magazines again. So, when he agreed to sift through these boxes, I thought, “Hallelujah!”

In the weeks since, I have observed him doing just that. Well, I thought so anyway. He definitely has gone through each box. He definitely has been rereading articles because he keeps reading bits and pieces out loud to me. I have the sneaking suspicion, however, that not one magazine has hit the trash.

I, on the other hand, no longer keep magazines. I’ve been taking Better Homes and Gardens for thirty years. Back in the mid-eighties I finally went through them and clipped articles. They are filed in one of my filing cabinets by improvement area—garden, storage, decorating, windows, kitchens, etc. I’ve been patting myself on the back for that accomplishment for many years.

I only have 2 filing cabinets, but as we moved, I realized that there were all sorts of cardboard file boxes in the attic. I have dutifully checked all those boxes as well and can report that the three boxes of stationery (printed but never sold) will be donated to the Maxeys Woman’s Club for a fund raising effort. (Maybe someone will buy them for a good cause: I certainly couldn’t make a profit on them!)

I tossed out tax paperwork from 1992 to 1994 from two businesses and got rid of two more boxes. I finally burned that box of English 101 student essays that I have been carrying around for twenty years (I did use my students’ paragraphs at one time in a grammar book I wrote—about twenty years ago!)

I culled specific files of out-of-date materials from the career counseling box and from the writer’s box (a list of writers’ agents from 1982 really isn’t very helpful nowadays). I finally threw away my set of Décor picture framing magazines (guilty as charged—those I didn’t clip but, alas, kept whole).

I’ve definitely attempted to reduce our book collection. I gave an encyclopedia-type set to my granddaughter that dated from the ‘70s. I gave a full box to the Potter’s House. And then last weekend while unpacking some boxes, I was able to toss out 3 more books, including a second edition copy of Sound and Sense, a standard English text used in Georgia back in the 60’s and 70’s, because I had a third edition, also. Later I found that same text in Tommy’s room—he claims there’s an important poem in that book and he “might” check my third edition for it. Foiled again.

I’m going to break down that 386 and the old 486 computers for parts. I needed to use one of the 14″ monitors I had stuck away and found that both weren’t working any longer. More trash.

We’re still trying to sell that exercise bike I committed to five or six years ago. And now… now, we have extra things to sell as well that came with this house.

Of course, I still have pieces of lumber, tin, and plastic pipe, not to mention all the odd bits and pieces I inherited from Daddy’s workshop when he died. For some reason, his pack rat tendencies might have been passed on to me in that area.

Late Sunday I was sifting through paperwork in my office, working hard at organizing and cleaning up, when I found our greeting card stash. I’ve always kept the greeting cards Tommy and I exchange, but I hadn’t really looked at them like this before. Much to my delighted surprise, I discovered three-not two-three anniversary cards from Tommy—all identical, saying he would marry me again. He must have meant it! As I was chuckling over his self-claimed poor memory, I found 2 identical Valentine cards from me two years in a row. Oh, dear.

In our invitations for our frog/prince/princess theme wedding I wrote “Please, we are the prince and princess of pack rats: no gifts—we’ve got no space.” Was I right or what?

Let me see, I think this weekend I’m going to trash those extra picture frame pieces I hauled off when Danny Fullerton moved his shop down to Greensboro. I think.