Cleaning Out

Having lived in our home in Raleigh since May of 1988, we have accumulated a lot of stuff. Mike and I have been cleaning out the past few weeks, and are shocked to find what we have been storing. Well, Mike is probably not as shocked with what he has found, since his items pale in comparison to mine. But even I am shocked at mine. I recommend cleaning out a house every ten years at least, to cull items that are unnecessary duplicates, things that no longer have a place in your life, and clothes, that even if they fit, you will never wear again. Until you do, do not pass judgment on my findings!

In the category of “unnecessary duplicates,” I found that I have 11 candle snuffers! Yes, 11! Why, I do not really know, other than I can see why I bought some of them, for they fit in my “need for beauty” category. But 11? Even I am shocked by this number. I will keep two of them, a sterling one, and a gold one. The rest I will put in my antiques/gifts booth and attempt to sell them. Let me know if I have one you like in the remaining 9, and I will gladly send it your way.  

In one of my china cabinet drawers, I found many white napkins, from three different family events. One napkin is from daughter Tara’s 16th birthday party. Tara is now 47 years old, so I have kept that napkin, as a memory, for more than 31 years! Another set of napkins, of which I have many, is from cousin Paula’s wedding, which occurred in July of 1994, more than 27 years ago! “Cousin” does not adequately describe Paula’s relationship with Mike and me. We “raised” Paula for several years, and served as “parents” in her wedding. Even so, we did not need those napkins to remind us of any of this. Maybe we could have kept one as a memory, but this stack? The third memory napkin is from Mike’s Ph.D. graduation party in 2000, almost 23 ago. In the photo, you can see that we have enough of those napkins for another large party!

Mike had many vinyl records housed in his end of our master bedroom closet, records that have not been played at all during our marriage. We married in April of 1984, so those records have been using prime real estate for almost 38 years! While I still have the candle snuffers and napkins to deal with, most of Mike’s vinyls are already in the antique shop and three have already sold! We did keep a few for us and a few for our grandchildren, but the rest are where they need to be, to be bought and enjoyed by others. Now if Mike could just let go of his Boy Scout blanket and sleeping bag!

I have 65 china turkey plates, and it is unlikely we will ever need more than twenty (if even that many) again. The plates and all of the trappings that went with them were enjoyed (at least by me!) as we hosted Thanksgiving in our home in Raleigh for most of our married years. Now that Thanksgiving duties planning and execution are the responsibility of the younger generation, who hosted our gathering this year at the beach, I should sell at least 45 china turkey plates. This past Thanksgiving we had a delicious Thanksgiving meal with paper and plastic, which is the style of those now in charge.

We have not even made it to the two attics yet! Most of what is in those has not been needed or used since we moved into our home in 1988. So hopefully any desire to keep any of that will be replaced by the feeling of freedom of letting it all go.

You are probably amazed at what Mike and I have been housing and not using for so many years. But before you gloat, do a quick inventory of your stuff, and see what is lurking in your cabinets and drawers. Out of sight out of mind.

About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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