I tackled the garage this month. (Don’t worry, I wore a dust mask!). Where there was formerly just a pile of unidentifiable junk in the center of the garage, now the space where a car should be is filled with items for the garage sale in April. Which means…in a few weeks I should be able to park my car in the garage for the first time in over five years!!!
Halfway through the sort…the pile did reach as high as the top of the shelving units!
A lot of the center junk pile was empty boxes from Christmas gifts. Why do little children’s toys (and grown-up toys like cameras and food processors) come in such gigantic boxes with so much interior packaging that NEVER fits back inside? I hadn’t dealt with any of the boxes in case something needed to be returned. Well, and also because I just don’t deal well with clutter. Obviously. Since the return periods had expired for most of the items, I was able to get rid of all but two of the boxes. Even though I tried for a more minimal Christmas with my son (I limited Santa to eight gifts), between the generosity of my family and my husband’s, it was SO. MUCH. STUFF. In fact, there are still unopened gifts downstairs waiting for a rainy day. Other than the boxes, after sorting and tossing and prepping for the garage sale, I can’t recall much of what was in that pile that had haunted me for years.
What I can tell you was in the garage was Christmas décor. Lots of it. FIFTEEN bins and boxes of it. When we got married, I couldn’t wait to decorate my Christmas trees. That’s right, trees. Growing up, my best friend’s mother had a themed tree in EVERY room. Parlor, family room, foyer, kitchen, bathroom, every bedroom. It was a nine year old’s dream come true, and fast-forward fifteen years, it still seemed like an awesome idea. So I began collecting vintage ornaments: red for my living room tree, pink for my guest room tree, gold for my bedroom tree and silver for my kitchen. At some point, I decided to start decorating with vintage reindeer, too. When my son was born, I decided I had to have a red and lime green tree. Oh, and a brown and white tree for his nursery. Never mind that in eight Christmases in this house, I have succeeded in putting up two decorated trees just three times. So did I put everything up but two trees worth for sale? Um, no. I got it down to nine bins, which in my mind is almost half.
I feel like I’m working against myself. I love big, huge Christmas mornings, but not the yards of wrapping paper, extra boxes, and excess toys that come with it. I love the idea of a Christmas tree in every room, but not the reality of unpacking, decorating, cleaning, and storing all of the things that make that possible. So how do I reconcile my fantasy self with my actual stuff?
~ Alexis Rowland Mattingly