Hello, my name is Jenniphur, and I am a pack rat and daughter of two pack rats whose parents were also pack rats. I married a pack rat, and the pack rat future for my son looks bright.
I was at a friend’s house over the weekend who has a collection of broken sunglasses. I opened my mouth and expressed that the sunglasses would better serve the rest of their life in a landfill, since all but one pair lies lenseless or in other states of disrepair. I learned that the sunglasses will be saved for future use in an art project.
Okay, viable logic, I thought. I have said that SO many times in my life. It didn’t occur to me then, but using broken items for art seems a greener way to go than throwing things in a landfill. In a feng shui sense, I always vote to get rid of stuff in the fastest manner possible. I can always get something back if I need it, either from the thrift store where I donated it or from friends who have their own collections of broken stuff.
That conversation reminded me of all the crap that I have saved for various reasons and all of the crap treasured items my mom has saved. For example, my mom has kept a knitting project that my aunt gave her when she was still married to my dad…and that was over 25 years ago. My mom claimed that she kept it because of the high-quality yarn.
My aunt’s dead now, 10 years this month, one of the world’s biggest losses when that happened. I wondered how much that fact played in my mom’s decision to keep the yarn even longer. I have felt over-sentimental about the things that I have received from people in my life that I loved who have since died, especially from my aunt. I didn’t know a person who didn’t like her, but perhaps I have rose-tinted glasses on.
In true pack rat spirit, passed from generation to generation, I have saved several pair of jeans for my mom to use. She has talked about making a denim, patchwork quilt or blanket for probably 15 years now, if not longer. I thought I would help her by saving my fabric for her and have since kept every, ratty pair of jeans since 1994. I keep them upstairs in my closet in a suitcase, along with a bunch of other worn out, perfectly good for sewing project items.
Now, I tell myself that I’ll make projects out of the the stuff. AND I DON’T EVEN SEW! I can sew, but I have no patience or interest for it. It’s like knitting. That project that my mom has kept for so long from my aunt, she gave it to me to do after she taught me how to knit for the fifth time. After keeping it for 3 or 4 years and not doing anything with it but storing it under my bed, I gave it back to her this past July when she visited. I was never going to do a knitting project, even if my aunt had owned it at one time.
I’m working in my home office today, cleaning it up and organizing and putting away. Every time I do this, I find more stuff that I should have just gotten rid of upon finding it the first time, rather than stuffing it in a bag to deal with later. It’s not that I don’t think that I can move forward with things from my past. It’s that I don’t want static chi in my home. If I have to say, “Oh, yeah…that,” it’s time to make decisions about what I cram my corners with, and yarn or a pink stuffed bunny that my aunt made aren’t what I prefer. I allow myself to keep one item from each past relationship, and it has to trigger positive memories.
It may have been one of the world’s biggest losses when my aunt died. On the flip side, her life represented one of the world’s greatest gains that she could share her creativity with the people in her life. She inspires me to share my creativity and laugh a lot and love many and show it, and that means more than any ball of yarn could.