We have our annual neighborhood garage sale coming up next weekend so I spent last weekend pulling items to include in the sale. I don't typically hold onto items once they no longer serve an immediate purpose because storage is a premium in these parts. My five kids share two closets. We don't have a linen closet or a coat closet. We don't even have a pantry. How those details slipped by us when we found this house is beyond me. I think the awesome view out back and large bonus room upstairs clouded our judgement. In truth, the house isn't to blame for my refusal to hold onto things though. I am not a pack rat. I grew up a military brat, moving all the time. My mom was the original purger of all things unnecessary. She raised me well, although I suspect there were some seasons (the teen years) when she doubted she'd ever visit my house. I remind myself of this memory before entering the bonus room these days. The girls who live up there are messy.
So this weekend, I determined to clean out my closet because it is the one catch all location in the house. I knew there was quite a bit in there that needed to find it's way out of the house. I was prepared to make firm purging decisions. I was not prepared to be emotionally sideswiped.
My mom brought a few items from my grandma's sewing room when she put Grandma's house on the market last year. I wasn't prepared to deal with those items at the time so I placed them in my closet. Sorting through her fabric squares, each color separated by individual baggies, with her notations on post it notes in her handwriting hit me hard. I had all these little squares, literally hundreds of them sitting in my lap and had no clue what to do with them. So I sat and cried. It was the most mature thing I could do at that moment and for several afterward. I miss her. God I miss her. She had a way of saying things that sounded sharp but was direct and to the point. She raised six kids so she didn't mix words and told it how she saw it. Frankly, I appreciate her kind of honesty. It's rare. As if it weren't enough to sort through her items, smelling like her house and reminding me of her handmade pillows, I also ran across old photos of each of my grandparents holding my babies and even a few of them with a very young me. It was a tough process to work through.
I eliminated a closet full of stuff; none of it mattering much once I made it through Grandma's things. I have far more to sell than I originally thought I would but I still have Grandma's box. It isn't time to remove it; except for a few fabric squares. They created an opportunity for Kate and I to practice quilting this weekend. She chose her favorites from Grandma's pre-cut pieces and learned how to thread a needle, sew small straight stitches and lay out a basic quilt top. She's been hard at work the last few days. Grandma would be pleased.