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Q. How do you squish a three story home into a one story mobile home?

A. I don’t know, I was hoping you had the answer. Trust me this is no joke!!

When I said downsize, that’s what I meant. I’ve been traveling around with plastic bins fully of my worldly goods for years; from one move to the next and hardly looking inside. Life has been so busy living it, I’ve hardly had the time to delve into these treasures. I keep telling myself “don’t look, just pack”. I’m an expert at moving by now after all. So we got a storage unit for all my “stuff” which I can sort out at my leisure. HA!

Actually, I have gotten much more organized over the years. Someone once told me that everyone is organized, just in different ways. I organize the ADD way. I keep adding to my collection of plastic bins. I guess they would call me a piler-filer. I just put my stuff in bins. I used to be a bag lady, now I’m into bins and boxes. At least my old stuff is. Now I’m working on getting my current stuff packed.

OK, I know you are aching to know what could possibly be in all of those bins of mine? Na-na-na-na-na. OK, so you really want to know? Some old toys of the kids – super heros, spy gagets, sports cards. Homeschool portfolios for my 2 sons and step-daughter. Memorobilia. And most importantly . . . my brain. Yes, my brain. I have loads of papers, receipts, waranties, magazine articles, curriculum, teaching supplies, newspaper clippings, study sheets, film that I never got developed, drawings, journals, notes, writings, and more writings. If you can print it or I can write it. I can save it. I call it my brain, but it is really my memory. An external hard-drive so to speak.

Lest you think I am totally unorganized, I am not. I’m rather compulsive about organizing, I just don’t have the energy to maintain that compulsion. I have reduced significantly my need to save through the years and actually have been working diligently on my sorting and disposing abilities. And yes, I do have ADD, and I cannot tell you enough how much it empowers me to sort and toss! But I also must file, in my pile. At least my piles have gotten smaller through the years. My husband would like to just toss the stuff, after all, some of that stuff was there in our first marriage! Ohhhh, but he knowwwws better. He is patient and will let me go through it in my time lest he face the wrath of Carla. I know what he is thinking though, remember the old George Carlin spoof on “A Place for My Stuff”. Well, I can assure you that my stuff is good stuff and nothing else! Most importantly it is my stuff.

I am not carrying all of it just place to place, truly I have a place for much of my stuff. Sorting, tossing, helps me. I’m famous for writing Bible verses on notes and saving cards and verses that my friends have given me. I cannot tell you how many times I have come upon them that I have been blessed yet again. So now I am practicing the pondering principle of treasuring things in my heart and forgoing some of the bins. You can’t take it with you after all. I could pass it on, but I know that my kids would break the code of their paper inheritance mystery with one 8 letter solution: d-u-m-p-s-t-e-r.

By now you are probably thinking that I am just an old pack rat. Someone who squirrels away everything I can. Not true. I have really been simplifying over the years. I just haven’t purged “my brain” yet. I have tossed things that I have enjoyed “for a season”. My mother would have conniptions if she only knew. Trust me. I may have 45 years worth of stuff, but she has 20 years on me and two deceased relatives stuff as well – guess what I get to inherit? Well, at least I come by it honorably.

During this move I have rid myself of some extraneous “brain hemmorages” and miscellaneous junk that I have come across. We even had a yard sale. The goal: sell our bedroom dressers and buy a smaller one to better fit our new smaller bedroom. DH said he didn’t need one, he would use plastic bins (HA!!!!) in his closet. So, at the end of our yard sale I took a little ride to the store and lo and behold . . . there it was! A lovely antique dresser and mirror on the front porch of an old dilapidated antique shop right down town. What do you know. I promptly brought my hubby back for him to check it out and he thought it was a good find. When I went inside that place I couldn’t believe it – talk about stuff everywhere. Now there’s a thought, I can wait another few years and just put up a sign “Carla’s Antiques”.

As much as I cherish my little brain bins full of things I classify as sentimental and significant, I have learned to hold many of my earthly treasures with an open hand. One time I moved and had to store many items away. They were stored in a friend’s warehouse who ran a mission to provide things for those in need overseas. When I went to retrieve them a year later I discovered they had been accidently mixed in with the mission boxes. Today, some blessed person in a tent village in Bosnia is sipping from my grandmother’s china teacups. Oh, well. Was I upset for the loss? Of course. But I think I am gladder for the person who might have never had the chance to enjoy something so beautiful.

I have had my losses, perhaps that is why I do hold some things so dearly. My memories, my thoughts, my sanity. The stuff in my bins is salvage. Yet, I can honestly say that I have less storage bins now than when I moved in to this home 4 years ago so at least I am making progress. My brain is getting smaller, and trust me, with my capacity for thinking creatively, that is a good thing. I need to live within my means and that requires fewer bins.

Speaking of progress, I better go finish packing.

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