Spring cleaning took on a little more urgency for me this year. It actually started in December when we put our house on the market. It took a big initial cleanse and discipline to keep everything orderly just in case there was a showing. It made me wonder if I should retain interesting ideas from the past.
When I was in school I remember a science class where the theme described a universe constantly moving toward greater disorder. I’ve never gotten over the lesson and have lived in a state close to chaos ever since.
I don’t know if I would live differently if I hadn’t heard about entropy, but I may not have a way to defend the lack of order as well in my logical mind. I hear George Carlin’s comedy routines about ‘stuff’ playing in my head.
I’m reminded of how much stuff we have whenever I walk down the stairs to the basement, but it seems to multiply when a person has to move it. We gave away good items and took a couple of loads of trash to the dump but it didn’t seem to make much difference.
When I left university two decades ago everything I owned fit in a compact car with room to spare. In the last couple of months I filled my mid-size car to capacity twice and donated the items to a local second hand store.
Moving into a smaller place meant making choices and sometimes I felt like just taking the family, finding a camper van and abandoning everything else.
Going through boxes was difficult and I’m sure I’ll always have boxes set aside no matter how settled I am. Sifting through papers and keepsakes took time especially when I found photographs.
I should have kept them all together but the pictures were treasures taking me to different stages of my life and into the spaces shared with people who are no longer with us. Being scattered throughout the piles of stuff they were surprises and connections for me reminding me of good times with family and friends.
During the busiest part of our move we attended two funerals. Both were for men who were planning to slow down and both died suddenly. It didn’t matter how much stuff they had, what mattered was the people they touched.
The ceremonies were different but both men left behind beautiful families who weren’t ready to let them go.
I don’t seem to want to let go of anything at all, but I’d much rather let go of some old stuff than the people around me who touch my heart.