They say you’re not an empty nester until the kids come claim their stuff. Therefore, these past years of living alone (one year with my sis) mean that even though my kids are grown and gone, I’m still Mom, holding onto their stuff.
Some of that changed last weekend when two of my offspring came down to Monterey to go through those blue Rubbermaid tubs that everyone has in their garages or basements. We Californians have no basements (because we have no tornados), so storage space is at a premium.
A friend of mine owns a storage unit business in Antioch, and the mortgage on it pays for itself with monthly rental fees so people can store their junk. He even sees a profit. Smart guy, that one.
I’m too cheap to rent a storage unit, so I used my beach house garage instead, hauling their tubs little by little these past ten years. Oh, how I miss my Chevy Suburban! But once I hit a teenager with it, I could never bring myself to drive it (she’s fine, but what a scare).
But I digress.
The kids went through two dozen tubs last weekend and tossed, piled, discarded, kept and touched everything inside of them.
We were a crew, one sorting, one getting the next tub down off the stack, and one bagging up to donate. My kid was going so fast (since we were running out of daylight) that I had to go through the donation bags before I gave them away, just in case she threw out something important. Two cars full. There are plenty more bags to be hauled.
Now that I’m 24 tubs lighter, does it mean I might someday park in the garage down there? Maybe not. I still have an extra-long college bunk bed to get rid of, some windows, four bikes, and three dog crates, plus books, holiday stuff, lots of dolls, and so on and so forth.
I blame my OCD for the dolls. I loved dolls as a kid, still have them. I got into an obsessive routine of buying them for a future store or shopping site, but the joke is on me. American girls don’t want dolls anymore, unless they are American Girl dolls.
The good news is that my neighbor goes to Peru or El Salvador every year (except pandemic years) to interpret for a Carmel dentist. He gives free exams, does tooth extractions, and fills cavities. In order to get the people to show up, the team gives them free clothing and toys. She said she’d take the little dolls the next time they go there.
I have many bags to sort through. The big stuffed animals will go to the Goodwill. The small stuffed animals will go to Maria.
It makes us all happy – me for having stored the stuff for so long, my child for knowing someone will appreciate her old toys, and the recipients, who don’t have funds or access to those things.
There aren’t too many good things that have come out of the pandemic (oh, right, a new president), but doing a good clean-out feels great.
That reminds me. I also had a colonoscopy this year.
Here’s to a better 2021, where everyone gets vaccinated (and I don’t just mean Americans, I mean everyone), where thrift stores make a lot of money from my ten-year-delayed donations, and where the children of Peru will have healthy mouths and a bear to cuddle.
Compliments of us, my neighbor and the dentist, of course!