Before leaving my parents and heading back to my own home again, I decided to clean out "under the stairs".
It must first be pointed out that "under the stairs" cannot just be said in a normal, conversational tone of voice. "Under the stairs" requires a "doom and gloom", slightly forbidding, "certain destruction is in store" sort of voice. Thus the quote marks.
My parents moved into this house the same week I found out I was pregnant with Canaan. Andy and I were stationed at Beale AFB, way out in California, but came home for the house warming party. I think I may have claimed "under the stairs" starting that very weekend... No one else wanted it - truthfully! Dust rains down onto everything stored there every time anyone uses the stairs (which is every single day). But my stuff was safe, and out of the way, so I was happy. Over the past seven years, the stash "under the stairs" has been growing. First it was just a couple boxes of my childhood toys - the really special ones that I didn't want mom to get rid of - and my grandma's depression glass dishes that I was saving for later. Then a couple boxes of college memories were discovered, and stuffed under there.
Soon after, Andy's parents declared that he had to clear out all his junk from their basement. So, one weekend when we were home on leave from CA, we just boxed it up and transferred it from their basement to my parent's basement.
When Andy deployed the first time my parents finished one room in the basement for me to stay in. When I went back to CA, more stuff stayed "under the stairs".
When he went to Korea for a year, a bathroom, second bedroom and living room were added to the basement. Zion was born, baby clothes were used, and once again, items were stuffed "under the stairs".
Iraq - home again. Older kids. More toys, outgrown clothes....
So, here we are, now.
Man, I wish I had taken a picture of it BEFORE I started cleaning.
But, here it is all straightened and finished. You couldn't even move back here before I started.
Back to the story though.
First, I will just remind you that my children are 6 and 3 1/2. With that said, I found "under the stairs" a highchair, bouncy seat, entire crib bedding set, about 2 dozen bottles (which my children never used, since they nursed exclusively) a breastmilk pump (which was also pretty much never used, since they seemed to think that breast milk was only good when it came straight from the source), a ziploc baggie of pacifiers, and an entire rubbermaid container of 12 and 18 month clothes - but only 12 and 18 month clothes, no other sizes.
There were also lots of baby toys, etc., all of which have been sent to the yard sale pile which is currently taking up an entire third of the garage.
Next I conquered the box titled "college memories". That was an emotional roller coaster rider there! Mostly I was reminded of really good times - I had some really great friends, many of whom I have kept in touch with.
Even the bad memory, the one letter that I had kept that was full of anger and hurt and accusations - truthfully I can't even say that I can call it completely a bad memory. I made the right choice.
And oh, the things in that box that made me LAUGH!!!
However, lots of them ended up here....
I decided that I really didn't need every single note written to me during class. Nor every single paper I wrote during my entire college career.
Nor, once I kept digging into rubbermaid containers did I need the 24 "welcome new baby" cards that my mother had kept from the time of my birth.
Nor every single birthday card I had ever received EVER for my entire life. Or Christmas card, Thanksgiving card, Valentine, Easter card and even St. Patty's Day card.
If it was just a card, with a name and no note, I threw it away.
If it had a note, (or was from one of my grandparents) I kept it.
Simple as that.
Remember me talking about how my grandmother sends coupons in her cards? She has been doing that for years, and I have proof.
I ended up emptying out four rubbermaids and several cardboard boxes. I filled that entire trashbag with old cards and letters.
More importantly, I spent several hours going through and looking at the things that actually are important.
I reread several letters from two of my best friends from childhood. Naomi, Lara, You two could each fill a shoebox by yourselves! Lara, Melissa, the pooh box still had marshmellows in it - however, I did finally throw them away, because they were disgusting. I took a huge bite of "sugar free", in fond memory.
I got filthy digging around in dust and cobwebs, and I found some really random stuff (cheap boxed valentines packed in a box with cheesy Christmas decorations and a really nice stained glass nativity set) (why?) but I had a blast.
Now I will just have to get Andy to go through his half....