I'm a pretty sentimental person. I hold on to ticket stubs, postcards, greeting cards, little drawings that Monkey Man has done, stuff like that. Hidden at my parents' house in one of the drawers in my old room is a shoebox full of old love letters from two of my boyfriends that were written back in my late teens/early twenties. I fully admit that it's hard for me to throw these things away. Over the years, though, I have developed a system for what was being kept and what was being tossed and so far it's kept me from drowning in crap.
Back when I was pregnant and was put on partial bedrest, things at our house rapidly got way out of control. It was so bad when I came home from the hospital that my parents spent two days helping shovel the mess out - and even then, our bedroom was so bad that you could barely walk through it (and I was too embarrassed to let them in to clean it up). I decided that I had reached the end of my patience and decided that we were hiring a housekeeper to come weekly. The principle behind the housekeeper is that I'm one of those people that is mortified to have anyone see my clutter, so I keep the house picked up and straight knowing that Reyna is coming every Thursday.
The biggest problem is that my husband, who is a wonderful person, is a descendent from a long line of packrats. If you were to walk into his parents' house, you would be completely overwhelmed by the amount of crap packed into 1200 square feet of space. At one point, I was in their bathroom which has a magazine rack in it, and out of curiosity I started going through the magazine rack to see what all was in there. And believe it or not, there was a magazine from 1985 in there. I'm sorry, but that's just WRONG on so many levels I don't even know where to start.
Their entire operating philosophy is "I might need this someday." A roll of electrical tape with one inch of tape left on it and no electrical projects on the horizon? Keep it. A broken wooden spoon? Keep it - you never know when you might need it for...something. Pieces and parts for a lawnmower they haven't owned in 15 years? Yeah, better keep that too. I swear to God that when they ever move out of that house (not to mention the three sheds and one house on their farm that are all full of crap too) we might as well just set a match to the damn place because it will take the rest of our lifetimes to get rid of all that junk.
It makes me crazy because Joey is the same exact way. The top of his little dresser in our bedroom is covered in receipts, spare change, and little crapola he's picked up here and there. I bought him one of those little dresser-top organizers and it's actually sitting in his closet, unused. When we moved from our last house, the garage was filled on one side with little scraps of wood, wire, and miscellaneous stuff that he had stashed away because he figured he'd need it one day. MacGyver he is not - the guy can function just fine but honestly what in the hell he planned on doing with all that rusty wire and stuff I have no idea. We filled up a trailer-load of that crap and took it to the dump.
I've even been sneaky enough to take the times when he's out of town and go through his stuff and weed out the crap. I swear to God, the last time I did that I found a receipt from a lunch he had at Applebee's in 1997. That must've been some lunch for him to hold on to that receipt.
When we moved into our new house I promised myself that I wouldn't let things get junky...I had finally gotten our last house whipped into better shape the year after Monkey Man was born, and since we threw a lot of the shit away when we moved it was like having a new, clean slate. Well, this weekend I was out in the garage looking for something and came to the realization that Packratitis has set in already in the garage and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's in our home office as well.
Do they have a vaccine for Packratitis? Because if they don't, I am going to end up beating him with some pieces of scrap wood wrapped in rusty wire. It's not like I don't have any to work with.