Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet.
This was the first time I have attempted such a feat in over ... let's see, we moved in to this house in 1997 and this was the first time I've really cleaned it out since then.
I once read that if you don't use something for three years, you should discard it. Applying that principle yesterday, I had piles upon piles of clothes that I pulled out for Goodwill.
I had a few more piles of clothes that I thought about donating to Goodwill, but then decided to keep, because they looked so good on me when I was able to fit in them 10 years ago, and eventually, I will be back to a weight where I can wear them.
I'm really not a pack rat since I don't have enough space in our small house to neatly store mementos away and I cannot tolerate clutter. Still, there were several things I found in my closet that I had a hard time discarding.
I found the handwritten instructions from our doctor outlining the medication and surgical timing for our third IVF cycle. I don't recall tucking those instructions in to a shoe box, but there they were. Since the third IVF cycle was our charm - I decided to snap off a picture of this handwritten note, for posterity, before I chucked the note in the trash.
I found my Nikon camera. This was a Christmas gift that Charlie gave to me in 1996. For the past three and a half years, it has been on the top shelf of my closet, buried under miscellaneous hats. When I took it out of it's dusty case, and found three rolls of undeveloped film (containing who knows what) and a couple extra rolls of 35 mm film, I was immediately thankful for digital photographic technology.
At the moment, I have 7772 digital pictures on our computer. I also have three shoe boxes full of pictures that have yet to be sorted or placed in photo albums. That doesn't even include the 500+ photographs that I need to go through and organize from our wedding day 13 years ago.
That's right. I still haven't put together our wedding album.
It's on my To-Do list ... along with potty training the triplets, getting a quote from a diaper service (just in case I still have four children in diapers at Christmas), completing our wills and losing enough weight so I can fit in to clothes from 10 years ago.
I'm guessing that I take on average, ten photos a day. It gives me an anxiety attack thinking of how overwhelmed with pictures I would be if I didn't have a digital camera. I have no doubt that we'd be spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment every month on purchasing film and having it developed.
I'd be totally overwhelmed with pictures that are in no particular order and stuffed in to various boxes, with negatives in an entirely different location. Of course I would try to keep all these pictures in order and matched with their negatives, but like oil and water, eventually they would separate.
Then, I'd be holding on to thousands of negatives, wrapped up with a rubber band, that I doubt I'd ever use ... but wouldn't want to throw away, because negatives are one of those things you're never supposed to discard. Like owners manuals. We still have the owners manuals for everything we've ever purchased ... ranging from our VCR (that still flashes 12:00) to our stapler.
Suffice to say, without our digital camera, we'd be missing a lot of photo opportunities because I wouldn't want to waste film. I mean seriously, would I take a picture of Sharpie scribbles on our dining room table* or poop floating in a pool? Or for that matter, a handwritten note regarding my medication protocol for our third round of IVF??
It's quite unlikely.
Although if I didn't have a blog - I probably wouldn't have been taking those pictures, anyway.
During my cleaning spree, I found my dental retainer from when my braces were removed 22 years ago. I soaked it in Listerine for half an hour and when I tried it on, was surprised that it didn't fit me as comfortably as it once did. In fact, I almost broke two of my teeth trying to get it on. I haven't worn this retainer in 21 years, but there was an invisible and impenetrable force preventing me from throwing it in the trash.
Dr. Lewis would be proud.
When I came across the myriad of scented body lotions that I've received over the past 10 years as part of perfume gift boxes, I hesitated. The bottles are so pretty, I suspect they must have been expensive. Even though I haven't yet depressed a single drop of scented body lotion on my body in 10 years, maybe tomorrow I'll be feeling in a dress-up mood, so I decided to hang on to these.
I also decided to hang on to all of my maternity clothes for the same reason I opted to forgo a tubal ligation and scoffed when my doctor proposed a 10 or 5-year IUD, during my appointment last week. There may come a day when my clothes from 10-years ago fit me once again, my teeth are perfectly aligned, our wedding album is complete, we have a functional darkroom, and I smell like a rose.
And just maybe, I might need the spare pregnancy test from the 2-pack that Charlie purchased last October. Because I've decided to hang on to that, too.
*I should have mentioned in my post on Thursday that once I saw Elizabeth & Carolyn's handiwork on our dining room table, I immediately started yelling "WHERE IS THE MAGIC ERASER?! I NEED MY MAGIC ERASER!!!!" Although the Magic Eraser has worked magic on removing Sharpie from our spanish tile floors, when I tried using it to remove the marks from our dining room table, it scuffed the finish. I haven't yet tried hairspray - I'll do that, today. But if that doesn't work, I'm thinking that the Sharpie looks better than scuff marks. So, for the time being (translation: until our children have outgrown this destructive phase or move out of the house - which ever comes first), I've opted to leave it alone. The scribbles in two separate locations, does indeed add a certain degree of character to our cherry table, which was a gift my mother bought Charlie and I when we moved in to our home.