Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Accumulation

When Steve and I bought our home on East Main Street in New Albany in 1994, we owned only enough possessions to fill one bedroom of this large Victorian house. Our home has, on the first floor, a foyer, a front parlor (which we have repurposed as an office), a dining room, a library, a kitchen, a walk-in pantry, a family room and a bathroom. There is a front staircase and a back-of-the-house servant's staircase. Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms (one with laundry facilities), a long hallway and a large bathroom.

There is also a basement with space to park 2 cars and accommodate a workshop, a large room that houses the furnace, and another room between the two for storage. There is a carriage house behind the main house, with a 2 bedroom apartment upstairs and a 2 car garage below.

Somehow we have managed to fill all those rooms, garages and basement. Honestly, I don't know how. But it's time to purge, and that's what we are preparing to do, as painful and time-consuming as it is. The end result will be a big yard sale early in August.

I've spent the past month going through every room, critically assessing every possession. When did I last use this or even look at it? I've been very surprised at some of the items that have come to light. Yesterday, while sorting through books to sell in the library, I found the original blueprints of the home my parents built in Edwardsville, Indiana, where I grew up. Cost to build in 1955? $13,000.

The reason the blueprints still exist is that my mom saved everything. When she died in 2009, oh, my, the things I discovered tucked away! Every birthday, Mother's Day, Easter and Christmas card I had ever sent her, even the ones my dad had bought and signed for me when I was a baby. Every single note I'd ever written her. All my school drawings and many homework papers. Baby clothes of mine. Pictures of her as a young woman, some of them when she was a patient at the Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatarium in Louisville.

I don't know how long this purge will take. The house and garages are full and many are things we no longer need or use. It'll be a yard sale to beat all yard sales, but if I keep stumbling upon little treasures and forgotten mementos, I don't know if it'll be this August–or next.