Stuff Happens....

Stuff Happens....

There is a lot of STUFF involved in parenting 3 teenage boys.

A lot of it is food. Around $1,000 a month of food, at least. Then there are the paper products. There can never be enough tissues for winter. Or paper towels for spills.

I do a lot of STUFF for my sons, husband, and parents. Like shopping at Target for lots of things. My cart often overflows and I feel sorry for the clerk in the lane I choose. One did tell me that she liked big orders, though. That made me feel good. Most customers see my cart, raise their eyebrows, and move quickly to another lane. I try to wisely manage this weekly shopping by using a Target Red Card, which gives me 5% back on EVERYTHING. I saved $430 in 2012. I also clip coupons. If I add my coupon savings on top of that, my total savings would be well over $600. This is good.

I stopped buying a lot of STUFF I don't need. This too, is good.

So there is STUFF I have to do, like shopping. I get that. It is tiresome.

Then there is STUFF I store.

This is not good.

There is too much STUFF in our basement storage room. It is very tiresome.

I am overwhelmed this week as I try to put away my Christmas decorations. It sure seemed fun and easy to take them out in late November. Now putting all the STUFF back is a major headache. Nothing seems to fit. I need to get rid of that to fit this. How did I squeeze the tree under there? And to think I almost bought a second 6-foot artificial tree. I am so glad I didn't.

Entering this storage room feels like I'm traveling through time. There is STUFF from the boys a decade ago--like sports programs, books, cowboy hats, and photo frames. There is STUFF from our many trips, like Sanibel Island seashells (3 sets) and souvenirs. There is STUFF for the house when we were first married. And there is STUFF from my husband's college days, like multiple shelves of textbooks.

My parents' STUFF--mostly my mom's antique collection and collectibles-- worked their way in this room last year. Also most of their Christmas decorations, photographs, dishes, and memorabilia--high school yearbooks from 1944, Buffalo Bill Cody postcards, Archie comic books from the 70s and hand-painted china from the 1900s. There are lots of odds and ends.

In fact, some of the things are really odd. And I definitely want the storage to end.  It's all here waiting for me to research eBay and the yellow pages and find a buyer, antique dealer, appraiser, or someone like that. Which is really more STUFF to do: sorting, researching, estimating, and hopefully, selling.

So organization is necessary. I dare not hoard. But what could be saved for grandchildren--although very far down the road? What to give away? What can I use? What should I just throw away? These are questions I am asking myself. The first goal is a clean and neat storage room that my husband is proud of. The second goal is a fair price for some fine antiques. A third goal? I'll take peace and satisfaction for tasks well-managed and some extra money for my parents.

I guess stuff happens over time, which, eventually causes us to do a lot of stuff, just so we can get rid of the stuff!

 

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    Carole Pye

    I’m a freelance writer married to thrill-seeking husband, Jim, and mom to fantastic teenage sons: Austin, (18) Trevor, (16) and volunteer foster son, Chris (18). I am also a proud caregiver for my parents, Bob, a WWII Army Air Corps veteran, 87, and Jean, his wife, 85. In between the shuttling and the shuffling of senior boys and senior parents, you can find me sitting still, enjoying a cup of steaming hot tea while pondering the next thing to do.

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