September 21, 2007

The stuff of life

We all accumulate so much “stuff” during our lives. Some of it is simply functional, some sentimental, some just plain stuff we haven’t tossed out.

I am a pack rat. I don’t like throwing anything away if there is a chance I or someone else will use it. Fred was probably similar in this, but he had far more time to accumulate stuff, and a larger variety of interests. He had been at various times a logger, carpenter, welder, mechanic, fisherman, hunter and more. I have been helping go through all his things, and he has tools of the trade for all of his interests. There are also lots of nails, bolts, screws, car parts and boat parts. Boxes and buckets of bolts that I’m sure he knew exactly what they belonged to, but leave me a loss. There are things like repair kits that weren’t even opened that I’m sure he picked up thinking might come in handy some day. I think his first reflex was always to build or fix something himself, and he picked up lots of tools along the way.

It is an interesting look through a person’s life. We can look through what people hold on to, but we may never know why. There are certain sentimental things that we hold on to that have great meaning to us, but that other’s will have no clue of their significance. Our method of filing things away probably only makes sense to us as well. Why on earth is this carburetor in with a drawer full of sockets, bolts and screwdrivers, and what vehicle does it go on? There may be no reason other than haste in this case. Fred had sold his home of 37 years in the last year, and had too little time to pack it all up. Much of his stuff was put in a storage area, and whatever organization existed was soon lost in the rush to get it all packed up.

I look at our own garage and I realize it is a mish-mash of stuff, mostly worthless to someone else. I have no idea what image someone would draw by going through it all (probably not too flattering). I am tempted to spend a week with the wife just going through all our stuff, explaining the meaningful things, and getting rid of all the rest.

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