Car seats and clutter


Stuff, stuff, stuff – I have things piled everywhere! I admit it, I’m a pack rat. I save everything, like the empty oatmeal boxes on the basement shelves that might make a Valentine box someday, or the disposable medical gowns, caps, and rubber gloves that could be used for Halloween costumes. These things take space and our little house is packed full.

There is a good side to being a pack rat. I can say, “Yes, I have 25 empty toilet paper rolls,” and be the only Mom who can contribute the whole lot so my daughter’s class can make animals with clothespin legs. When costumes are needed for a school play, there’s no problem. Sure, I have old denim overalls and a beat up straw hat for the farmer, a butcher’s apron and a hat for a chef, the lab coat and accessories for a doctor. You name it; I can probably find it, but it takes space to store it.

Why it is so hard for me to give up these “things”? True, some have sentimental value like the little black notebook that has recipes written my Grandmother’s handwriting and clipped recipes glued in here and there throughout. I don’t use any of these recipes, but I wouldn’t want to get rid of it.

Some things just mean a lot to my sentimental soul even when they aren’t functional anymore. There’s the car seat that carried both our girls home from the hospital when they were babies. A dear church friend bought it for me and at the time we didn’t really know each other at all. She took the seat to my mother’s saying that she found a bargain she couldn’t pass by and thought maybe we could use it. It was wonderful. I bought a new cover for it and never considered looking for a new one. Her thoughtfulness made one less thing on the list of many new expenses that come with getting ready for a baby. That seat served us for years carrying many other children after my two outgrew it. Whenever I looked at it I had warm thoughts of Carolyn’s buying it for me, so it stayed in our basement.

It was a small, spontaneous act of kindness that she bought it, but it will endear her to me forever because she thought of me in such a helpful way that made a difference for us.

Many things we’ve accumulated are like this. They tell a story from our lives and hold a meaning for us that makes them worth saving.

I finally took a closer look at the car seat. It was taking up more space than we could spare for something we weren’t using, so it went to the church rummage sale (an appropriate place since my church friend bought it). I need to do this with more of my stuff – get rid of the thing and save the thought. Although the object is gone, the thought behind it will always be a part of my life. Thanks, Carolyn!


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