tossing memories

I have been married for almost 20 years to a pack rat.

A very sweet pack rat.

The way I cope with blog-Stedman’s multitude of treasures is to give him his own space and shut the door.

I don’t go in.


It is scary in there.

He currently has several areas which are zoned Holly-free:   the room he has his drums, his master bedroom closet, a majority of the attic and his study.   When we built the house he worked outside the home so his home “office” was a place for books and a computer.   It is right off the main hall of the house.

Now that he works at home full time his home office has turned into HIS space.

I don’t go in.


Except to kiss him goodnight.

And I close my eyes.

Over the last few weeks I have been organizing the house.   I have been tossin’ and givin’ things away.   The boys’ closets, the boys’ toys, my closet, the kitchen, my office, etc. have all received my ruthless organizational treatment.

Whew.   I feel lighter.

Before we left for vacation, I decided to tackle blog-Stedman’s office.

*Hold me*

Because I value my marriage, I didn’t throw ANYTHING away.   In fact, I didn’t even take it off the shelf.   What I did was buy a ton of black cardboard boxes and magazine holders and merely re-locate things that were piled on shelves INTO boxes on that same shelf.

Yep.   I am a genius.

The office looks AMAZING.   Every time blog-Stedman asks where I put something, all I have to say is that it is in the exact same location ONLY housed in a cute little box.

BUT the makeover did invade his space and has created some wariness that I might start in on some of the other untouchable spaces.

As we were unpacking from vacation this afternoon, I was taking my suitcase back into HIS closet where it has been stored for the last 5 years when I noticed the mountain of suitcases on the floor.   Most of the suitcases that are taking up valuable blog-Stedman closet space we haven’t used in years.

I decided I was going to take out all the suitcases and put them up in the attic.


Blog-Stedman decided he better stop me from throwing out all the suitcases help me.

We pulled out some suitcases that we have used in the last few years and I made a pile to go upstairs.

We pulled out some suitcases that we have NOT used in the last few years and I made a pile to go to the garage for the giveaway pile or the trash.

Blog-Stedman was NOT on board with the second pile.

As I was emptying out the pocket of one of the doomed bags, he grabbed the papers in my hand.

Him:   What are you doing?

Me:   I am going to throw this away.


Why?   We haven’t used this bag in 15 years.

He grabs this brochure out of my hand:

Yes, but 15 years ago we went to Paris with this bag.

So.   If we haven’t missed what was inside this bag for 15 years, I think we can live without it.


OK.   That last statement stopped me in my tracks.

I don’t want to throw away memories!

I love memories!

I apologized as I reached for the Paris brochure so I could set it aside and save this cherished misplaced memory in a safer place when it fell open:

Yep.   Our cherished misplaced Paris memory was the suitcase informational booklet.

And then I organized the rest of the suitcases without challenge from blog-Stedman.

The end.


  1. My only recourse would be to throw a tarp over my husband’s many “hot spots” in our home and pretend they do not exist. I suffer from “CHAOS,” (Can’t have any one over syndrome) as I cannot keep up with the hubs, the toddler tornado, the two pug destroyers and my good intentions. Kudos to you for tackling and disguising the untouchables.

  2. OMG, we are married to the SAME MAN! When we moved to TX 5 years ago, hubby came first while I stayed behind and finished summer, turned our home into a rental house & packed. I threw TONS of his stuff away and he’s NEVER missed it.

    When we came to TX, he worked in an office every day. That changed a few years back and he needed his OWN space here at home, so I finished some un-used attic space for him and made a lovely office. Beautiful flooring, gorgeous cabinetry, lovely upholstered chairs, window seat, etc.

    There is now no place to sit. It’s all covered with useless stuff he saves, the floor too, and I can’t even vacuum in there.

    ACK – my beautiful creation of that lovely, light-filled workroom that was supposed to even have a counter and cupboard for ME (giftwrap, crafts, etc.) is now buried under a pile of paper.


  3. Thank God for my dh losing his pack-rattish-ness when we moved. We now live much happier with less clutter.

  4. Moving (and having to pay to move your stuff) can be a good way to let go. Each time we’ve purged more stuff (donations, sold, or just off to the dump.) I have to admit that after 3 moves in the past 3 years we still have plenty that could (and should) go elsewhere. Given motivation of moving, I can usually go through quickly and purge without thinking too hard. But, not my husband…he’s more paralyzed over throwing out something. Although, he’s in agreement that some stuff got moved this last time that shouldn’t have been moved.

    Now ask the boys what they can get rid of and all of a sudden broken pieces of toys are ‘treasures’…

  5. oh my goodness… HILARIOUS!

  6. He he. See, this would be the opposite in our house. I’d be the one claiming MY husband was the memory-crasher.

    The office does look GREAT!

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That’s awesome. How much do you charge, my house could use your services. 🙂

  8. Hubby has so much junk in this house and his workshop that is drives me crazy. He has finnally admitted that he CAN throw away old 5 1/4 inch floppies, as we do not have a working pc at this moment with a correct sized drive. We have an old 486 pc, it is just not currently working. He has articles printed off prodigy from the early 1990’s about Windows 3.1. Some of those have disappeared recently, when I we cleaned up. The recycling cans hold a multitude of papers, if you stack them right. 🙂

  9. I am very proud of Himself.

    We have a dumpster parked in front of our house.

    For Elvis. I mean, for the hot tub.

    BUT..Himself, who must be genetically related to blog-Stedman, went through the garage and…yes, honest and for true…threw things away.

    I do not know from whence the fortitude came, but he found it.

    I am proud.

    Although he would totally hold onto that suitcase informational pamphlet.

    Yes, he would.

  10. Ok, so yes I am a man. I am married and have been for 19 years this November. Luckily for my wife I have a very poor memory. But every once in awhile a discussion at our house will go like this…
    “Hey, I know I have one of those somewhere! Baby, have you seen it?”
    “Uh, yeah…” she says with a mischievous smile; I threw it out…”

    I now have what my wife affectionately calls “piles”; strategically located around the house. Occasionally the piles disappear. I’m used to it and so is she!!!

    Great post!

  11. Sounds like some of you ladies should buy your husband a nice scanner as a birthday gift or upcoming holiday gift. See if you can’t get him to convert those paper “memories” and “valuable/indispensable” papers into digital assets. Organizing PDFs is much easier and a DVD takes up a lot less space than a stack of papers. Not to mention the fire hazard.

    Plus, appeal to the tech loving gene commonly found in men.

  12. LOL! After nearly 20 years DH has learned not so much to let go as to let things be pried from his still living fingers. I’m a bit of a pack rat too so he has come to understand when I feel the need to purge the need is probably there

  13. If you do decide to give any suitcases away. . . children’s shelters would love to have them. When CPS brings them they usually have all of their stuff in garbage bags. I run a residential center for children in CT and anytime someone donates suitcases to us we are very pleased because the children can leave with some dignity when it is time for them to move on. Just a thought!

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