In the fourth grade I wrote a darn-good paper about the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Central America. The introduction hooked the reader, Mrs. Ochoa—I still remember her name— and the writing—if I do say so myself—was excellent. I included colorful hand-drawn maps and illustrations, and my bibliography correctly included all my sources.

Definitely an A + paper.

So, I was really, really disappointed when the teacher gave me a B+. She didn’t even tell me why it wasn’t an A paper. All of her comments were positive. But, apparently, my best was not good enough.

That’s the same disappointment I felt these last couple of weeks when we arranged for the biggest truck to move our belongings from Colorado to the state of Washington.

We hired professionals to load the truck and…

the truck wasn’t big enough.

Even though we’d spent months donating stuff, selling stuff, throwing out stuff.

I felt like a failure. My best efforts at organizing were not good enough.

For all my talk about down-sizing, and boasting about how many books, boxes of music, and pieces of furniture we’d given away…

and how confident I felt that our next move (this move) would be a breeze…

I realized that I have a problem with stuff.

After delivering our first load of belongings, Bruce and I had to fly back to Colorado, pick up another, smaller moving truck, and finish packing the rest of our stuff.

“Never again,” Bruce said. I nodded in total agreement.

After we finish unpacking, we took a good look at the things we probably could have dispensed with before the move. Why did I move a bench, a table, some artwork that I had no intention of putting in the new house?

And I still have way too many books.

Bruce and I are extremely neat people. We’re not hoarders. When you step into our house, you see a neat and organized house.

So I asked myself this question: when I leave one house and move to another, do I take the old house with me, too?

Of course not.

So I’ve come up with a new rule. Anything new that comes into our house? Something old has to go OUT of the house.

I sometimes wonder if, back in the fourth grade, Mrs. Ochoa gave me a B+ because my paper had TOO much information stuffed inside that term paper!

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3 thoughts on “”

  1. I think books are especially hard to part with for people like us because they are as much experiences as they are objects. And even after we enjoy the experience the first time, there’s always the opportunity to experience it again by rereading. If it helps, WA seems to have a pretty robust interlibrary loan system, so it’s pretty easy to access almost anything you could possibly want/need to read or regret giving away, even if it’s not at your local library.

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