It's incredible how much useless stuff can accumulate in the forgotten corners of people's lives. At least, that's what my dad and I recently discovered about ourselves while moving out of the house we've lived in for the past 14 years.
We had never considered ourselves pack rats. Where did all this junk come from?
Among other things, our kitchen cupboards contained cracked coffee mugs, fraying cloth napkins, expired canned foods, mismatched silverware, unidentifiable sauces in unlabeled jars, and more wineglasses than a full-scale restaurant would know what to do with —which is especially strange considering my dad hardly ever drinks wine.
My dresser drawers were full of forgotten knickknacks, faded photographs and horrid hand-me-down clothes that I haven't worn since the days when I was too young to care that they were over-sized and ugly.
In my dad's closet we found empty shoe boxes, notebooks crammed with illegible scribbles, and holey old T-shirts left over from his college days. No, that's not an exaggeration. He actually believed they were worth saving.
Paraphernalia, memorabilia ... Overpowering waves of nostalgia.
We hardened our hearts and tossed everything out. Then we went through the garbage and reclaimed the things we couldn't bear to part with. Then we threw them away again when we realized there wasn't enough storage space in our new townhouse for 14 years' worth of hoarded rubbish.
Why did we have to do all this? Because my parents are newly divorced. My mom moved out months ago, and we are finally getting around to putting our house up for sale. Just in time for rock-bottom real estate prices and sky-high rents in Danville.
We got lucky with our new homes, though. Both of my parents' places are comfortable and affordable. Both are within biking distance from Monte Vista High. They're located on opposite sides of downtown Danville, so it's easy for me to go back and forth between them —I alternate, living with my mom one week and my dad the next.
And I like my dad's new place; I really do. I like that it's quiet, and there are lots of trees, and my room has a big window, and the neighbors are friendly. I like that my parents won't have to argue about the house anymore once it's gone, and my dad won't have to live in a place that constantly reminds him of things he would rather not think about.
All we need is a little time to adjust. All we need is to finally dispose of all that stuff that was cluttering our lives, to let go and move on.