Scary Stuff

Halloween TreeOne fall, my mother allowed me to choose some wax Halloween figures at the Dime Store to help decorate our house. She spent a dime to .49 cents for the little wax witches, ghosts and pumpkins. That was in the 1960s.

I’ve read these days that collectors think they’re worth much more, but to me, it’s really all about the sentimental value of these little scary guys.

A couple of weekends ago, we spent one whole day going through the approximately 100 boxes of stuff in our metal storage building looking for those figures, as well as the rest of my holiday season décor.

Yes, it’s true; nearly two years after our move, we still are dealing with stuff, and this is the stuff that has survived two purging episodes – one before, and one after the big move.

StuffThe stuff is out of sight, out of mind on a daily basis, but when we go into the dark corner of our metal storage building where those boxes are, we turn into different people. In our 30-year relationship, we’ve learned to work together as a team in most situations. Maybe more importantly, we don’t take things too seriously. Most of the time, we can’t even finish an argument without laughing at the absurdity of getting huffy over the little things in life.

When we embark on a quest to find something we’re missing from our old lives, though, watch out. Our usually high energy levels drop, we get moody and snippy. Sometimes we yell. We sulk. We become, well, possessed.

On that warm August day several weeks ago, we climbed ladders, crawled on the floor and even fought creepy spiders of the live variety. He handed me boxes and I opened every single one – with the exception of the professionally packed boxes labeled “dishes” or “antique dishes.”

I told my husband near the end of the search I was afraid the Halloween decorations might have mistakenly went out with the 50 or so boxes meant for the Salvation Army thrift store last year.

“Is that what this is all about….Halloween decorations? Good golly,” he said in a huff.

The only thing I found was a Halloween tree my mother made me when she was crafting professionally (pictured on the front page), a St. Paddy’s Day and Easter door decoration and a Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece basket packed in what else? A box with pots and pans. But that’s how the move went 2 years ago. When you sell your house within 5 days of putting it on the market – and have to attend your daughter’s wedding in Germany the day after new owners take possession of your house – things just get packed. It doesn’t’ matter where.

We don’t have kids and we sure don’t have trick or treaters, but we are hosting guests here at The Little House in October and I want it to feel homey. Decorating for the holidays is part of what makes a house a home to me.

At the end of the day, I became filled with anxiety that the décor was lost forever. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what’s even scarier is the person I become when thinking about The Stuff and how it can haunt me.

My conclusion: Four wax Halloween figurines and other holiday décor: Worth probably less than $50. My time spent looking for and worrying about them: Too much.
Finally realizing it’s time for new décor to go with our new traditions anyway: Priceless.

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Today’s Poll: After a big move, how long has it taken you to unpack all of your boxes? Are there things you never found again?

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10 Responses

  1. These photos really say it all! Where do you even begin to even look at these boxes, let alone decide what stays and what goes? Great post, Kerri!

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    You are so right about this. I tend to get a little too upset when “stuff” goes missing. Although I still am not over the fact that all of my childhood and teen journals and poetry are still missing 9 years after our last move.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, for a writer especially, what’s worse than losing all of our childhood writings? I still have my mom’s in a trunk up in the storage building. I know they’re there someplace….

  3. Babette says:

    Ah, the storage issue, a point of …disagreement between me and my husband so often. I do NOT think it wise to pay to store ANYTHING. I find it ludicrous. We moved from a large house more than 4 years ago. I like to say I threw away half our life with that move, but it was a pretty shabby half, so I didn’t mind. We paid for a tiny storage locker until we moved from the temporary (three months which turned to 18 looong months) and we got rid of the storage…and tossed more stuff. But DH has stuff he has not looked at for four years. if you haven’t looked at it for four years? I think you don’t need it. Just saying.

    • Kerri says:

      I’m just as pack ratty as my husband, although we like to blame each other for this mess! 🙂 We did pay to store most of our stuff and my mom’s stuff for over a year after our move. But I do wish I had that money back now!

  4. Sheryl Kraft says:

    AFter some renovations three years ago, we STILL have stuff in boxes! I figure I’ll end up tossing them all; if I haven’t looked in them or missed them, well, I never needed whatever is in there to begin with, right?

  5. Kerri says:

    My advice? Start now. Do a little each day and plan on several trips (or pick ups) to the Salvation Army – or charity of your choice. The sorting of The Stuff for us, was a major disaster. We have so much that should never have been moved!
    At least one new piece of decor I don’t have to worry about is a very beautiful Christmas door wreath someone made me last year!
    Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Kathy Winn says:

    Kerri- you are both scaring me and giving me hope. As you know, we hope to build a house on our land (hoping it will be next spring) so I will be going through the nightmare of sorting stuff from the basement to the attic. When I go down to the basement and look at all of the crap that is down there, well, moody and snippy is a good description of how I feel! As usual- a great blog!