The House That Jack Built

The photo above is a picture of the tail end of a garage sale at the House That Jack Built. These are the odds and ends that weren’t sold. These are the things that were part of the memories that were built and or created inside that house. They are objects that might have once been of my affection.

Some of those were with us for the entire decade in which we lived in the house. Others were with us much longer. The old timers joined the band decades before and followed us from apartment to apartment and condo to house.

It may look like junk and or clutter to you but to me I see something else. There is the stroller that my first born traveled the world in. It is the same stroller that I pushed in wonder and amazement because the baby inside was mine. He was proof that my boys could swim and that life had changed in the most dramatic fashion.

There is more in that picture that catches my eye. There are pieces of my childhood and objects from a man’s first apartment. I can’t look at it without a flood of memories washing over me. It is a parade images and sounds of my past and a reminder of how hard decisions had to be made for the future I want(ed) to build.

And then there is this photo. Storage units filled with stuff. More memories and a million stories are stuffed inside these boxes. They are containers of clutter and creation. I stare at them now and try to remember if that is where I placed a few small objects and papers that I didn’t expect to need.

They were things that I didn’t want to get rid of. They are things that I need because there is merit and value to them. They are things that I didn’t expect to need until we moved out of the temporary housing we are in.

Who knew that the occasion would come in which I needed them sooner. It is more than a little bit frustrating to discover this. I know where they are located. I have the manifest that I put together just in case I needed something. Unfortunately they are buried deep inside the boxes. It would take a significant amount of time to recover them and they aren’t worth it.

Still that doesn’t negate the need for them today or the frustration I feel because they would be of great benefit. So I face a choice to remain frustrated to try to be extra resourceful.

I choose the latter. That frustration won’t make things better but a clever idea can and will. Besides the lesson that I have learned from all of this is that I was right about the lack of need for many of the things I own.

It is time to rid myself of more stuff. It is time to let go of more of the non essentials. I don’t think that I’ll worry about them all that much because they are just things of no particular sentimental value.

The House That Jack Built rests on other values than that.

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  1. Bill Dorman January 15, 2012 at 6:07 am

    I see the golf clubs laying on the road; can’t believe you were trying to give those up….

    We have moved twice since we have been married and it’s always interesting to rediscover what you thought was so important. Of course in your case, it’s not quite as simple because of the split and maybe trying to de-clutter at this point.

    At least you know where it is, so good luck on your decisions as I know you will figure it out and find your way.

    • Jack January 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Bill,

      The joy of finding lost treasures creates more crazy battles than I care to think about.

      Although it is fun to walk down memory lane I do like the freedom that comes from not being tied down with some of these things.

  2. Batya January 15, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Keep the good memories and rid yourself of the burdens.

  3. Hajra January 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Hey Jack,

    My parents are moving and I am trying to help them! I just found three boxes filled with stuff from our childhood. Painting, clay models, broken first toys, hand painted photo frames. Now the decision lies on them; what they need to throw away and what they need to keep. And given that they have two more additional boxes marked “grandchildren stuff” choosing is getting tougher! And out of the 3 sibling of mine, only two are married and only one has kids! So, the probability for the boxes to increase just gets higher and higher.

    My parents have to make the tough decision 😉

    • Jack January 15, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Hi Hajra,

      I am obviously not as old as your parents so I haven’t had as much time to collect stuff, but I still know something about it.

      It accumulates so darn quickly. It is fun to see the echoes of the past but sometimes…

  4. Bruce Sallan January 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    We all grow up and realize that “things” are not us and us is the things we do and what we leave behind in the way of the effects we’ve had on others! You can quote me on that…I might! lol…

  5. Jens P. Berget January 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Jack,

    This reminds me of all the drawings that my kids keep giving me. I have hundreds. I have a very clear memory of every single one of them, and the sentimental value is huge… but how many drawings do I need? 🙂

    I’ve been thinking of unclutter my life and go for minimalism, but instead I just keep adding more stuff.

    • Jack January 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      I have a bunch of boxes filled with my kids artwork. It has forced me to become far more selective about what I choose to save and what I don’t.

      Some of their stuff is great and some not so much. I don’t need every drawing they make to remember them at whatever age they are, so I just keep a few.

      But it is not easy.

  6. Cathy January 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Who wouldn’t want a nice red cooler? But, more importantly, why would anyone want to get rid of a nice red cooler? They are always so handy.

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