Monday, September 9, 2019

Journey to the Bottom of the Drawer

By default, my books and swag have been taking up space in our dining room. It's not a perfect situation but, as is often the case, the stuff has been there for so long that I no longer really think about it.

Until last month when I moved it all to take it to a book signing. Once the car was packed, the clear space in the dining room looked lovely. That alone was enough to motivate me to begin sorting and clearing in an effort to find new homes for the supplies.

Last week, I cleared out some small drawers in my office, enabling me to move the swag out of the dining room and into the office. This began a domino effect, leading to my latest project: clearing out a large drawer in the dining room in an effort to get rid of the small drawer unit entirely.

The larger drawer, which is a catchall drawer, was full of all sorts of miscellany. Most of it was out-of-date paperwork that had somehow collected there, along with a bunch of loyalty cards, most of which had been transferred to the KeyRing app on my phone.

Easy peasy. Lots of things to toss, file and shred, leading to more clear space.

Along the way, I found a few treasures as well.
  • An email from my mom, finalizing the guest list for the 50th anniversary dinner my sister and held for my parents, along with an envelope from one card or another, with my name in her handwriting as it looked before she got sick.
  •  A birthday note from my husband the year he got me a Kindle...and it didn't arrive in time. He wrote me a note with the details, mounted it on cardboard and wrapped it. 
  • A cutout of my daughter's hand from when she was in preschool or elementary school (that I wish I'd put a date on) -- a relic from a little girl who is now an independent young woman. 
As I journey to the bottom of this drawer, which is now about 75% empty, I don't know what else I'll find. I have a feeling that what remains to be cleared is the part that will be the most rewarding but also the most challenging -- the part that's more nostalgia and inspiration than filing and shredding. There's the little yellow favor box from a friend's son's wedding alongside my checkbook and cash stashed away for a credit card payment, as well as who knows how many papers and receipts. The drawer itself tells a story -- of money spent, stores visited, mementos tucked away -- gathered together in unlikely combinations, a cross-section of life.

Soon, the drawer will be empty and ready to hold something mundane, like towels and pot holders. The newly cleared space will yield a sense of relief, but will also give way to a need to find homes for the treasures I'm bound to buried in and among the banalities of daily life. Practicality may win out, but, those special items -- along with the memories they've sparked -- will earn a victory of their own, surviving the purge, only to be tucked away again to become story starters elsewhere in the house when, inevitably, I stumble upon them once more.

Such is the beauty of life's souvenirs.

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