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So just about a week ago I decided it was time to empty one of my wife's dressers.  I figured, no one will ever wear the underwear or socks again so they were logical to get rid of.  I mean they are socks and underwear, they can't hold much in the way of memories.   Oh what fool I am.  Surprisingly the underwear went pretty easy, I saved out a few special pairs to keep in a drawer of her things, a pair of Pooh boxers which were so much her, but most of the real underwear went into a small bathroom trashbag.   Then came the socks, oh my god who knew she had so many.  I grabbed a 13 gallon trashbag and even this hardly could contain the masses.  As I went through the socks to toss (my first mistake of many) I paused several times (mistake 2) to look at socks and think about them for a moment.  I then started to separate out a few pairs of socks that were 'special' (mistake 3) while trashing the majority.  I kept out a pair of hiking socks, some print socks with various characters on the, and a few other socks with some meaning (how do you have meaning really, you are socks!).   Then came the final mistake, rather than going straight out to the trashcan, I carried my two bags, one very small, one a normal kitchen trashbag stretched to the limits down to the livingroom and set them down to go deal with other things.  That was 8 days ago.  They are still there.  One thing fell out of one of the bags, I picked it up and put it somewhere other than the bag.  Why? I don't know even now.  

Now I am afraid to take the socks out to the trash.  What if her parents want some pair of socks they gave her, what if her sister wants something.  SOCKS!! I mean really... just throw them away and be done with it.  But something keep staying my hand.  If I am this caught up over a bag of socks, I dread the moment I start going through the shirts and pants that won't make the cut for the quilt.  It is amazing how much attachment I have to something so meaningless and yet fully of history of their own.  I can look at so many of her socks and remember some activity we were on where some of those socks were part of the mission.  

I am sure many of you have struggled through the time to remove certain things from your closets, your storage and even from the living spaces.  Things taking up space because they hold memories that you really don't need the thing to bring back for you.  I am sure of this, because I am doing it myself.  Some will say 9 months isn't that long, don't rush yourself.  I will say that 9 months is plenty long enough for socks :D.  Hopefully by the time the trash-man comes on Wednesday I find the strength to actually drag the bag to the curb and let them go.  

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Comment by Athena53 on September 3, 2018 at 4:18am

I just got rid of another weird item. Ron liked a little gin at the end of the day, with an olive in it.  In his last few months, we skipped the olive (he wasn't eating much and olives didn't taste good to him) and I don't think he drank much of the gin, but it was a nightly ritual.  I still had his last partly-used jar of olives in the refrigerator.  I don't use them for anything- just wanted to leave them there.  Last week I realized the liquid in them was dark and cloudy- and out they went.

Very slow process!

Comment by Lifeunknown17 on August 25, 2018 at 10:36pm

Tony. i love it. 

I'm only at about 3 months in. but right there with you. I've already went through her dresser, funny. I picked out two pairs of socks that have that something special attached to them. I made a small stack of items i wanted to keep.  Then put everything back in. So now, as we move through this, as i'm giving items and things away, i have my side of the dresser that's already been gone through. no worries. 

I dont think i could throw anything away.  give it away to someone yes, toss it in the trash. noway. So i can feel yer hesitant hand on that one. lol.

thanks for sharing the socks.  :)    

Comment by vintage56(barb) on August 22, 2018 at 3:51am

Athena, I know what you mean. Frank kept falling and scraping his knees, even falling on a carpet would result in a bloody mess. So I had a large ziploc bag with oversize bandages, tape, etc, that I couldn't get rid of for many many months. I kept feeling like he might need it. Slowly I took some items out and threw them away or moved them.

Tony, your story reminded me of Frank's pillow. For years he used a home-made pillow that was really flat. After he died, I kept it with me for a long time (I was moving between furnished condos). Finally I decided to toss it, and I had to pick a time when I knew the trash was going to get picked up soon. I put it in the trash and went for a long walk, knowing it would be gone when I got back. I still cried over it though.

Comment by Callie2 on August 20, 2018 at 8:47pm

Tony, it’s hard to do this task, no matter when. However, if you’re finding it very hard or have uncertainty and a lot of emotion, could you give it more time? Even if you are able to box things up for a while for a later time. Or, put a few items of clothing aside for you to keep and donate or do whatever you plan to do with the rest. I saved a sweater that my husband wore early in our relationship because it brought happy memories to me.

Lives become so entwined, I get that. So many objects, personal or shared have a memory attached. As time passes, it becomes easier to let go of their things without feeling sad about it. Don’t be too hard on yourself if the bag doesn’t make it to the trash this week, it will get there eventually!

Comment by Athena53 on August 20, 2018 at 11:40am

Eloquently-written, Tony. You're doing what's been recommended in a very good book on downsizing I once read:  save a few items out of a "collection" that are meaningful but toss or donate the rest.  I still have some of Ron's shorts and sweaters and wear them when it's cold out and I want something warm and fuzzy.

If you're really concerned about family wanting a particular pair of socks, keep a few extra pairs out so that if they DO ask and you've pitched the ones they want, you can offer them another pair with a story.  If they're reasonable people they'll understand that you can't keep everything she ever touched around the house.  Or just ask:  " I'm finally getting up the courage to clear some of her things out- is there anything you want?"  My stepson wanted the pens and pencils from Ron's desk.  I never would have thought of that and was happy to provide them.

My weirdest item I can't pitch:  in his last month Ron had abrasions on his back from a fall.  Hospice gave me squares of gel patches- you cut them to size, peeled off the plastic covering and stuck it on the wound, then taped it on.  They had to be changed daily.  I still have what's left of the supply and it's been 21 months.  Oh well.

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