When we were curled into our city apartment, I longed for an attic and basement. A place to put the shit. Old school files, winter clothes, the present from the in-laws that wasn't quite ready for the Good Will, a half used can of paint, and the old lamp. We had the shit piled high in the closets in the city, and I longed for the space to carefully organize the shit into bins and shelves with labels.
So, now I've got an attic and basement and I just spent hours organizing the shit. Juiced up on antibiotics and dancing to Pandora, I hiked up and down the stairs with the files of old student evaluations, lecture notes, and textbooks. We have the B-list book shelf in the attic and the B-file cabinet. But the B-list book shelf is over flowing, so I had to purge the shelves. Good-bye Lenin, Heidegger, and a tattered copy of Rousseau.
I have the kids' clothes sorted by age in bins. Bins of cute kid pictures. Old pictures in albums. Camping equipment. All that could be slimmed down further.
The kids bring into all sorts of new papers into the house. Every week, I have to empty their backpacks of tests, worksheets, and art projects. I stack them on a book shelf in the dining room for disposal later. They get upset if they see me throwing away their hard work, so it must be done when they're not around. But I haven't had time to sort through the papers in a while. OK, since September. So, that's another mess waiting for me.
It just takes time. I would rather do something more interesting and productive than sorting through the debris of life. I have let the shit pile up during the semester and I am making a transition, so the shit is particularly high at the moment. It's rather tempting to just close my eyes and dump everything in a trash can. But there may be a diamond in there. Like Ian's old Thomas sneakers and Jonah's Mother's Day card. That old book might make an excellent footnote in the next book.