Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emails and Clutter

As of today I have 905 unread emails sitting in my account. Before I complete this blog, I will probably have 910 unread emails. I would estimate that 800 of them are from my mother who, after retiring, discovered the joy of forwarding. It doesn't matter that she forwards to me the same email over and over again. She is my mother. How can I throw away anything she sends to me?

The problem? I can't throw anything away. Even my spam folder sits at 1699 and counting. I have trunks filled with mementos I never look at. I just know my kids will find humor in sifting through saved coloring pages after I die.

Honestly, if my kids, when they were little, gave me something with that gleam in their eyes that said, "I made this especially for you, Mommy," I HAD to keep it.

Even the ones with no names or dates on them, even the ones with only one scribbled crayon mark, if I threw them away, I would agonize over the loss for days.

My excuse for being a slob was that I lived in very small apartments that had no place to put anything. One day, with clothes and papers strewn about, a friend looked at me sympathetically and offered me advice. "You know what I do when I have to clean up in a hurry?"

My eyes lit up.

"I throw everything into a box and sort through it later."

Amazing. And it just so happened I had a huge walk-in closet that allowed me to hide a box.

Until it got to the point where I was exchanging my smaller box for a larger one and a larger one and a larger one... And then one day, like a diamond sparkling in the sand, it appeared in the alley behind my apartment. Somebody had thrown away a refrigerator box! I raced into the alley to retrieve it. I loved that, "throw everything into a box" idea. It was the sorting through it later that bothered me.

Clothes were a problem too. They sat in piles on the couch. I never thought to buy hangers because I thought they cost something like $10 a piece. When I discovered how inexpensive they were, I bought hundreds of them. The only problem that arose was when I moved in with one of my daughters and her kids. I slept in a makeshift room (one I had built when I lived there) that had no closet. I had the hangers. Now I had to buy a closet.

So here it is, years later. My house is in order, my clothes are hung up, and the boxes have been exchanged for trunks filled with photos, crayon colored papers, memories, and ideas. And my inbox? It sits at 907 right now. How do you throw emails into a box? Oh well.


  1. I'm so proud that you are finally organized in your ripe old age! Lol. Just kiddin. What are you now, like 32 or something?

  2. Yeah, I had my oldest child when I was negative seven - a medical mystery.