This one was a bit of a mystery. Nothing was written on the outside and I didn’t remember packing anything into it recently. Here goes!
Oh wow! Wedding stuff.
This year (very soon!) will be our sixth wedding anniversary, which happened three years after we first met. Hubby and I really were a case of love at first sight: I’d met him at a mutual friend’s party and zeroed in, intending to just have a brief fling – but literally felt electricity course through my body when we touched. It was bizarre. I thought stuff like that just happened in books and movies!
One night turned into an entire weekend, followed by a mid-week date and another weekend together and before we knew it we were (for all intents and purposes) living together within a fortnight. I’d had a few boyfriends in the past but had never lived with a partner before. It was craziness!
But we just knew.
Fast forward almost three years and we were engaged, with a newborn baby to care for. We first met on 03/03/06, so on a whim I suggested we should get married at 3pm on our third anniversary, which would be 03/03/09 (when, coincidentally, our baby would be 3 months old). It was too perfect to pass up!
So we went online to see what we needed to organise – only to discover the government required notice of at least a month and a day. And it was the evening of 1st February.
Hubby took the next day off work and we went in to the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages first thing to register our intent to marry. Since we had literally NOTHING organised we booked in for a simple civil ceremony at their offices with the assurance that we could cancel with a refund if we changed our plans.
The folder at the top of this box contained our receipt and various brochures about relevant government services. We ended up hiring a celebrant and booking the function room of our local pub for an intimate ceremony with immediate family and close friends (about 25 people all up), so nothing in this folder had anything of great significance beyond pure sentiment.
I flicked through it with a smile and then put it in the recycling pile, proud of how easy it was to let go. After all, I just have to look at my husband if I ever need a trip down that particular lane in my memory!
The rest of the box was a mix of some wedding presents, some of my birthday presents from that year, a few baby items, and some musty old clothes and furniture covers.
The clothes and furniture covers went straight in the bin. They could have possibly been washed and donated but it would have taken A LOT of effort to get them to a usable state and quite frankly I wasn’t up for it. I did keep a soft cotton blanket and scarf that were still in good condition though, and put some unworn baby socks and a toy into a donations box. I also found a collection of pieces from a wooden jigsaw puzzle that I possibly threw out last year (since, you know, a bunch of pieces were missing…). Couldn’t remember for sure, though, so I popped them in a bag in our “random stuff” kitchen drawer for now.
Then, once I’d discarded packaging (keeping aside gift boxes that were still presentable) I set up all the gifts I’d found to take a good look at them.
Such. Lovely. Things.
That I could have been using, admiring, and enjoying for six years.
But instead all that thoughtfulness and beauty has been languishing in a dusty old box, forgotten and unloved.
I’m so ashamed.
This is the real pain of the hoarder. The shame of it. The guilt. The embarrassment. The knowledge that mixed in amongst your jumbled mess are items that are useful and/or loved and/or needed, but it’s all inaccessible – and possibly no longer usable – so it’s easier to re-purchase things and try to hide the mess away.
But it’s always there, slowly and inexorably syphoning off your physical, mental, environmental, economic, and emotional resources. Accruing guilt like a high interest loan.
Taking the first step to tackle it is far harder in the moment than putting it off until “tomorrow” again, but I have to say that every step afterwards has been incrementally easier. For the first time in forever (apologies for the earworm to any fellow parents of Frozen fanatics out there) I feel confident that my ideal of a spacious, well-organised house is a possibility. And it’s glorious.
As for these gifts, now, they’ve been lovingly stored in the appropriate places – and will be lovingly used to celebrate our wedding anniversary next week.
And about time too.