Save the tiger?
Ann Q. Peters
Do you ever ask yourself, “What am I keeping this for?” Some people live super-organized, streamlined lives, from the clothes they wear to their minimalist homes, to their well-organized and never over-crowded refrigerators. And then there’s the rest of us. I’ve written about my own borderline OCD tendencies, as has Alec (written about my borderline OCD tendencies, not his, which don’t exist.)
Last week I spent two full days cleaning out our kids’ bedrooms, the repositories of anything and everything that we didn’t know what to do with, both their stuff and ours. Out of sight, out of mind.
I never realized how many mechanical pencils were in the house – about 30 at last count. Good thing I found all those lead refills, too, not to mention the six rulers, four compasses, and three Texas Instruments graphing calculators. We definitely don’t need two copies of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and who even uses a paper dictionary or a Thesaurus, when you can Google just about anything? Does anyone listen to actual CDs anymore? Time to finally let go of the blowfish lamp, the multi-colored ceramic tennis shoe, and the coffee table with a hand-painted Sublime album cover on it. The cats were very interested in the ribbons and left-over bits of wrapping paper – you know, in case you need to wrap a really tiny package. So that’s where all those scissors ended up!
Out went books, magazines, clothes, gag gifts, coffee mugs, graduation caps and gowns (want to be a Hogwarts student for Halloween?) and huge stacks of National Geographic magazines.
A can of Duff beer, though, now that’s a keeper – going on the shelf, along with a Barry Bonds bobble head and exactly one high school athletic trophy. We made the mistake of asking one of the boys if he wanted to keep his stuffed tiger that had been gathering dust on an upper shelf for about 15 years. You would have thought we were throwing out his baseball card collection. I think I know what to keep in this family! But, no, the tiger has to stay, and he is now the subject of ongoing texts and photos between father and son. Here is Mr. Tiger making friends with the dog. Here he is playing the piano…driving to work…typing up an article for the KP. He’s like Flat Stanley, only not so flat.
The bedrooms are finally empty of all clutter; you can see the floors and the walls, and hang clothes in the closets. I keep walking upstairs just to look at them. They’re like museum pieces – we should rope them off.
But I don’t really want to live in a museum, which is a good thing to realize, as I look at our dining room table piled with newspapers, mail and ongoing projects. It’s called the real world and we live here… with Mr. Tiger.