The last time I shared my junking shenanigans, it was October when I re-capped my annual fall sale. Six months have passed, and I decided to dust of the keyboard. So, without further ado, I welcome you back to www.junkbyjenny.com.
You might find yourself asking, “Why the long blogging break, Jenny?” It is safe to assume I have either been packing or unpacking boxes for these past months. We sold our turn-of-the century classic old home to the most lovely buyer. People who know me best probably couldn’t believe the gal who loves everything old was willing to leave a 1898 home. However, we were beyond excited for what awaited in the next chapter of life. With our life packed in a 50-foot trailer, we made the big trek across town. We love everything about our new home. Even more so, we are head-over-heals about our neighborhood, especially whom we share it with. I’m (hesitantly) proud to say I only have half a garage stall and a spare bedroom left of boxes to unpack. Throw in some painting, decorating, and re-vamping; needless to say, I have busy. So there is the answer to the previously posed question.
Boxes, boxes, and more boxes; of which have consumed my life since November leaves me asking, “Why do we need all of this stuff.” While some of the stuff is easier to part with others, I still have wrestled with deciding on what to keep, throw, or donate. Several times during the moving process, my personal life and junker/picker life collided, bringing about a more conscientious awareness of the people I meet when picking. As the saying goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” This oh-so familiar phrase is sort of my motto as a picker. Until recently, I always looked at picking as a way for other’s to peddle their junk as a new-found treasure for myself to breathe new life into.
What happens, however, when one man’s junk is truly his treasure? During a recent pick, this very idea literally stopped me in my tracks, changing my life forever as a picker and even in my personal life.
A few weeks back, I received a call from a woman who was, with the help of her siblings, preparing to move her father from their forever home and were faced with the task of cleaning out decades of stuff. After I was assured all of the true keepsakes were divided among family members and her dad was a peace with the move, I arranged for some picking fun. The woman was as kind as they come. Her 90+ year old father was charming and full of stories. It was obvious they were at the end stages of the move and had work meticulously to prepare for my arrival. It was almost as the remaing “goods” were staged for my liking. The goods ranged from unique furniture and mid-century modern pieces, delicate vintage fabrics, hats, and bow ties, among many other treasures. I purchased my typical “full to the brim” suburban load. As Claire, the kind woman, and I built a pile in the entry, lovely Warren joined us to help load the treasures.
As the pieces left the house, the daughter was all smiles knowing the her hard work to clear up space in the house was becoming a reality. However, for the enduring elderly man, he saw a treasures leaving; treasures tied to decades of good times. He paused as he brought the beautiful red suitcases to the suburban, reluctantly handing them to me. He begin a short trip down memory lane, telling tales of the travels as a salesmen or outings with his wife. My heart sank, knowing this was a piece of his past now in my hands. Next was the beautifully weaved picnic basket. Like the suitcases, Warren recalled the many memories tied to the basket. At this point, I held back tears. How could I be the one to take this man’s treasures? As I stood with Warren, his daughter uttered words that I will forever cherish and remember. “Dad, it’s all just stuff. You get to keep the memories.”
You get to keep the memories. You do. As I pulled into my garage that afternoon, partially full of boxes, I realized with a clear mind, it’s really all just stuff. When I part with it, in whatever capacity, I will get to keep the memories. Just the same, Warren’s beautiful suitcases and picnic baskets are packed in my trailer, ready to go to Junk Bonanza. I will share with the buyer’s Warren’s story, his treasures, and his memories. I will remember that one’s man junk might be his treasure. Accumulated treasures become stuff. And in the words of Warren’s daughter, “Dad, it’s all just stuff. You get to keep the memories.”