A couple of weeks ago, to my great pleasure, I had the privilege of helping Henry clean out his childhood bedroom. I love, love, love organizing and purging old things! It makes me almost as happy as folding clothes fresh from the dryer. I was really excited about this task. One look at the room, and I knew it would be a chore for only the most talented of organizers. That would be me. There were so many boxes and bags, and items everywhere. So, I put to use everything I have ever learned from TV shows like Hoarders and Clean Sweep, and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
First, as any pro organizer would do, we made toss, keep, and giveaway piles. We found a lot of memorable items from Henry's childhood and time in the army, which we put in a separate keepsake box. Seeing all of the little things that are priceless to Henry was fun, and made me love him even more. However, seeing all of the clothes he has kept, with full intentions of wearing again, made me begin to question his sanity.
There were several t-shirts with holes in them, or stained with dirt or paint. I said throw, he said, I will keep that for a work shirt. There were also several sweaters, circa 1990, that were faded and ill fitting. Again, I said throw, he said, I will keep that for a work shirt. When the pile of "work shirts" was almost as tall as me, I lost my cool. "If you are going to keep every thing you have ever owned for a work shirt, than I am not helping you anymore," I practically shouted, and stalked out of the room. When I cooled down and came back, the keep pile was a fraction smaller, and the trash pile a little larger. I was satisfied with the progress so we got back to work.
We went through bag after bag of mismatched socks and gloves. If he could find a matching pair we kept them, if not, then straight to the garbage. What is it about guys and their socks? They just can't seem to throw them away. I have seen Henry walk around countless times in socks with holes in them, with a drawer of perfectly good, brand new socks in his room. When I ask him why he can't notice the draft coming in through the holey socks, he says he just likes to wear them out. I think when you are at the point of holes, the sock is worn out. I just don't get it. When I find his holey socks in the laundry, they go straight to the garbage, no questions asked.
Aside from the typical childhood keepsakes, outdated clothing, and socks galore, we ran into some rather interesting objects. Most surprisingly was a stash of tanning bed passes and tanning goggles. Apparently, Mr. sun safety used to be a tanorexic. Tanorexic is slang for a person that has a tanning disorder, and can not stop tanning. There was even an old tanning bed in there! He says his parents found it and brought it home...yeah right. And then, I found Pam. Let me explain....
Before I agreed to take the leap and move to Denmark, I asked Henry what he had for decorations and furniture for when we move to an apartment. In all seriousness he said, "I have some leather couches, a weight bench, and a Pam Anderson poster." Why did I agree to the move after hearing this, you ask? Well, it certainly had nothing to do with Henry's personal decorating style.
Anyway, I had forgotten all about this until we were cleaning and I found a rolled up poster behind his bookshelf. As I unrolled it, there she was. The infamous Pamela Anderson, a good 15 years younger, and dressed as a cowgirl no less! Like I said, he is a true cowboy at heart.
When we finished the project we had a garbage bag to toss, a box to give to charity, and a bigger box of "work shirts" and some other hidden treasures (like a really nice wine rack for me) to keep. He asked me not to post this blog before he proof reads it, but I think he would approve. While we all may not have tanning beds and Pamela Anderson posters in our closet, we do have skeletons in one form or another. There is no need for shame Henry, only pride for following my motto: out with the old, and in with the new!
PS: If you have extra time on your hands, nothing feels better than a good old purge of the closet. It is liberating, and can be a bit nostalgic when you run into items from the old days.
PPS: Here is Henry`s beloved Pam