I've written in the past about doing a clothing overhaul...realizing that yes, in the ideal world, I will one day have a huge walk-in closet that can house all of my shoes, dresses, and clothes that I've had since who-knows-when that still fit me, since I've been the same size since about my sophomore year of college.
Still, every season or so, I go through what I have, and give away things that I won't wear again...in exchange (sometimes...if I can handle the shopping which I so despise) for a few new items.
Well, once again, the downsizing began this week, as I have an entire lifetime packed away and carefully labeled in the basement of my parents home---waiting, wishing, and hoping, that one day I will be settled enough...SOMEWHERE to be unpacked and placed on the shelves and in the drawers where they so rightfully belong.
Interestingly...it's not that easy.
Since in this next year I still won't really have anywhere permanent, and I seem to be leaning towards splitting my time between the US and Germany at least for the next half year...it gets harder to take all of those 'must have' relics and reminders of the past across the ocean--without actually making an official move into a place.
And so over the past 3 days I have:
--Found my CD collection from Highschool through College--yes, the CD's that were TOO numerous to even make it to my first FOUR gig ipod (later replaced by 8, later replaced by 20, later replaced by 60gigs, twice)...I've found the collection, isolated about 20-30 cds that I may copy onto my computer/hard drive, and I will either sell or donate all the rest of them for about...oh, a dollar a pop --or LESS!
--Gone through THREE huge boxes of every book that I had to buy for my college classes. Umm, sadly, I had to part with much of my collection of books for my international relations classes...books I always thought that I would have forever and would one day sit on my shelf JUST in case a debate about what neoclassic theory REALLY says about the overthrowing of the first Shah of Iran and the consequent impact on emerging Near-East democracies.
(I kept all of my music history and theory books..even the jazz course books...just in case I ever decide to want to each some poor soul solfege or theory).
I'm left with one HEAVY plastic bin of classics that I had to read for courses such as "Modern Arabic Literature", "French Satire", "Literature 200 level: Love and Sexuality", "Modern Philosophy", "Kant and Nietzsche", and of course my favorite classics and modern epics that one just can't live without in a personal library...The Russians, the British playwrights, The American wartime novelists, etc.
---Sifted through two boxes of HIGH SCHOOL awards, medals, trophies, report cards, essays for English Honors Freshman through Senior Year, teacher recommendations, copies of college application essays--all things that, sure, would be nice to look at once every 5 or 10 years for the purposes of nostalgia, but that were really just taking up boxes and will never be 'prominently displayed' in my "HOME".
(Got that down to Half of a Box ...kept all the essays and poetry...and the diplomas...and the other half of the box is all of my journals, and my favorite childhood books that are a bit tattered, but inscribed to me with love from my parents dated from birthdays and holidays that I won't soon forget).
---SHOES. Given away about 10 pairs of cute/fun/fancy shoes. That is all.
---Electronics. If I couldn't find what the plug was for, the plug was trashed. Old printer connections, DELL laptops that cost THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS in 1999, wires and more wires that I have no idea of the origin or the purpose, but I surely don't have the electronic device that they are supposed to charge anymore.
---And last but not least---tried to get SOME, I repeat, SOME of my music in order.
Obviously the easiest thing to do is tackle my scores. Most of which are real scores that are bound and bought from stores, SOME of which are photocopied because of a rare edition, some of which are photocopied because the company supplied premieres that way, and about 2/3 of which reside in the basement--the other 1/3 scattered about the house and other suitcases depending on when I've had to use them in the last few years.
I made Piles and Piles of art songs, arias, musical theater pieces--all in the form of photocopies...that I have used in the past 5 or more years. I found my junior year undergraduate recital music (holes punched, but no binder..of course)...I found my HIGH SCHOOL musical review broadway tunes, I found everything..but could not find a place for it..just yet...because going through those loose pages would just about drive me insane for two days straight, and I had already been tackling this basement job for 3 days.
So I organized my scores alphabetically by composer, in one huge and long box with titles showing for easy access if necessary, and I left 4 or 5 insanely huge piles of: Musical Theater, Looseleaf Art Song, Bound Art Song, Choral Solo, Orchestral scores, Aria Compliations, and "Teaching Materials" from my days of assigning Vaccai and 24 Italian pieces to my students.
Although I have always been a pack rat--I've been an organized pack rat...I know what I have, where it is (usually), and why it's there--there's a method to the seeming madness...
But it somehow felt really good to consider whether these items would REALLY be in my 'House" someday...and where they would be...WOULD there even be room for them.
If they weren't shelf-worthy...I most likely didn't keep them.
And so having to choose between keeping "blue-y" (a light blue dog) my favorite stuffed animal from when I was about 7 years old, and a stack of musical theater reviews and the "All Around Music" Award from my high school didn't seem so tragic after all.