Important Stuff

Some people have trouble getting rid of their stuff.  We’ve done a lot over the last few years to downsize and de-accumulate.   Life is so much easier with less to manage.  Some people on the spectrum obsess over certain possessions, but anyone can suffer from a little separation anxiety with something.

Part of my job is helping people see waste and stop walking around it – Get it out of the way for safety and efficiency.  Marie Kondo became famous helping people sort through their belongings.  KK and I used Marie’s idea of removing everything – usually clothes, but we did it with books — from its current location, pile them up in the floor or on the bed, and only putting back what is important.

Picture an otherwise empty living room floor full of books!  We sold the shelves and pared down our library by at least half.  Now that we are in an apartment, we have full bookshelves again, but they are much smaller. 

Every once and a while, I find something in a drawer that is not worth much to anyone else but seems precious to me.  Something that reminds me of a special event, or a special moment with a family member – this probably isn’t hoarding, but it is emotional!  I like the “Lost Dog” coaster from the deli where we ate on the day when our granddaughter was born.  Not gonna toss it.

Today, I present to you Exhibit A:  a plastic container for a very specific cereal snack.  One of the foods we had thought was somewhat healthy for our daughter and sons when they were small was Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran.  Tasty, but it has a lot of sugar.  We eventually stopped buying it, realizing we could do better.  But during this cereal’s tenure in our home, Kellogg’s made us an offer.  Mailing in a few box tops (I assume that is a bygone era!), we received this plastic container. Little hands could carry it around filled with Cracklin’ Oat Bran.  It traveled with us, easily packed in a diaper bag, and kept us supplied in case we had to pacify someone for the moment.  I used it myself just a few years ago to take smoothie mix to work.  That practically free container has been faithful, and now it’s a sentimental reminder of a precious era in our children’s lives.

I was very proud of my wife when we sorted through the books.  Sorting through the kids’ schoolwork and projects was a little harder, but we whittled those items down to a few.  When it comes to food containers, we have worked hard to remove the plastic ones from our kitchen; glass and stainless steel are healthier.  But this container is hard to part with.  We remember our children asking, “Can I have Oatlin’ Bran?”

When my wife showed me the container today and expressed her hesitation, I understood completely.  We looked at each other and said, “We can’t do it!”  That memory is too cute and brings a smile every time.

I’ve mourned cars before, but we can usually replace one of those soon enough.  This simple container – junk to others – is like a baby picture for us.  And I don’t think it can be replaced.  I guess someone might have one on EBay, or maybe an antique store.  But I’m not taking that chance.  Not worth 10 cents at a yard sale, important stuff like this can stick around for a while longer.  Keep shiftin’.

#ASD #Cracklinoatbran #autism #sentimentalvalue

Published by Bart Shoaf

Blogging about victories and challenges as a middle-aged man with a late diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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