Sea of Boxes

August 09, 2009

Today I spent roughly six hours opening every box in the garage and sifting through its contents. Along the way I found several items of interest to both Sibylle and I, and managed to repack several half empty larger boxes into smaller ones. However, I did not find the missing car title we need.

Two years ago in July we were preparing to vacation in Germany and I need a passport. We spent hours and hours searching through boxes in my storage lockers trying in vain to find it. One night, just after arriving at the storage facility, I managed to shut my right forefinger in the passenger door of the Jimmy, which was locked. The nail on that finger has grown back, although it is (and probably always will be) partially detached. In the end I reported my passport stolen (as I had been robbed the previous year) and was issued a new one in time for our trip.

Today, while searching one of the boxes I found my missing passports. My original one, filled with franks from the Caribbean, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, and its replacement - the one I had reported stolen.

Both of these experiences, the passport search two years ago, and the title search this weekend, raise a question in my mind - are we storing or hanging on to too much? We have books and pictures, and children's art work and tools and electronics and more pictures and so on, all in boxes in the garage. Before moving from Illinois to Kansas I donated lots of old sporting equipment (skis, golf clubs, et cetera) as well as nearly 1,000 pounds of books. I've always sort of regretted donating those books. While we still don't have room to properly display all the books we have, I would like to have all my books.

Having lots of memories stored away feels good, for the most part. It's only when there is something in storage that I want or need and can't find that I begin to question the value of keeping all of this stuff. It is valuable - to me and to Sibylle - and we are going to keep it. I just wish I had the determination to go through it all and repack it in an organized fashion, and then label each box or container appropriately.

Tomorrow we'll visit the county registrar's office to see about getting a replacement title for the Jimmy. Hopefully there aren't too many hoops to jump through, and ideally we can go to the state capital (only an hour away) and pick up the new one in a day or two at the most.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.