The Stairway To Heaven Has Exactly Twelve Steps, And Maybe One Of Those Caboodles

I own a lot of lipstick.

Why do I know this? Because I decided to really clean my house. Step one of any good life-douching is admitting that you are powerless and that your life has become unmanageable. Check. Step two is believing that some greater power can restore you to sanity. Check check. Step three is giving yourstuff self over to that thrift store greater power. Triple check, yo.

The fourth step, the inventory one...I always get stuck on this one. I've never actually made it past this one in any of my numerous trips up and spills down the 12 steps, but this time I am going to. This time, I have a tape gun and a spreadsheet.

I admitted that I couldn't tackle this alone, and enlisted the help of my husband. We got some boxes ready and we started sorting. Everything. Every nook and cranny and drawer and corner. It's downright ghastly the amount of shit I hold on to. I like to think I'm sooo organized because I have these five wooden crates where all my Items of Great Sentimental Value are stored, astonishingly flammablelely, in a closet. I think my father also presumes himself a tidy man, what with his neatly stacked boxes filling more than half of his garage, containing Roy Rogers coupons and Acme weekly circulars from when he moved cross country.

In 1986.

We hold on to stuff in my family. We hold on to so much stuff that sometimes we forget the stuff we're trying to hold on to. I forgot the cute little Laura Ashley shoes I bought my daughter (on a sale that can only be described as orgasmically divine) because her closet is overflowing with shoes she outgrew last year. I unburied my laundry room and discovered that I indeed still own this.


It's just about my favorite thing in the world, and I honest to god thought I'd lost it in my move to Vancouver three years ago. Nope, just shoved it in the back of a room I never enter. Because there's too much crap in it. And it scares me a little.

This box hasn't been used since somewhere in the early 90's, in the year when my friend Johnny broke his father's fishing heart and went vegan. He gave me that box many many years later, when he found out I love to fish, and it's sat in this closet or that cabinet since then, hardly touched. And I cannot get rid of it. CANNOT.


Each one of those forgotten lures, every one of those abandoned marshmallows, they hold a moment in time shared between a father and his son. It doesn't much matter to me that it wasn't my father or my son; the proverbial someone's is quite enough for my sentimental heart.

And so that box will get closed up tight once again, left out of one of the ever-growing thrift store boxes, and I will have to pray a little harder to my higher power for the strength to accept the things I cannot get rid of, the courage to hoard the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

And maybe for a make-up bag, too. Holy crap, the lipstick. I have no idea what my steak knives were doing with Clinique in Honeynut, and I really don't want to find out.