I’ve always loved attics, and I’m not entirely sure why. I love the secrets they hold. I love the clutter and jumble of things forgotten, waiting for someone to rediscover them. I don’t have an attic out here in Arizona. We have a crawlspace, and it can’t really be used for storing things.
Recently I was back in Pennsylvania, helping my parents clean out their attic. It was such fun to go through boxes and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. It was hard, too. Everything that went up in the attic had been loved at one time, and the fact that it was up there, forgotten, was kind of sad. These days, when I no longer want something, I send it immediately to Goodwill in order to avoid the clutter. Which is both good and bad.
Of all the things in the attic, one of the hardest things for me to get rid of were books. I had more boxes of books up there than I know what to do with, and I wanted to keep them all. I ended up keeping a bunch of books that brought back good memories, like Orange Oliver by Robert Lasson, Anne of Green Gables by LM Mongomery, and the Watcher in the Mist by Norma Johnston, just to name a few.
I found old report cards, old love letters, and favorite discarded clothing. I found pictures and postcards and dusty games. When I was in the attic, I wondered why I kept everything, and what made me decide to box things up and take them upstairs. Walking through the attic, I could almost see my younger self pouting at me, wondering why I wasn’t keeping everything.
Sometimes it’s just time to say goodbye, to close a chapter, and move on to what’s next.
“I often think that could we creep behind the actor’s eyes, we would find an attic of forgotten toys and a copy of the Domesday Book.” -Laurence Olivier