You just got the phone call that you’ve been dreading for months. There’s a knot in the pit of your stomach and you start bargaining with the powers that be in the hopes that this isn’t real. No, it’s not the deployment phone call. It’s the phone call that says family is coming to visit, and you have to prepare the guest room. Not that you have a problem with guests, but you moved a few months ago (maybe more), and the guest room has become that one room.
You know the one we’re talking about…
That One With All The Stuff
That one room is where you shoved all the stuff. That stuff has been sitting in piles and boxes — some empty, some still taped with a rainbow of inventory stickers on it indicating this isn’t the first time it’s gone unpacked — waiting to be shown the love you thought it deserved when you didn’t donate it with the other stuff. It’s been sitting in the closet, on the bed (yes, the guest bed your mother-in-law will soon be using), and all along the walls. It’s been taunting you, reminding you that no matter how settled you feel, or how routine your days have become, you’re still not done with that stupid move.
But how is it that you have all this stuff stashed in unnecessary places? Where did all this stuff come from? Sister, we all have that one room — here’s why.
That One Room Is Not Our Fault
Military housing, off-base housing, foreign housing — you’ve seen it all. You’ve had square footage worthy of envy and square footage smaller than your freshman dorm room. In your last house, you had the perfect spot for each piece and picture. And, you loved those items. They fit. They were home.
But now you’re in a new space. That extra room you had at the last duty station is gone and so is all the space you had for the stuff you put in it. So, that one room is now home to all the extra wall pictures, extra books, serving ware, and tchotchkes you used to display. That Instant Pot your mom sent you but you don’t know how to use it yet — yep, it’s in there too because your new kitchen is tiny. All those pictures that used to sit on the built-in shelving in the living room no longer sit anywhere. They’re on the floor in — you guessed it — that one room! What about all the crap that your husband won’t keep in his closet but won’t get rid of? All together now: that one room!
What else is in that one room? Sentimental stuff — you know what we’re talking about. With the birth of each new baby, you bought beautiful baby keepsake books. You ordered prints online of all the photos you took the first two weeks. And then life happened and those books are still empty and those prints are still in the envelopes. But throwing them away or donating them (the books, at least) seems heartless and un-motherly. So, you keep them. You schlep them from house to house in a tattered box. You look at them when you sort through the pre-move piles, and you look at them when you try to figure out what’s in each box the movers tossed in the room, and then you don’t look at them again for a few years. You’ll never use them, you’ll never pass them on, but you feel guilty about getting rid of things that were once meant for those babies who are now in junior high.
You also toss other sentimental items in that one room, like pictures in frames from when you and your spouse were first dating. Perhaps you also cart around old greeting cards, your flute from fourth-grade band, or that box of childhood drawings that your mom saved for you until you finally had a basement of your own and you could continue the tradition of having boxes of stuff that you never use!
Room, Meet Closet!
More often than not, you worked your busy little buns off trying to unpack and sort and decorate quickly before the kids started in their new schools and your dear spouse was off to check in. You were busy and productive and running on adrenaline and junk food from your first commissary run.
Then it all wore off. The kids got busy, life got routine, and you ran out of gas. You spent so much energy working on the real rooms — where people actually live and function — that you had nothing left to tackle that one room. When you needed to feel like you’d finished a room you tossed all the extra stuff that didn’t fit into that one room. That helped it look like you were done, because who spends any real time in that one room anyway? You could safely toss stuff in there and be completely lulled into that false sense of “finished.” The weeks (err, months) went by, and you were happily living life until you got that dreaded phone call.
So now here you are, getting ready for the impending visit; frantically looking at all the junk and boxes and sentimental piles of things that don’t fit; putting it all where it finally and truly belongs: in that one closet.
Looking for a worthwhile, healthy reason to procrastinate tackling that one room a little longer? Start Running or Pick it Back Up!
Photo Credits: Eastern Sky Photography, NC | Pixabay