A Place For Everything


Moving is a pain. No one can really argue that. Boxing up your life so that you can move it someplace else and then  find it again can be a daunting task. But it can have its advantages too. Hopefully, it means moving closer to where you want to be– physically or emotionally.  It can also be a great opportunity to purge and simplify– an opportunity to prioritize and think about what really matters.

Don’t get me wrong, purging is no easy task. It’s damn hard to part with material things that have been a part of your life for years and years.

Sometimes, parting with things means parting with a piece of history . The over-sized chair and ottoman we sold was where my husband and I would snuggle together to watch our television shows and movies in the first home we ever purchased. And let’s not even talk about Charlie’s infant things we sold off.

Sometimes, parting with things means parting with the possibilities they once held. Those old comforters were more than just bed coverings; they were saved for the day we would have a bigger home with a guest room. The package of pretty cards with paintings of vegetables, I  had purchased with the intention of making decoupage wall hangings for a soffit in my old kitchen.

But projects go unfinished. Time marches on. People move on. People move.

And so we purged and we moved our new lighter, streamlined selves across country. Most of our things stayed in storage for a year while we stayed with our parents. By the time we got our own place and were ready to get everything from storage, I think I had forgotten about half of the things that were in there. It was not until all the boxes were unloaded and piled on the floors of our new place that I realized how much stuff we still had. I would stare, half paralyzed by the sight of cardboard stacks and think How is this possible? 

I was a slob as a kid. I was a disorganized mess. But as an adult, I have cleaned up my act some. I am not as neat as I should be, but I have come to hate clutter. I aspire to live a life with “a place for everything and everything in its place.”  I have yet to succeed, but I’m getting closer.

We hoped to be at our last rental house for a very short time, so half of our things remained uboxed in the garage, and the only room I decorated was Charlie’s nursery. But it’s been so long since we had a place of our own, and I was so tired of feeling “temporary” that I was determined to make our new place feel like home– no matter how temporary (because it’s always less temporary than you think).

I set about unpacking our lives and reacquainting myself with items we had collected and pieces of our history.  I set about finding a place for everything. Naturally, some things still needed to be stored, and some items still needed to be tossed, but for the most part, I made great progress.

I found a place for pots and pans and candles and glasses. I tossed some books and baskets and throw pillows. I found a place for rolls of scotch tape and hair accessories and extra sheets. I tossed half decks of playing cards and old sunglasses. I  found a place for old photos and favorite books and jewelry boxes and scrapbook supplies.

And then I found this:

A note from my dad that he mailed with (apparently) a pair of sneakers I had left behind on one of my trips to New Jersey.

Amid all the practical things for living and the memories that make a life,  this was my favorite find when I unpacked. Because it reminded me of the emotional connection we have to the things we choose to save and take with us. And it reminded me of the things we can’t pack but we still take with us wherever we go.

It’s a simple thing, this note. Most folks would have thrown it away. But for me, it had a place (and that was long before my dad passed away). While I don’t need it, I’m glad I have this note. It gives me something tangible to see, to hold. His writing, his words, his sentiments. I kept it in my office space at my home in California when my dad was just a phone call or plane ride away. And now it sits on shelf in my new home office next to my favorite photos of my dad. I read it every day and whisper, “I miss you too, Dad. I miss you too.”

My heart, unlike my desk, while it may feel full and even heavy at times, it never feels cluttered. There’s always a place for everything that matters.




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Categories : journeys in life


  1. Lisa Kelly says:

    I didn’t see where the post was headed at first but what a nice surprise at the end. Beautiful sentiments, beautifully written.


  2. Irene Landon says:

    great post Kelly Belly.


  3. Pam says:

    Keep writing girlfriend….it’s good! Thinking of you, and your dad.


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