I am not done yet. I wonder if I ever will be.
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Yes, I got my parents’ house cleared out all right. I sold, salvaged, saved and scrapped — all to get the old homestead cleaned up and on the market. The place was pristine. All new interior paint and finishes screamed fresh start for the next home owner, except … for the garage.
That was the way station, where I temporarily off-loaded those family keepsakes that would take a deeper dive and more time than I had. Stacks of slides in carousels, military discharge papers, marriage certificates and diplomas remained until someone (me) sifted through with an archeologist’s attention and a genealogist’s care.
The earth-mover methods I’d been using wouldn’t work now.
Besides, if these archive-worthy items were going to last another lifetime, I knew they’d need special handling. So I parked them in the garage, putting off the project until the house sold.
Which happened fast. Thanks to the improvements we made and an uptick in the real estate market (pause here to insert coast-to-coast wave and shout out!) we had five offers in 48 hours, three over asking. (More on that in an upcoming column.) Suddenly, I needed to get serious about preservation.
My job, as unwitting family historian, is to preserve forever — or until my unborn grandchildren can save as holograms all on a computer chip smaller than a pinhead, whichever comes first —what I decide, after all the whittling, matters.
But save how? Anyone who has ever opened a box of old precious possessions and found mouse turds, dead bugs, yellowed brittle pages, or stains so established they have mortgages, knows what it means to store things wrong.
I needed to figure this out.
Coincidentally, The Container Store was opening its 60th store in my town of Orlando this week. I was invited for a sneak peek before opening day. I told my tour guide I was particularly interested in archival storage.
They had — brace yourself for the shock — exactly the right storage solution.
Full disclosure: I have mixed feelings about The Container Store. One of my nagging refrains is: “Don’t buy stuff for your stuff!” But The Container Store has a place in a well-ordered world, and it is about to have a new place in mine.
“We have been working with our customers on storage solutions for over 35 years,” said Karen Hartman, sales trainer for store. “We have given this a lot of thought.”
“Perfect,” I said. “Lay it on me.” If I do anything well, it’s benefit from the hard thinking of others. Excuse me, may I borrow that intelligence? That is pretty much how I get through life. Here’s what Hartman taught me about storing stuff for keeps.
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.