I’m not a very sentimental person. At least that’s what Dairy Man tells me.
I hate clutter. I want everything to be organized. I spend my evenings rearranging drawers and closets. I get far too excited about bins and chalkboard labels.
I don’t save birthday cards. Almost all of the kids’ art projects from daycare go straight in the trash after bedtime. I ruthlessly purge my clothes at least twice a year (those old t-shirts from high school musicals are long gone). I will ALWAYS say no to free furniture or old china. Anything that isn’t nailed down in our house can end up in the “donate” pile.
My mom is the same way. It’s not that we’re cold or heartless, we just don’t need to be surrounded by a lot of unnecessary STUFF to hold on to our memories. When I was a college junior (living in a rental house with four other girls), my mom showed up one day with boxes of my old stuffed animals, Barbies, and even prom dresses and said, “I need to clean out my storage room. These are yours now.” Not having an abundance of space to hoard nostalgia, I kept a few of the toys and donated everything else. Circle of life.
Dairy Man, on the other hand, has what I affectionately refer to as a “farmer mentality.” He’s inclined to hang on to everything (old tractor wheels, extra bike parts, broken shoes) on the off chance it can be used, fixed, or jerry-rigged with duct tape and a prayer someday.
But I DO get sentimental about family. That’s why we made an exception to my “no old stuff” policy for The Camp.
My grandpa built this little hut 40 years ago for my uncle.
Almost 28 years later, it traveled from Jenison to Holland and found a new home in my parents’ backyard. My dad added windows, a door, bunk beds, and a deck. My siblings and I spent years making memories within its four walls.
Last weekend, the camp made yet another journey. It was loaded onto a giant hay trailer (because farmers have access to the best toys) and found its way to our backyard.
It’s been at least a decade since anyone has played inside. It needs paint, shingles, a new door, and a whole lot of love. I have dreams of white walls and a wraparound deck and a yellow slide. I’ve lost at least a week of my life to “playhouse ideas” on Pinterest and Dairy Man started glazing over when I mentioned a chalkboard wall, string lights, and kid-sized ghost chairs.
We could have just built a modern new playhouse, but there’s something beautiful about this. A family legacy on four stilts. A chance to take something that’s a little worn, a little decrepit, and make it new again.
Because some things are worth saving.
Not a bad reminder for a ruthless minimalist like me.