We cleaned out our shed this weekend--a metal structure in the center of the back yard that houses belongings we don't need, but can't live without. We threw out loads of junk, though it was amid much arguing. Funny how women are accused of being the sentimental ones, but when it comes to getting rid of things in our house, I have to fight all the men to get them to let go of items ranging from broken (but I got that when I was . . .) toys to broken (but we can fix them . . .) appliances to old (but the motherboard in that might still be good. . . ) computers. I talked them into donating a few items to cousins and/or the thriftstore, but it was a struggle. The shed did go from being over-full to half, but it meant filling two or three trash cans and a bonfire.
Sadly, mixed in with the carnage was a ruined box of paperback books. I was not happy about that at all, but I confess I took great glee in throwing out a couple of Christian women's "how to" paperbacks that I was gifted by well-meaning older women. These demonstrate Christianity at its most oppressive, stating things like "if your marriage is on the rocks, if your husband beats you or cheats on you, you're probably the one to blame because you haven't submitted to his authority or you're not praying enough". Fortunately the rest of them were old paperbacks that are easily replaceable or not the kind of thing anyone would miss.
We still have five or six rubbermaid containers with old books in them (my choice), non-broken toys the kids have outgrown (the boys' choices), dog kennels (mine), unused scuba diving equipment(husband's choice), old computer towers (oldest son), fifteen year old unused volunteer fireman clothing (husband), fishing rods, canning jars, eleven years of homeschooling records, seasonal clothes, and much-used camping equipment.
In one box I found a surprise cache of my early poetry and short stories, which I believed to be long lost. There was some awful stuff in those ancient writer's journals, especially all the "heartbroken" works that predated my husband, and what I wrote when I was working my way through problems (therapy--ewwww!). I also found a winning essay I wrote in my junior year in high school, an couple of regional/state anthologies who published my poetry and a short stories during my senior year, (beat out a bunch of other people for one of those) and college chapbook that published two of my poems during my sophmore year in college. That was all kind of "feel good" material, even though it will never, ever see the light of day again. The real prize had to be my first (god help me) novels, which I wrote while in junior high. Lets just say the summers were long and living in a rural area with little else to do and only one channel on the tv greatly contributed to my drive to write.
They will go live in my private indoor storage area now. After I am dead, my children (who will all be famous writers, I'm sure) can find out who their mother was before they came along.