This past October, my then-girlfriend, now-fiancé, and I decided to tackle the basement. It’s carpeted, painted, and roomy, but was somewhat loaded with a disorganized bunch of things. These included furniture, boxes of trinkets, books, and so forth. The space is entirely livable and comfortable, but we haven’t made use of it. So, our goal was to organize and get rid of things so that we can use the space. Lyndsy is much better at getting rid of things than me. She has gently, but firmly, pointed this out to me. Her point was that I hold on to some things beyond their use and/or value. She is right. However, in fairness to myself, I have lived alone for a number of years and haven’t had a strongly compelling reason to go through my possessions. They have sat in out-of-the-way, but visible, places with only a suggestion and hope in my mind that they might be put to some kind of future use. As I would discover, there were other reasons why they occupied such spaces. Since I have wanted to make the basement more livable and use the space, I was excited to take the project on. In fact, it was I who pushed us forward into it on a Saturday afternoon. The work until dinner largely involved moving things around and out of the way, as well as cleaning. We ate and then went back to it. This time, though, the focus was on getting rid of things. I was first asked to get rid of unwanted/unneeded books and other objects in or on top of a couple bookshelves. I knew the books were there, as they are in the open, and knew what a number of them were. However, I hadn’t actually gone through them and certainly not with an eye toward discarding any of them. As I did, I realized that a number of the books and other things belonged to my dad. My dad died four years ago. I could say many things about the man, but will suffice it to say that he was my best friend. If I had never discovered Ayn Rand and Objectivism, I can still say I would have lived a good and rational life because of my dad. That’s what he means to me. I hadn’t looked seriously at any of his belongings since I put them where they were, which was shortly after his death. Some of the items were strictly his, others were given to him by me or my sisters. All of them brought into mind a flood of memories. It was difficult, and I felt the emotions rise up. I didn’t want to break down in front of Lyndsy. She wouldn’t have minded, but I still didn’t want to. Also, the whole thing was unexpected; I simply wasn’t thinking about what I would uncover, or what it would uncover in me, when I delved in. But there it was, and I tried to contain it. So we forged on and I was mostly quiet, except for explaining why to keep something, or get rid of it, or telling a story about the history of some item. But as we moved from books to paintings to furniture, the emotions kept coming. She could tell something was wrong with me, especially when I snapped at her unfairly. I finally explained that I hadn’t looked at these things in a long time and was having difficulty with it. I apologized. She understood and didn’t press. We continued on for about an hour. I thought about what was happening mentally for me, in the moment, but much more afterward. There were several things. I was experiencing memories and all the thoughts and emotions that went with them. I also had to judge whether or not to keep the objects. After all, that was the task at hand. Did it matter to me if I kept some book or picture that was important to my dad? Did the power of his interest in some object influence my own interest in it? If I kept something would I actually utilize or take pleasure in it? If I got rid of something, would I regret it? Would I be getting rid of some connection to him, even if the connection was only in my mind? By discarding some thing, would I also be discarding some experience or some person? I remember after my dad died, I alternated between detached numbness and intense crying, multiple times a day. I recall thinking how I didn’t want to stop crying, because those tears were the most immediate, concrete things I had as a connection to him. I thought that if I stopped crying, he would be that much further away from me. But I also knew that I would stop crying, that he would want me to stop and move on, and that I’m not the type to cry that much. So, I stopped and moved on. Mostly. There were still his possessions—those things I had put in known places, but didn’t regularly see, and so somewhat forgot. Practically, there was no reason to put them in plain sight—the upstairs was fully (and to Lyndsy’s eye, overly) decorated. Psychologically, I didn’t want to see them, by which I mean I didn’t want their constant presence to be a regular reminder of his permanent absence. So I put them where there was space, and where I knew, at some level, I would see them again. But not too soon. There were also my own possessions that I had to look at and evaluate. Books I haven’t read in years, but would like to again. Something given to me that I hoped would fill some space in the house, but hadn’t yet. Things that could serve a purpose, but only a small one, and so were not as important. I had to choose which parts of my life to let go, if not totally, then at least physically. I had to judge the psychological value of objects.