There's the cards from my grandma and my bank statement from October 2007 (from a bank no longer in business). So much stuff.

My aunt and uncle laughed loudly as they showed me a recent picture of my father holding a mound of trash I was told was in fact his wallet. They took the photo to share with my cousin to let him know he's not the only one in the family carrying a library in his back pocket.

And I laughed at them, too, not with them. Then a few days later, I tried to close my dresser drawer and failed miserably. Then I felt bad.

There was a time when I enjoyed living in my own filth. But then you have kids, and you realize if you don't get with the program, you won't last a week before you're buried in stuffed animals and single socks. 

It's a lot like raking leaves. I love the trees in my yard, so I had to find a way of enjoying cleaning up the leaves. I mean, I don't like raking leaves, but you see what I'm saying.

I've come to respect spring cleaning. And I decided to tackle my dresser, which was so tall it swayed when someone walked through the room.

Every time I put something new on top of the dresser, something old would fall down the back. For long enough, the problem seemed to be taking care of itself.

Near the back, there was a good layer of dust, the living kind that has formed a symbiotic relationship with the stickers and little plastic tags ripped from new clothes.

And there were three winning lottery tickets worth $8. I'm thinking about splitting it between stocks AND bonds.

The problem I found was that my dresser holds a lot of things I simply can't throw away. There's the cards from my grandma and several thousand works of art personally created for me by my daughters. There's my bank statement from October 2007 (from a bank no longer in business). So much stuff.

One Cleveland Indians ice cream helmet was just full of toy heads and body parts I was sure I could reunite with the dolls one day.

There were memory cards from the last couple of funerals I attended.

And there was a small rock with no discerning character that I pulled from a car seat about a year ago. The car seat had clip-on cup holders, and one day, when my 6-year-old was much smaller and the seat was brand new, she shoved that rock into one of the holes. And the cup holder never was used.

Now, my 4-year-old uses the seat, and every time she's in the car, she wants me to regale her with the tale of why there's no cup holder. I think she likes to lord it over her older sister.

Then one day I happen to be walking by my car with a pair of needle-nose pliers, and I pulled the rock out. Of course, it took me another four months to find the cup holder that clips into the seat. But I kept the rock.

I slowly filled a trash bag and asked myself some serious questions like, "Do you really need this long-abandoned sock with a hole in the heel?"

Into the bag it went.

"Am I ever again going to need to charge my Blackberry from 2007?"

Into the bag it went.

When all was said and done, there was a bag of trash, a bag of clothes to donate and bag full of papers that need to shredded, which will likely live with me for the rest of my life. And I felt refreshed.

"Not too shabby, eh?" I asked my 4-year-old as she entered the bedroom.

She handed me a beautiful drawing of the family.

"I have the perfect spot for it," I said.

Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or david.manley@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @DaveManley