We’ve been on a clutter clearing rampage here the last few weeks as we prepare to put our house on the market and move out of state.

I was in for a shock though when it came to deciding to keep or get rid of the washer and dryer – I had a big emotional reaction that I wasn’t expecting.

When my husband told me that the Realtor had recommended that we leave the washer and dryer with the house I felt something choke up in my throat and every ounce of my being screamed, “NOOOOO!!!!”

Ok, what the hell is that all about? Me emotional over a washer and dryer? It seemed so out of character that I knew there was something juicy to look at.

I started thinking back to when I first got the washer and dryer almost 13 years ago. At the time I had been living in a very strange basement apartment below a space that had formerly been a restaurant but was currently being used for a martial arts studio a couple nights per week.

What was particularly annoying about it was that anything I wanted to bring into the apartment had to be carried through the back entrance, through two narrow hallways, down a set of stairs and around another weird hallway. One day I counted the steps from my apartment door to the back entrance door, and it was more than 300 steps.

Although the apartment had a hookup, when I first moved in I did not own a washer and dryer. I had to carry my clothes back up through the hallway weirdness and drive over to the laundromat a couple blocks away.

The town I lived in was less than 1000 people, and the only laundromat in town left much to be desired. Usually three of the four washers there worked, well, sort of, they kind of got my clothes clean, most of the time.

The dryers were another story – they didn’t work for shit, and I usually ended up carting my wet and heavy clothes back through the weird hallways and hung them up in my closet with the dehumidifier running to get them dry.

It took a lot of physical effort to do my laundry back in those days. And I was so excited when one of my co-workers told me that she was getting rid of an old dryer – did I want it for $50? “Hell yes!” I said, and with that I went scouting for a washer to go with it.

I walked into a local appliance store and asked the clerk if they sold used washers (I could not afford a new one). They did not, he said, but I was in luck because he and his wife were getting rid of their old washer. They were asking only $50 for it because the turn knob wasn’t working 100% right (I easily fixed this by myself later!).

I checked out the washer and decided I would take it. After coordinating with a friend who had a truck, delivery of the washer and dryer were arranged! I was so excited to own a washer and a dryer, finally, at last! I felt like a grown up.

Huh. I felt like a grown up.

As I sat back and remembered the events that led up to me owning my current washer and dryer, I realized that that was why I didn’t want to get rid of them, they defined my status as an Adult.

I remember all the times before I owned the washer and dryer how much of a hassle I felt it was to have to haul my laundry out of the house and go somewhere else to do it. I hated going to the laundromat and remember dreaming about the day I could do my laundry in my own house. The day I would actually be a real Adult in my mind.

I also see how others’ experiences with washers and dryers have played a role in this too. I’ve known plenty of people who have spent hundreds of dollars on one of these units – brand new these things are expensive!!! And then, within a few years they’re spending hundreds more on getting them repaired. In the 13 years I’ve had this set, I’ve never had to have them repaired – they have been the ultimate in reliable. And I got them for $100!! How could I be so silly as to let such a good deal go?

I see the part of me that’s scared to think I won’t get as good of a deal when we’re finally ready to buy another set, the part that doesn’t trust the universe can put something together as good, if not better, than what it did before.

Although the place we’re moving to has laundry facilities, they aren’t in the part of the house that will be our own private area. And I could see myself reacting to the thought of not having my own facilities in my own space.

I even went so far as to consider asking the landlord where we’re moving if it would be possible to install a washer dryer hookup in our area of the house so we could take them with us, even though space-wise it would make much more sense to have a stackable washer dryer unit than to use the side-by-side units I already own.

I watched all these emotions about the washer and dryer swirl around me until I identified this Adult piece I had attached to them. A few days after I realized this, I felt the bonds that tied me to the washer and dryer start to fade. I know I can be an Adult without my washer and dryer, plenty of people do it! I told my husband it was ok to confirm with the Realtor that the washer and dryer would stay with the house.

Recognizing the true source of my emotional attachment to the washer and dryer was the key to allowing me to let go. And since I made that decision I’ve been giving a little extra love and appreciation to the washer and dryer, saying thank you for all the years of clean clothes they have brought me.

How about you, have you ever had an emotional reaction to an item in your house that it seemed there was no reasonable explanation? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!