No, I'm not talking about the AMAZING 1938 movie
starring Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur (although it is definitely worth the watch!!) I'm talking about THINGS, material things. If you haven't heard the euphemism "you can't take it with you," it is referring to the things you can't take with you when you die. Whether you believe in heaven, hell, reincarnation, or no after-life at all, you can't take THINGS with you. Can you take memories? Maybe. I have no idea. I like to think that heaven is a place where when you die any person or pet that you ever loved will be there waiting for you. Now, I said that you loved, not that they loved you. So your crazy stalker Brad wouldn't be there.
I digress. In the last couple months, I have been a clutter cleaning machine in my house (thanks, New Meds!) I have been rearranging cabinets, closets, drawers, boxes and totes in my house. The amount of time spent could have lasted an entire Law & Order Netflix binge-a-thon- of all three spin-offs! Often I found myself reiterating the lyric, "let it go" as I stood frozen (pun!) between where I was standing and the trash can/recycling bin. When it comes to kitchens and closets, it's more of an inner struggle with the thought that I know I don't NEED it and perhaps haven't used/worn it in years (if ever), but what if I DO need it. Example: grapefruit spoon. You know how many times in my adult life that I've bought a grapefruit? ZERO. You know how many times my husband or children have requested a grapefruit? ZERO. Can you eat a grapefruit without a grapefruit spoon? I don't know, I never have, but I'm like 95% sure you can (may have to check out YouTube to see how it's done.) I've gotten a lot better about clothes over the past few years. There's always that idea that maybe some day I will wear that dress or maybe one day I will fit into the jeans ago. No, you won't. Get rid of it. Of course, you can't throw it in the trash, there's homeless people out there! I either donate or consign clothes in my house that no one wears anymore.
Then we come down to the more difficult things- memorabilia. I've carried around a tote for about 10 years that contains items from my life that span
25 years (literally have the hospital bracelet from the day I was born.) I have everything from pictures, childhood awards, 6th place medals (ha), report cards, high school writing assignments, and so forth. I know that there have been a select few people that have suffered through me showing them some of those things. And you can tell when someone doesn't care what you're saying (I'm married.) So this past weekend it was time to go through the tote- the MEMORY TOTE. I went through every folder, binder, envelope, photo album and loose bauble. And I recycled... A LOT. I went through every photo and tossed ones that were pointless and meant nothing to anyone. I took pictures of the pictures that might be fun to share on Facebook. And I kept a very select few pictures that PERHAPS my children will want to see some day.
So when does a memory become obsolete? Here's how I see it. If I am hanging onto something, the only real purpose should be to pass these things onto my children or perhaps at least show them once they are adults. My mom hung on to some of these things. I'm sure in her mind all this stuff she collected through the years would be of great significance... sorry, Mom, most of it went in the recycling bin. Do I need my first quarter report card from 6th grade? Not so much. Will my kids wanna see it when they are 40? Pretty positive they won't. So that's what I did. I cleared out almost my ENTIRE tote. I put anything I wanted to keep into manilla envelopes and categorized them. Other than that, I had a few pictures in frames and a couple medals that I kept out of the folders. I was able to clear out the tote so much that I fit two smaller shoe box size totes inside of it!
Life feels so much better without clutter- both metaphorically and literally. Now I have so much less that I will have to move whenever I leave my current digs. I've made some sweet coin over the past two months since consigning bags and bags of non-necessities. And yet I still find more and more every day that I don't understand why it is still lingering in my house.
Do I need two unopened air pumps for when a football deflates? Nope.
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