Archive for November 22, 2012

Minimizing: How to Let Go of Sentimental Clutter?

In 1999 I bought a children’s medical kit for $5. You know one of those plastic boxes full of pretend thermometers, stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors. I intended to use it as part of my Halloween costume, but changed my mind at the last minute and switched from dressing like a doctor to dressing like a school girl.

Although I lived in a very tiny 9-by-9 room I found a small space to store that medical kit and when I bought and moved into my house it came with me. I held on to it with the intention of gifting it to my niece or nephew, but for one reason or another I kept forgetting to put it in the car.

Thirteen years later I found myself digging through the basement in search of that little plastic box. I know I placed it somewhere among the toys we’ve been handed down from friends, former coworkers and my brother, but for the life of me I can’t remember where I placed it.

I want to find that medical kit so my son and I can play with it. After all these years I want to make use of it. My niece and nephew are too old to care about it anymore.

As I searched through the basement I came across all sorts of other treasures I’d forgotten about. The dolls I’ve held onto since I was a child. The essays I wrote in high school and college, complete with typing errors and bright red grades. Photographs dating back to the sixth grade. So many random pieces of my history that bring so many memories flushing back to me.

I try to clear my house of unwanted clutter. I try my best to get rid of things we don’t use and don’t need. In my heart I know that I could digitize a lot of these things. I could scan the photographs into my computer, along with the old essays and other random things, but I’m not sure it will feel the same when I look at them.

There is nothing quite like holding onto the very paper you wound into your typewriter. The white out marks won’t look the same from my computer screen. And viewing an old photograph won’t be nearly the same as holding one of those old fashioned Polaroid pictures in the palm of my hand.

So what’s a girl to do? It’s not like I look at these things often. I know people who move a lot wouldn’t have the desire to box these up and move them from one place to another, but I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. Should I dedicate a small area of the house for these legacy items or finally give them the old heave-ho?

November 22, 2012 at 10:51 PM 12 comments


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