You’d think after six years on the road we’d be free of stuff, footloose and fancy free. Well, not quite.
After selling our house in 2012, we sold or gave away most of our belongings.
We Kept What?
A couple of crates of stuff remained. The kids each had one and I had a 1 or 2. One contained family scrapbooks and we had a safe with “important documents” in it.
Fast forward to this year. Mike’s parents sold the cottage where these crates were stored. We weren’t in town so Harrison picked up all of our crates and took them to his apartment. We finally claimed them last week.
Somehow those “couple of crates” became five crates plus the safe. Where did all this stuff come from?
I lifted the lids and my heart lept into my throat. These crates were filled with items that I just couldn’t bring myself to sort through and purge during the big post-house-sale downsizing.
Since I hadn’t dealt with these things year ago I now had to pay off the debt of stuff.
What did I find?
- Mike’s high-school year books
- My grade school book
- Our honeymoon album
- My children’s baby books
- Their baptism outfits
- Their first stuffed animals
And tons of photographs.
When we were purging the house and I was working my way through shelves of crates, I had scanned a ton of photos and saved them on my computer.
Now I was looking through the photos I hadn’t scanned. I didn’t have the time to go through them all, but I couldn’t chuck them either.
This crate held items from Mike’s and my childhood. Mike quickly sorted through his things and put most in the trashbag.
It took me a bit longer than that.
One of my childhood things was a “School Memories” book. It had:
- A two-page spread for each school year
- Room for a school photo
- A pocket for paper keepsakes
My mom had dutifully filled out the pages, starting with preschool. My friends. My favorite subjects. My pets. My teacher. There were also some “great” works of writing from those years.
Miranda grabbed the book and had fun looking through it. She commented on the classes I took or read a story that I wrote. It was fun for me to share a bit of my childhood with her.
But, was it worth saving this book for 25+ years for the 15 minutes of sharing?
This crate had my children’s baby books and gift bags full of “stuff” from their early years. Miranda couldn’t understand why from each birthday party I had kept…
- Deflated balloons
- Pieces of wrapping paper
- Cake toppers
Miranda put her baby book in her crate and we put Harrison’s away to give him later. We looked through all of the cards looking for forgotten money. Miranda netted $1 and Harrison $25.
This crate was the hardest crate to deal with.
It was full of photos.
- Mike - infant to adult
- Crissa - infant to adult
- Harrison - infant to 13 (when we started traveling and started our library of digital photos)
- Miranda - infant to 12
- My parents - one picture each from their childhood years and a wedding photo
- Our siblings, nieces and nephew
Armed with a scanner, I digitized photos of my parents, relatives, Mike and me. Then I looked at the two “shoeboxes” full of my kids’ younger years. I didn’t want to scan every one of those photos.
Some of them weren’t good photos. Others were part of a “set” of photos from the same event and I only needed one to remember the event.
I found photos that I had recently been looking for and couldn’t find in my digital library. I scanned those and added the physical copy to the trash pile.
What about all of the others? Why was it so hard for me to get rid of them?
It took some internal searching to find an answer to that question. It was related to my post-partum depression.
These photos showed me smiling and enjoying my children during years that I hardly remember.
With that understanding, I allowed myself the time to digitize more of the photos. Then I dumped the full shoeboxes into the trash bag without any guilt.