I was 7 months pregnant, and had a 2 year old when we bought our present home. My vow not to accumulate piles of stuff evaporated once I had a baby, a toddler, and 4 pets to look after. That was 8 years ago. Into my closet I stored away, clothes, cameras, important papers, cards, crafts, old tickets to shows, and various other items I deemed necessary to keep. Finally, this week, I decided to clean out the mess it had become.
I have no problem getting rid of clothes and shoes. There are items that I haven’t worn in about 10 years. Most are terribly outdated. Some I just don’t wear, so the various piles of donating and throwing out are being made. Looking at these old clothes reminds me of what I was doing at the time, and places I have been, but the memories are in my head and don’t need to be worn. They say if you haven’t put it on in 2 years, get rid of it. Consider it done. I’ve gone from “Maybe I will wear it sometime.” to “You know you are never going to wear it.”
Next on the list is paper. This is a major problem for me. Lately I have been better, but I tend to let papers pile up. I have old bills for items I bought or had serviced. I have receipts for when I bought my car and when it was maintained. I have old bank statements for accounts I closed years ago. I have outdated papers regarding my teaching certification. Since social security numbers are printed on just about everything, the shredder is working overtime. The satisfaction is seeing the piles of these papers disappear. Yes, I remember the day I bought that car. Yes, I remember how I worked to maintain my teaching credentials. It all seems like a lifetime ago, but I remember.
Other items are more personal in nature. My wedding dress and cards that we were given. I have a collection of old cameras that I want to keep. Pictures and ticket stubs to events I attended. Items I picked up on trips. Purses, tote bags, and hats which are unique and actually used. These I will keep, but I will seriously have to think about purchasing anything similar when it catches my eye. Do I really need for more to end up in the closet?
Lastly, and with more difficulty, are the papers that involve my children. I have cards sent when they were born. I have papers from the hospital. I have everything they made in preschool and kindergarten in my closet. (First grade on is somewhere else.) I have piles of photos of when they were babies. Looking back, I wonder where the time has gone. They were so little and now my oldest is 11. Her sister is 8. Those years of early childhood…gone. Yet they still have so much growing to do. I am enjoying this age of being able to have a discussion with them. I enjoy watching their interests and skills develop. The best part about seeing those old photos, crafts they made and stories they wrote, is that it all makes me smile. I don’t know if I am going to be able to part with any of it. I think I’ll be making some scrapbooks very soon. Until then..shhhhh…I’ll keep it all in the closet.