Wednesday, March 15, 2017


*Edit: My mom's fear that I would actually toss any of these photos made me realize I didn't make my conclusion clear enough so let me preface this post by saying that this is really kind of a reflection on minimalism, which is very popular right now, but I don't find anything particularly great about tossing things that have sentimental value just because they're not necessary. My photos and letters are technically worthless and I may be a packrat, but I'd never be able to part with them...and I don't want to. 

I am a little bit of a hoarder. Not like the sick kind, but like the I can't let go of sentimental stuff kind. I've been attempting to consolidate some of my old things into just one or two boxes for storage, but I've been struggling.

I thought I'd share a few things I've unearthed recently in my attempt to spring clean. I just can't seem to part with this stuff!

First, I have an ugly, beat up shoebox full of old photos and the like. I feel like most people have a box like this.
Old, goofy photos of me and my siblings; pictures from our old neighborhood in Ohio; love notes Matt sent me while we dealt with being long distance; a funny coaster from a bar in England; photos of my old pups; postcards of some of my favorite paintings from the Tate Gallery.

In that top-center photo, we are putting on a show for our parents. We used to choreograph dances and perform. We were very talented.

Of course, an old Rampage shoebox can't hold everything. I have a bad habit of collecting notebooks and photo albums.
Hm. It looks so neat and tidy for a bag of hoarder-stuff.
First, I have some of the first books I ever wrote. In elementary school we "published" books. You'd write a story in class, choose a binding fabric, and volunteers would sew them into little books. If yours got a gold seal, you were chosen to read it to the principal and you got a toy out of a prize bin.
There's also a copy of a play I co-wrote in 6th grade. It actually became a school performance. Pretty neat.
Besides old schoolwork, I've held on to some things that I'm just not sure how to get rid of.
My old karate medals.
A signed copy of a Sugar Ray album. I met them when I was 15; they were super nice.
A pack of feminist tarot cards because for awhile I thought maybe I'd become a witch.
My cap from undergrad graduation. All the AXOs decorated our caps with a lyre.
Of course, I also have albums full of photos I rarely look at. Here's a glimpse at the important memories I'm saving in my freshman scrapbook.
I was obsessed with recording names for "future children." Ironic, now that I'm child-free.
I do have some things worth keeping among the random piles, though. My bat mitzvah guest book and Hebrew name certificate are important keepsakes, but the certificate is illegible due to water damage.
I wonder if I can get this restored somehow...
Going through some of this stuff has me wondering, what's the point of keeping it past a certain time? I rarely go back and look through these letters and pictures, and most of the photos don't mean much to me anymore. But for some reason, I still can't let them go!

I mean...are we supposed to shred or recycle things like this? Or are we saddled with it forever? Will I look through them someday when I'm 80 and be glad I held onto them?

I can't help but think that yeah, I will. Maybe I'm just enabling my hoarding, but...better safe than sorry, right?

Do you have a hard time letting go of sentimental stuff?
Do you have any schoolwork from when you were a kid?
What do you do with old photos, etc?



  1. I still have lots of stories I wrote as a kind and similar sentimental stuff as you. All my programs from musicals I have been in... I don't think I will ever throw that kind of stuff away! Honestly, it only takes up like one "tub" in my basement, so who cares? I have the room for it. Some things I saved make me happy and some things make me feel uncomfortable! Like reading letters my boyfriend wrote me when we went away to college. But I just can't part with it! (I don't read them a lot, I read them ONCE since we were together. I don't want you to get the impression I fall asleep reading old love letters... I fall asleep reading MURDERS!)

  2. So cool that you have those books bound and your play was performed! That's a great memory to have all on its own.

    I do feel the same way you do though and wonder why we are "suppose" to keep things. We cleaned out our basement last month and I tossed my Varsity letters in the trash and my husband was shocked. They were just in cheerleading and it's not like I was ever going to display I also threw away the class pic from our sorority and stuff like that. I probably would have threw away my college yearbook too since I hardly knew anybody in BUT I did save a Beverly Hills 90210 book. Yea, I have problems.

  3. There is nothing wrong with holding on to sentimental stuff, I would not say this is hoarding at all! I love all the things you are keeping! and I'm sure you will enjoy looking at them later in life.

    My mom used to show us the things she had kept, it was always such an amazing experience to sit with her and look at her treasures. She had old money, letters, photos. I need to create a chest like you have, and purge junk. I have my treasures spread out in different boxes.