or, More Thoughts on The Stuff We Keep

I’m visiting my parents for a few days, and on Saturday my mom and I finally went through the last closet of my stuff left at their house. It wasn’t much–between purging things and taking things with me to my apartment, it was mostly down to keepsake type things, or things that are too big or unnecessary for my current one bedroom digs. (Though we won’t even talk about the entire bookshelves of books I still have here, most of which I probably do want…those will be for down-the-road dream of having a house with a library…and a sliding ladder to reach the top of the floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves. Yeah, right.)

So, because I love lists, here’s a breakdown of some of the notable items. There’s definitely more I could list, but these are some of the things that stick out to me.

Things I Am Taking Home With Me:

  • the t-shirt quilt I had made as a high school graduation gift, and a twin-sized blanket that I think could be useful as an extra layer, even on our queen-sized bed
  • a few stray pairs of socks
  • a collapsible mesh laundry hamper
  • a couple of my favorite old sweatshirts
  • a pair of not-very-worn-out Old Navy flip flops
  • a carved wooden flower by George Berry, a craftsman we knew in Mississippi who always had "just one little stick" in his pocket from which to carve me a flower

Things I Am Leaving Behind To Be Loved In The Future:

  • a box of medals from swimming, a box of plaques and trophies from various things, and a notebook full of ribbons (somehow I couldn't bear to part with them)
  • a box of stuffed animals that maybe some hypothetical future child of mine will be able to love (though the collection has been greatly pared down)
  • 2 pieces of framed art that I may have a wall for some day
  • a small collection of twin bedding
  • a collection of commemorative Habitat for Humanity Christmas ornaments that my mom bought for my grandparents every year that has now been passed on to me
  • 1 box and 1 stack of old, well-loved children's books

Things I Finally Convinced Myself To Get Rid Of:

  • a box full of heat sheets from just about every meet I ever swam in (though, for the record, I nerdily read those over and over, even well after the event)
  • notebooks and folders full of every note and homework assignment I ever did in high school
  • a set of cheap sheets I used to cover the futon in my college dorm room
  • 2 twin-sized mattress covers (why did I even have two in the first place?!)
  • shoeboxes full of notes from my angst-ridden middle and high school days (I didn't even let myself read them before chucking them in the recycling)

My mom had been requesting that I do this with her for quite awhile, and I can see why now. The vast majority of what she had so carefully stored away for me was junk. I threw a lot away, and we’ll be taking several bags to Goodwill tomorrow. Sure, there were some treasures, some things I’d forgotten about and will love to have now, as well as some things that will be great to have later on, but most of it didn’t need to be taking up space in my parents’ closet. It didn’t take long, and it was a nice little trip down memory lane that I’m glad my mom left for me to do. And now everything is neatly boxed or bagged up and labeled, so that next time, we’ll know exactly what we’re getting into. It was another good exercise in letting go and being discerning about what I choose to fill my space with.

Tonight we’re going to look through the box labeled “LF Artwork”…that should be fun.

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman