09 April 2015

A Box of How It Used to Be

An update, one week later:

It was supposed to rain all weekend and then didn't so I didn't work on my culling project.  Also, Kevin was home all weekend so we were busy doing married couple stuff.
I knew I couldn't get the memorabilia properly sorted when he was home because of the interruptions, the "Why do you even have that?", the puppy, and my own short attention span.

During the weekend I did finish organizing the rest of the closet though.  I loaded the truck with stuff for Goodwill and errands that needed finishing.  My plan was to do the errands first thing Monday morning and then dedicate the afternoon to the project.

Well, I did finish the errands; some of which have been dogging me for months.  I bought a mocha (duh) and four hours later - almost to the minute - and I'm 75% finished.  Two totes and a shoe box has now been culled to one tote.  Everything is kind of sorted into a wonky chronological order and waiting for the next step.

I started out methodically.  I put the puppy outside, I turned on a Bones marathon, and began sorting.  I made myself go through each grouping before beginning another.  Looking back, I do wish that I was a little more organized about it but there was just So Much Stuff.

Graduation announcements (mine, my brothers, the nieces and nephews), more greeting cards, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, random receipts.  Stuff that meant something at the time.  I will say that about 25 percent of it was tossed.  Somethings have just lost their importance some 20-30-40 years later.

I accidentally cropped the couch, thus missing a stack of stuff.  Also, the half-full tote is hidden by the table.  But you get the idea. Please say you do because I'm exhausted.

I did separate a few items to be given to people.  I sent a newspaper photo of my "sister" to her in the mail.  I found a picture of my step-nephew (a long story) that I need to scan and send to him.  There were a few tokens that I've kept out and am considering their fate. Give them away to one of the kids, or simply goodwill them, or put them back. I'm just not sure.

I took a few items to my hometown historical museum.  Old school newspapers, my dads letterman jacket letter, my brother's homecoming pin, and some other stuff.  They were excited to have it and I was relieved to give it to a place where they will be enjoyed.

One more thing: I did take the big box of greeting cards to the recycling center.  I just took a deep breath and dumped them overboard.  I didn't look back afterward.  I'm just happy to not have them staring at me, waiting their fate.

I was surprised how exhausted I was after this project.  Not just physically, it wasn't that exerting, but emotionally.  There were a few emotional time-bombs in there.  The next day I found myself not mustering much more energy than was required for basic care and daily chores. This, I'm guessing, is why experts say not to keep this kind of stuff.

Everything is packed away again.  I kept the tote out for a few days afterward to attempt to keep forward momentum.  The next step is going to be putting items into scrapbooks and that is going to take a bit of an investment, both financially and time-wise.  I chose my battle and tucked the tote back into the corner of the closet.  

Two epiphanies:

The wheels seemed to have fallen off my childhood around the time my paternal grandma died.  I just never did the math before and it makes sense now.  There is a sort of, kind of, comfort to it.  A period of time to point to and say "THAT'S when sh*t got real."  I was six-years-old.

Even though a person hears it their entire lives: life does get better as you get older.  I read notes from high school chock full of melodrama, stuff from my twenties filled with a different kind of melodrama, items from my thirties when I joined the time of a person's life when people begin getting divorced, sick, dying and you're trying to figure out how to deal.  Now I'm in my forties and life has leveled out a bit.

I'm guessing this is why people keep memorabilia.  To remember how it used to be.

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