We are getting ready to downsize. A friend of mine once said, “Your possessions tend to expand to fit your space.” I believe she was right, and, by the time one has circled the sun 50-something times like we have, there are a lot of possessions in the house!
So lately, I’ve been going through years of things…and of memories. It’s been fun but a little embarrassing to have so much stuff that I’d forgotten about some of it. I guess that makes it a bit like a treasure hunt.
I’ve been going through drawers, closets, cabinets, and attic space and it feels good to do a little walking down memory lane and also to do some thinning out. I tend to be sentimental about items and to keep everything that people I love have given me.
Recently, I came across a Catholic Rosary that my friend, Laurie, gave me 20 years ago. I’m not Catholic but I thought it was a really beautiful gift. Laurie got it in 1995 during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Croatia. Medjugorje is the small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina where the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing and giving messages to the world since 1981. I messaged Laurie with a picture of it a week or so ago, and she was surprised and delighted that I still have her gift all these years later.
I also found my mother’s 45 rpm records from when she was a teenager. Many of them are pretty scratched up but it was fun to see that she listened to some of the same artists that I did 20 years later! (Elvis, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin) Her records were stored in a basket along with the 45’s from my own teenage years.
Of course, I had to pull out the old turntable and give them a listen. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard a lot of them…”Knock Three Times” by Dawn, “Down By The Lazy River” by The Osmonds, “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack, “The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan…
An exciting find for me were some pottery pieces that my daughter, Anna, made in art classes when she was a girl. I’m just hoping she doesn’t see them and want them back because I love them!
If you read my blog regularly, you know about the horrible Homer Simpson Santa that I will never get rid of because it’s one of the last gifts my brother gave me before he died. When I look at that ugly thing, I remember how hard my brother laughed at the look of horror on my face when I opened it. Yep, Homer has a home for life…as long as I live, anyway.
Some of the items I found are kind of humorous in light of the level of technology in today’s world. I found an old portable cd player that I used to play with headphones when I walked on the treadmill. If I walked outside, I only had one coat with pockets big enough to fit it. I also found the portable DVD players we had for the kids for long car and plane rides so they could watch movies.
Oh, and then there’s the cassette tape player that I used for interviews, and the Polaroid Camera that I took pictures with at all of our Halloween parties when the kids were growing up, and the extra VHS tapes, and the typewriter I received for my 18th birthday just before I left for college…you just never know when you might need those things!
While I appreciate the nostalgic value of these items, I think it might be time to let them go. Age and wisdom have also taught me that people don’t expect you to keep every little thing they have given you. Especially if it’s something you don’t really like or use. So, here are the criteria I am using to decide whether or not to keep things:
*Is it something I use or think I will use in the near future?
*Is it something I love? Do I get pleasure from having it in my home or by sharing it with others?
*Is it something with family sentimental value that I want to pass down to my children or to show my grandchildren some day?
*Do I have room for it?
Obviously, I will keep items like family pictures from back in the day when we actually had paper copies of our pictures. And my books…I’m a writer and I love my books. But the rest of it is up for consideration.
Author’s note: I’d love to hear how you decide what to keep and what to cast away?