Tossing “Things That Must Not Be Thrown Away”
The FP family has a big move coming up–Pennsylvania to the Denver area, or about 1700 miles. Since we have very little cash at the moment, it’s especially important that we keep the cost way, way down. And that means as small a load as possible.
We have actually moved several times, so you would think that we had already reduced our possessions to the minimum. Not so. Sure, we thought we had, but subconsciously we (OK, especially I) had been following certain rules about Things That Must Not Be Thrown Away. I hauled around the TTMNBTA from one home to another, tucked in the back of a closet. But did I really need them? The amount of stuff you own affects not only how much it costs to move, but how large a home you think you need. This time, I was ready to tackle the TTMNBTA.
First on the TTMNBTA list was photographs, two shoeboxes full of them. Now, I keep scrapbooks, and have done so since my senior year in high school. So any photos from the last seventeen years are, by definition, photos that were not good enough for the scrapbook; a few are duplicates. The older photos were mostly—in duplicate prints made from disposable cameras—pictures of people with whom I went to various camps, all but two of whom I have entirely lost touch with and most of whose names I no longer remember. I kept one or two photos from each event. The rest—trash. And the negatives. I remember holding negatives up to the light to find a picture I wanted to make a copy of, but those days are gone.
Next up, journals. Surely those are a TTMNBTA? I was one of those angsty girls who was never out of reach of a blank book. I filled volume after volume with… nothing of any value. Seriously, even I don’t want to read about my tenth grade crush or ill-advised freshman year dalliance, certainly not in the excruciating and embarrassing detail in which I recorded them. The entire stack goes in the recycling bin.
More: three binders of school papers, comb-bound yearbooks from the aforementioned camps, a middle school yearbook, the stack of cards I received at every major event from my high school graduation to the first birthday of my second child, postcards from friends’ vacations, three more binders full of truly dreadful fiction and poetry written before I had achieved my second decade. I kept a few representative items from each category.
As I started kicking around ideas in my head for this blog post, I realized there was something else I needed to add to this list: my very last American Girl doll. I was into dolls in a big way. Besides the first four American Girls (from back when they were cool, before they were Mattel), I once possessed perhaps a dozen other dolls, many of them named Laura after the Little House heroine (blonde dolls were Mary, after her sister). Most went out at a yard sale in 2009. I gave Molly to my much younger sister-in-law. Felicity to my niece. Last Christmas, a Facebook friend was griping about the excessive prices people charge for used AGs, so I gave her a very good deal on Kirsten.
There was one left. I thought I needed to keep this one last one as a memento of something that was once soooo important to me, and I fought Mr. FP tooth and nail when he wondered why a grown woman, the mother of sons, needed a doll. Not open for discussion, I told him. But really, can I justify letting it take up space in my home? Having it add, however infinitesimally, to the cost of our move? Nope. Casually mentioned to a neighbor with a five-year-old that I was planning to unload Samantha, and she couldn’t write me a check for $50 fast enough. (Mr. FP was shocked. Had he known that used dolls were worth that much, he would have argued much harder!) Not only do I not need the doll, I kinda do need the money, and now the kid will have a nice birthday present.
So far, I feel much lighter and pretty proud of myself for making room, and I can’t wait to tackle my clothes! Have you let go of things you thought you would keep forever? Any regrets?