Getting rid of my unused, unwanted, and unreasonable items of clothing wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. The ones I struggled with I often would seek friends’ advice. Who were either helpful or enabling, depending on who. There are two types of friends.
Type 1: “Oh just keep it, you’re so tiny, your clothes are tiny, it’ll fit in your bag”. (You know who you are!)
Type 2: “Cut”
So naturally you start with type 1 before moving on to type 2 because let’s face it you want someone to make you feel better about your unnecessary purchases and aren’t ready to let go.
So once my closet had more empty hangers than clothes I decided I would take a break and move on to the most daunting phase of all: Phase 2: Momentos.
It’s one thing to get over the fact that most material things shouldn’t have sentimental value, like clothes and furniture and shoes. But what about those childhood journals and your parents wedding video? What about that mixed tape your first boyfriend made you? What about that ridiculous storybook you made in kindergarten or the little notes your Dad left you? What about that time in Grade 5 when your parents sent you a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day and you felt like the most loved little girl in the world and you kept the card as a reminder?
The list could go on, and on, and on. We all have or had these momentos and all know how hard it is to let go. And hard to decide if you should let go. Sure there are a lot of amazing benefits to purging and minimizing, but is there a limit? How far do you go?
I remember one time in university a lit candle accidentally burnt my favourite picture from when I was a baby. I was laying on my Dad’s belly and it almost looked like I was pretending to be an airplane. I cried for so long. It was before the digital age and I was so worried there weren’t any copies whatsoever. The image is forever in my mind, but somehow losing that physical photo just broke my heart. But why? Shouldn’t it be enough that I would never forget it?
So I had to make some compromises. Technology is mostly destroying us (topic for a different post one day) but one benefit is that we can digitize pretty much anything. Here’s what I did:
- Photos: I have thousands of photos – and that’s not an exaggeration. Plus, this is before digital cameras. I won’t even bother getting the number of digital photos I have for you. So I bought a scanner, threw out the unnecessary blurry photos of random scenery I would never be able to remember, and scanned the rest.
- Journals: I decided to keep these. Of course 20 years from now I want to read about my first crush in elementary school! Or see that bus ticket I saved from my first ride on public transit. They’re all dramatic, emotional, and hilarious.
- Letters: I had a full box of cards and letters, when people actually sent snail mail. I used to have pen pals, and write to my uncles and aunts, friends and boyfriends. So I scanned it all.
- Trinkets and such: I have my first pair of shoes my Mom turned in to pewter bookends, just didn’t have the heart to get rid of them. My baby blanket – keeping.
- Music**: I downloaded all of my CDs and planned on storing them on a hard drive. Sure, music is easy to get nowadays, but there’s nothing like listening to an album from beginning to end. And all the CDs we bought when traveling of artists I would never remember. The vinyls – keeping.
**A sad side note story: after spending hours downloading all my CDs, I completely forgot to transfer them to my external hard drive before wiping out my desktop computer and selling it! It took a few days to get over it, but was a good example of why we shouldn’t be so attached!
So in the end, I was left with only a few items and they were definitely worth keeping. With the help of some very generous friends, these items have safe homes for when I eventually settle somewhere.