It took a few days, but, Reader, I am done with “sentimental” and therefore also done with Phase I.
I have now gone through every single one of my possessions.
Generally this is what I was left with:
- Family mementos
- Things of personal significance and meaning to me
With a very few exceptions, the correspondence, greeting cards, and post cards I have been holding onto for the past twenty-five years got chucked. I reread everything and while it was a memory-provoking, enjoyable experience, greeting cards inscribed with a mere “Happy Birthday!” and a “Love, so-and-so” didn’t make the cut.
Likewise the artwork my brother and I sent my grandmother was tossed (I did consult with my brother, but he didn’t want it). We’re talking the Jackson Pollack-like scribblings of four-year-olds minus the talent of Mr. Pollack.
Mementos from the weddings of friends who have since divorced met the same destination.
So what is left?
Family mementos are things that aren’t of genealogical interest, but which I felt were things I wanted to hang onto. My paternal grandparents’ prayer books, pieces my father wrote, some of my mom’s childhood artwork, and a handful of other items.
My own mementos were a mix of things. There’s a bit more than I was hoping for: a few dolls from childhood, articles or stories that I wrote that got published, school yearbooks, some theatre programs, and a few odds and ends.
I kept the journals. I have no idea how I’ll store them long term, but after a lot of angst, I felt like they were keepers.
And then there were photos, which I thought were going to be awful, but which were actually pretty easy. I forgot I’d gone through these a couple of years ago although it looks like I never finished the job.
Things I tossed:
- Blurry photos, photos with my thumb in the corner, photos where people’s eyes were closed
- Duplicates (understand we’re not talking precious family photos, but rather dupes of scenery from vacations)
- Near duplicates – Richard Avedon I am not. There’s no sparked joy in five photos of the same building from almost identical angles.
- My rather extensive collection of photos of the spaces in every apartment I have ever lived in. They were taken for insurance purposes. I haven’t lived in those places in years and years.
With everything that I let go of, I did do an internal “thank you.” I kept these things for a very long time for lots of really good reasons. It’s just the reasons aren’t there anymore.
So what’s next?
I am going to figure out how to box this stuff up and find a temporary home for it all.
And then I figure out permanent storage solutions for most of the things from Phase I.