I love a good purge. When I was a kid, I was big on keeping every little memento, picture, or piece of paper it seemed. But when grown-up life required many cross country/world moves, I developed a love for downsizing. I'll look at things and think, "If I were moving to Kabul tomorrow and could only take two suitcases, would I take this with me? Would I pay to store it?" Those two questions do wonders for not growing too attached to things and keeping our stuff to a minimum. Of course, now that we have a house and kid(s), this minimal lifestyle is much harder. And I do have a soft spot for things attached to memories (i.e. I'm more likely to keep something due to the giver not the gift). But I love tearing through a box found in some forgotten corner, stored for years, filled with things that I once thought worthy of keeping. It gives me a great little unedited picture of the person that turned into me.
Last week, Mary sent me home from family dinner with three gigantic boxes tucked away in their attic for the last 9 years. Two of those boxes had been packed and not revisited since high school. They were definitely old school. . . we're talking preschool class picture, 3rd grade valentines, middle school yearbook old school. And there were so, so many random trinkets, bracelets, and various baubles that were worth being lovingly packed away that spark no memory whatsoever today (and if you know me, you know I have a pretty keen memory). Seriously, why did I keep a stack of arcade tokens in a jewelry box? In the end, I have one small box staying, one large box Goodwill-ing, and one larger stack of what in the world was I thinking?
So, here are some of my keep or toss items:
Keep: My American Girl Doll, Kjersten. She'll be passed on to Aurelia in a year or so.
Toss: My binder full of certificates I received throughout elementary, middle school, and high school. Of course, it was refreshing to know that I received an honorable mention at the Lighthouse Christian School 7th grade Art Fair and that my cabin received the "Fashionably Late" award at 5th grade camp.
Keep: My three charm bracelets. Yes, three. Two are blank slates that I'll pass on to our daughters. The other actually has some charms on it such as a ballet charm and a charm of my patron saint St. Jude (the patron saint of hopeless causes.). I'll always remember how special and fun we thought Mom's charm bracelet was when we were growing up.
Toss: Greeting cards and valentines from elementary school from people I don't know anymore, stored in a folder with a list of things I love written on the front. This list from 3rd grade includes going to the cabin, getting mail, Topo Gigio (please follow the link, it's worth it), challenges, getting mail, cows, puppies, clear nights, 'writting,' and (like any good Washingtonian) apples.
Keep: My first passport. A) The picture is awesome. I had sweet hair. B) I think it explains my love for travel since it has 9 stamps in it and it expired when I was 14. Kuddos to my parents for taking us places. Aurelia's passport has two stamps so far.
Toss: "Class of 2000" paraphernalia and my cap and gown. Maybe I'll keep the cap and gown for the dress-up box I know is inevitably in my future as the mother of girls. I'll also be putting my senior banquet dress in there.
Some random things that made me laugh: My parents let me fill out my own K-12 memory book (meaning I filled it out until 7th grade and lost interest). When I was in 2nd grade, my one like was spinach and dislike, white chocolate. When I was in 7th grade, I wanted to be an engineer. Kindergarten Julie's favorite song was "Oh Susanna" and had a pet gerbil named Bill, named after my dad. As a 4th grader, the most influential person in my life was Jean Kesterson (pictured below on the left with Padraig).
It's also pretty hilarious to read what people wrote in my middle school year books. One unsigned message said, "I'm sorry I made you throw up." I don't remember that. And I have so many "Friends 4-ever". I was also chided not to do drugs or drink alcohol if I ever had a baby by one signer, sage 6th grade advice. And my first "boyfriend" told me he hoped our relationship didn't go "kaput" over the summer between 8th and 9th grade (those of you who know Chris Bechtel can giggle about that).
And finally, I made another step towards completing my 30 before 30 list. What do you think of our new home decorations? And what should I do with my "1993 Undefeated Champions" soccer trophy?