Preparation 101


Decluttering and minimizing has been a longterm effort for me. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff in the last couple of years, but there were still boxes of “stuff” that I brought with me when I moved. At the time, I couldn’t handle dealing with what remained of my clutter. Now that I’ve lived in this quite small house for several months, I’ve confronted my clutter again. I’m determined to live within the bounds of this small house. I don’t like clutter, so living within the bounds of a small house with limited storage pushes me to get rid of more junk.

Most of the junk I have left involves boxes (and boxes) of old personal papers, childhood keepsakes, and stupid crap like notes I wrote in class in junior high. (WHY? Why do I still have these things????) Some things were difficult to get rid of, and I find I have to take several stabs at it, then I can usually finally get rid of it. Other things are easy. It always works best for me if I have something for comparison. Today, I had a box of my old childhood dolls. My mom saved all my dolls. And I had several other boxes of crap. I had to decide what I had room to keep. I used the dolls, which I care about, as leverage against the other stuff. Did I care about this, that, and the other MORE than the dolls? I was easily able to throw out a lot of crap like that! Space for the dolls was a higher priority than almost anything else. Little could live up to the doll test.

It IS entertaining sometimes looking through these old boxes of crap. Example: For some reason, I held onto these school passes all these years. (Not to mention an old name tag from Camp Wamava. Seriously. NOT EVEN MY OWN. The used name tag of boy I had a crush on. I probably stole it from a trash can after he threw it away!) Anyway. Back to the General Use Slip school passes.

I could be admitted to class at any time! Excused! Or I might need to visit the lavatory! Or my locker! Oh, the options. I could leave early, too! I might need to visit the doctor. Or the dentist. Or go home. Or OTHER. I could do anything, and be anywhere–with a pen and my stolen pack of General Use Slips.

I showed these to Morgan and she said, “I’ve never done anything like this.”


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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on May 2, 2012  

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15 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 5-2

    Sounds like a fun trip down memory lane while you are cleaning out. How about making one scrapbook from the best stuff. Keeping memories alive is a good thing, reminds your kids that you were once young like them. Of course we do not have to admit to EVERYTHING we ever did, lol :happyflower:

  2. 5-2

    Brings back memories for me!! I have kept things like that too, and now my Mama is giving us boxes of our stuff, so that she can get it out of her way. Guessing that the idea is that it will be in our way and we will have to deal with it and get it out of our way! LOL!!
    Yes, you are right, little can live up to the doll test!

  3. 5-2

    In the last 15 yrs. we’ve moved 3 times. And each move we got rid of stuff. We had to, we moved,initially ,from a 3500 sq.ft. Victorian home to ,now, a 1600 sq. ft. Craftsman bungalow. But after 10 yrs. here we still are getting rid of stuff. I find every year I am able to emotionally let go of things I couldn’t last year. so I think it’s a process. We do have 2 adult children ,who got married in the last 18 mos. who need to also collect their stuff.

  4. 5-2

    If there are papers I really want to keep from when I was young I scan them, let go of the physical paper but keep the scan.

    Carrie in UT

  5. 5-2

    Paper clutter could be scanned and saved to a disc. It might be fun to go back to those old school papers and notes. Who knows you might be able to put those smaller dolls/toys on the scanner too.

  6. 5-2

    I see that comments 4 and 5 are similar to what I was going to write. Recently I read a suggestion to solve the problem. She recommended taking photos of everything then getting rid of the items. But, have I done that yet? Noooo, of course not. Still, a good idea.

  7. 5-2

    I have so much crap. Seriously. But most of it is *useful* crap. You know, half-empty cans of paint and screws left over from jobs and such. The three drills I have because I kept misplacing the other(s).

    What I wish I had instead of three cans of spackle are my old high school love letters and morbid poetry. At one point I thought they were stupid and threw them out. For closure I suppose. I think you’re good with tossing the name tag and other old papers. But be careful. You never know. You could always utilize a corner of the barn…out of sight out of mind.

  8. 5-2

    I had a signed slip that the teacher had left the time and place blank on. I kept that bad boy for over a year and man did I use it. Okay, I think I used it once.

  9. 5-2

    Ah, Suzanne and LisaAJB–your mis-spent youth is revealed to all. Such dangerous rebellions. Why I even remember sharing a CIGARETTE with my girlfriends on the way home for Senior Half-day (we got a 1/2 day off of school that others didn’t our senior year). MAJOR rebellion–wild flaming youth! [chuckle] I’ve read an ancestor’s diary where sneaking off from her dusting to walk by the river was cited as a major rebellion. But in its day it was a way of asserting our independence.

  10. 5-2

    Perhaps not feeling comfortable about “letting go” of our past, is an admittance that some of those youthful feelings of uncertainty, fear and some small comforts are still part of who we are way back in the quiet corner of our “today” brains. But, we wouldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t conquered and come to terms with those feelings. Think of a stairway always leading upward. We stand in the moment, proud and confident, a product of the journey. The final letting go of those mementos is so freeing. Scanning them and having them on disc is not a bad idea as backup…freeing up precious physical space. As a side note, I know of a nationally known portrait artist who is boxing up all his “stuff”, correspondence etc. and “donating” it to the National Archive.

  11. 5-2

    I just went thru this myself, and it was indeed hard to do! I took a big rubbermaid container and labelled it “Memories”. I filled it halfway then took a break. I found stuff I didn’t even know I still had. I couldn’t bear to deal with it at that moment so into the tub it went.

    I condensed about 10 office sized boxes of stuff down to that one tub. Then I had a cry and a glass of wine.

    But never never found anything as useful as those permission slips! :lol:

  12. 5-2

    Oops I meant to say, “I never found anything”, not never never.


  13. 5-2

    Um. I’ve totally forged my mom’s name on a note or two. Just sayin.

  14. 5-3

    How in all my years of reading and enjoying CITR, did I miss that you attended school in Montgomery County, MD. Really caught me by surprise.

  15. 5-6

    Oh you sly devil you!! ;-)

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