As much as I hate to admit it, I realize that I do fall into this category.
This habit was recently highlighted when I found a notebook of doodles from when I was in second grade.
I saved many of my notebooks from college, and I have actually referred back to the notes in one of them.
While studying journalism at Lee University, I completed the Gallup StrengthsFinder. This assessment asks for a person to gauge, between two sentences, which one is closer to their beliefs and actions. It then determines a person’s top five strengths. One of mine was intellection.
I also received a book explaining ways to embrace and further develop these strengths. Being a newly transferred college student with plenty of time to read, I read parts of it. Basically, intellection means I enjoy learning new things and gathering information. (Another one of my strengths was “input,” meaning I like sharing information with others which makes journalism a perfect career for me.)
One way Gallup said to embrace and develop my intellection strength was to save information and create my own library; thus, the saved notebooks.
I’ve also saved the textbooks dealing directly with journalism from my college days.
However, it is not my enjoyment of information that makes it hard for me when it comes time to get rid of something as part of spring cleaning.
No, what makes it difficult is that with each possession I have collected memories. I can remember how I came to own just about every stuffed animal or figurine I have.
If these items could talk, some would tell stories of faraway places of adventure. Others would tell of people who meant a lot to me that are no longer here to tell their stories themselves.
Dolls would speak of tea parties and being served lunch as an orphan by the Weber sisters. Teddy Bears and stuffed dogs would tell of a curly haired toddler reading books with her father. Some figurines would tell of when they were made, forged in an oven on a Saturday of baker’s clay.
These are memories that I would like to keep, and so the animals and figurines stay as almost a visual way to go back in time to when I received them or to the memories I attach to them.
Spring is a time for new beginnings and a time for change. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. So I am faced again with the decision of what will go and what will stay. Some things are easy to let go of, almost like a memory I wish I could forget. Like items I forgot I owned: the clown figurine which I don’t remember receiving, or who gave it to me; random toys that have sat in a box for three years in a closet untouched.
I hope those items, as I box them up for a local nonprofit, will mean good memories to those who will own them next.
Sometimes I look around and wonder would I really miss some of these things if I were to get rid of them. The answer is probably not. Although, sometimes you never know when you will need something.
My dad used to say there are some things you should never get rid of. For him, these things are certain spare parts that could come in handy and save money later.
I have found, much as has Samwise Gamgee in “Lord of the Rings,” that a length of rope is always a useful thing. I have kept Tupperware even if the lids are missing because they still come in handy. One bowl became a flowerpot. Others are simply used again for storing food only with plastic wrap.
Cleaning and organizing a room seems to take me forever. Each item I pick up has the potential to whisk me away from the task at hand, such as a magazine I had wanted to read but never found time for, or an old birthday card.
I cherish the memories that many of my possessions hold. However, for some the time has come to let go. It is time to make room for what this season holds with a little less clutter.