I have avoided doing much decluttering of the keepsake boxes in my home so far. And yes I did say boxes as there is more than one. My husband did a once over of them quite early in our mission and then once or twice again of his own stuff since then but I have kept busy with everything else. I have focused mainly on the more obvious clutter but in all honesty I don’t relish the idea of sorting through all those fiddly bits. We have tackled photos one or twice as well but the bulk of that task is still ahead of us. It is not that I am emotionally attached it is just that it is a lot of faffing about and I prefer to deal with the other stuff right now.
Now the thing is, that not only have I not done much to sort and declutter in these boxes I haven’t even looked in them. The question then has to be asked ~ How much do we really need or cherish these items if we don’t even care to look at them. I would ultimately like to narrow down the collection to one box because, in reality, that is probably all that is in them that is important historically or personally.
So a Saturday I removed everything from the box that contains the items I have kept pertaining to my son. This is what was there…
- Glow in the dark dummy (pacifier)
- Baby hospital ID band
- Birth registration confirmation
- The identification card from the end of his hospital crib
- The calendar page from the month of his birth
- The ultrasound scan of him in my womb
- Hospital account for phone calls made ( that was pre-cellphone days)
- Baby cards
- A little outfit he wore as a baby
- Christening & holy communion cards & memorabilia
- First birthday cards
- School work samples
The first thing I did was take all of the items to Liam and asked him to go through them with me to decide what he wanted to keep. He took a look at the inside of a few cards and said ~ “Let me see, they say to us from someone and nothing else really.”. I showed him the birth registation document and he said ~ “If you want proof I was born I’m sitting right here.”. He looked over all the other items and said he didn’t want them except the ultrasound which he is going do some sort of photographic project with. That is the photographic/arts student coming out in him.
Now it was up to me to decide what to actually get rid of. Just because my son doesn’t care about these things at the young age of twenty doesn’t mean he won’t think differently when he is more mature. So I have set aside the first five items on the list as keepers and they all fit into one Ziplock sandwich bag. What I then worked on was the greeting cards. This is where the soul searching came in and there were a list of thoughts that ran through my head…
- Do I really need to keep these?
- What is important, a cute piece of cardboard made in a factory or the message inside from the person who gave the card?
- Would a scan of the card suffice for historic and sentimental purposes?
- Why do we even save these things, when did this tradition begin? Some of the people who gave these cards are no longer even in our lives.
- If every generation saved these things what sort of cluttered mess would a family be in in six generations from now?
- If I don’t want them and he doesn’t want them, what am I keeping them for?
In the end the decision wasn’t a difficult one. I cut the cards in half, flipped the pieces so I could scan the message and the cover at the same time, scanned them all and threw the cards into the recycling bin. The digital file of these cards will take up a lot less physical space than the cards themselves.
I will do the same thing with his school work samples because I don’t think we really need to keep the originals but some of the stuff he wrote was hilarious and will be fun to share with his kids if he ever has any. He has always has a cheeky sense of humour that one, I wonder where he got the from? 😉
Oh and I almost forgot to tell you the funny ending to this story. When we were going through the cards to scan them I found two cards from Liam’t great-grandma one had $5 in it and the other $20. The money has been there so long that it is no longer in circulation. Back in those days we had paper bills but now we have plastic one. See sample below of the change in the $20 bill. I don’t even know if he can cash them in for the current money. I’ll have to go to the bank to find out.
Today’s Declutter Item
Naturally my offering for today are the cards that I decluttered in the post above.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
A clean house, four loads of clean washing, some rearranging in the garage, a couple of extra small jobs around the house done and I am grateful to sit back now and enjoy an evening of relaxation. It is so nice to be surrounded by a clean home even if you did have to do it yourself. In fact I think that makes it even more satisfying.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast