What you hang on to

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I am a keen believer in tossing out kipple so I don't have a lot of keepsakes hanging around in drawers, boxes and closets or collecting dust on shelves. I think that makes looking back at my historical record a revealing exercise. The things I own, I've made an effort to keep.

In a box in my parents' attic, there is a tiny silver bird figurine that was a gift from a college comrade. Some photos & the complete series of The Wizard of Oz. That single box contains other things from my childhood but except for the above listed, the rest is forgotten, its meaning lost, and could be thrown away now. So of my first twenty years, I had one significant friend and some reading material.

mementos.jpgHaving recently pared down my stuff in storage, I pitched out the old love letters, the awards and commendations from jobs long past, and souvenirs of forgotten events. Now I have little more than family photos and my drawings, paintings and prints. I nearly tossed the art, but Tod stopped me and I'm glad he did. That art's not just a relic, it's the true record of me.

The past six years have produced four significant items. Ganesha, overcomer of obstacles, found me in Bangkok. I have a rock from Ireland with a hole worn through it--perfect for focussing on things. A bit of lava I picked up while climbing Mt. Fuji reminds me of what I can do if I try. And a shell Tod found in Hawaii reminds me of beauty, warmth, and love.

Not everything I keep is good or uplifting. I have a disturbing ability to hang on to horrible e-mails: an exchange with someone I apologised to who then demanded an accounting of my actions; a correspondence that was a huge misunderstanding with a formerly close and now regretably distant friend; a draft (unsent) of a frustrated and angry message to a colleague. Why do I keep that stuff? Maybe to remind me of my failings...

What do you hang onto?

14 Comments

Oh, and I forgot. Email. Its a problem because it's easy to store. I have *every* email I have ever recieved, or sent. I backup onto CD, and rebuild the 'archive' everytime I format my PC, or get a new one.

I bought a cable for my mobile phone, and now I am storing my SMS messages too. Does this count as unnecessary 'hanging on'?

belly button lint mostly

I have a Fuji rock very similar to the one you displayed--I even identified it before reading your post, it was so familiar (I've been up and down 3 times).

Apart from that, I save... um, everything, I think.

I am such a bower bird.. I have a heap of stuff in storage at my parents house at home and I arrived with my photos, CD, clothes and tupperware (long story). I now have an apartment (albeit a small one) that is bulging at the seams from endless trips to antique markets and not enough wall space to hang my collection of postcards and other curios.. I think I need help for my retail therapy,, ^^

Like Chris, I find that I have a hard time getting rid of books, especially ones that I have purchased myself (second-hand books I can part with). Paperbacks sometimes leave my collection, but I believe I still have every hardcover book I've ever bought.

I was just asking the kids about collections the other day. I hoarde all sorts of things - little stones, scraps of interesting paper, office supplies (the small things I like the most), H's crafts and drawings, photos, books. I have a small envelope of H's baby teeth. Right now, my car holds a toner cartridge box full of cut out words, a scooter, poems and cards.

Oh yeah, and all the less meaningful collections were taken care of by the dog, remember? The ill-fated furry mouse collection, and trouble dolls.

Movie ticket stubs. I have every stub from every movie I've seen since about 1980...and I see a lot of movies!

When I was growing up, I had a lot of friends through my church, and we sang in a choir together in high school. At the bottom of my email inbox is a three-year old letter from one of my choirmates about the death of another choirmate (who was himself married to one of our choir friends). We were never very close but I remember him as a happy, funny kid. I always thought his death was terribly unfair; he had a young daughter who will only know him through pictures.
I don't know why I've kept the email; it just seems irreverant and sad to toss it away...like it would be tossing Matt away.

I keep:
-photos (a three-generational collection)
-books
-children's art
-antique sweaters
-the writings of others (my Dad, my Great Uncle George, Jenn, Kris and a few assorted others)
-bank statements from the dark ages
-a 30 year-old cape
-anything that might be a great prop
-a box in the attic with a siver bird, a complete collection of "Oz" books and other assorted things

My journals and diaries. I've been writing in them since I was about 8 years old, and they're in boxes at my parents' house. During my last visit, I read a couple of early editions, and I thought, "Patterns!" Feelings I had when I was so young are very similar to those I have today - which both dismayed and comforted me.

I would love to keep everything but with four kids and limited space I have to draw the line. Class pictures, year end report cards, art work special projects are saved each school year. Clothing that can be passed down to another sibling is saved. Clothing that can not be worn by the other kids is given to neighborhood kids or Good Will. I keep all photos!! Special cards, bank statements, paid receipts for several years, warranty information and instruction booklets for everything. I still have my high school scrapbook and I too have a box at my parents house filled with things of my childhood. I also have all my dolls and barbies. I thought some day I would have a girl who would love them as much as I did. Wrong, I have 3 boys and a girl who hates dolls. Oh my God, I guess I save everything!! No wonder why there is no room here.

Your rock from Ireland is probably actually a man-made tool from prehistoric times. It looks a bit like a rudimentary form of a cutting tool blade and would have been attached to a wooden or bone handle by those little holes, probably using animal ligaments. The sharp edges have been worn away by the tens of thousands of years that it took you to pick it up again.
I have found things similar and have studied prehistoric crafts a bit so I'm fairly confident that that's what it is, but I can't date it for you...

as i'm approaching a time in my life where i feel like i need to get rid of the excess in my life and keep what i really need to survive; there are 3 things that are really precious to me: laptop, bike and books. then there are my geo/building toys. as i feel like there's a calling for me to not have southern california own me, i'd like to shed and be as portable, light and mobile as i can. and i'd like to think that there is nothing i can't live without, because i had nothing when i was born.

the biggest thing i hang on to are the people i've connected with. in a passing moment. tangential. beautiful, real, fun. life. c'est la vie.

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  • karen lau: as i'm approaching a time in my life where i read more
  • Meenoo: Your rock from Ireland is probably actually a man-made tool read more
  • Heidi: I would love to keep everything but with four kids read more
  • Shannon: My journals and diaries. I've been writing in them since read more
  • fran: I keep: -photos (a three-generational collection) -books -children's art -antique read more
  • Razor: When I was growing up, I had a lot of read more
  • Bob: Movie ticket stubs. I have every stub from every movie read more
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