A year or so ago, I was at my moms house going through boxes and containers of our old “stuff” that she had saved over the years. She needed more space in her closets and asked me to take what I wanted to keep. I threw out old trophies and pictures and love notes, keeping only a few things. When I told friends about this, they were shocked. Don’t you want to save that for your kids? Doesn’t your mom want to save that? You really just threw it all away?
You see, I’ve always been something of a minimalist when it comes to excess stuff. And clutter makes me a bit twitchy. We moved a lot growing up, and I’ve lived in 7 different homes in the last 10 years. The more stuff we had, the more we had to move. I have gotten used to keeping only what is necessary just as my mom always did. So, it’s no surprise that the same is true when it comes to my daughter’s things.
My husband on the other hand, is the opposite. When we first moved in together and went through his closet, we ended up throwing out several bags of clothes from high school, a gift from a middle school girlfriend, and a WALKMAN! Of course, my mother in law still has all of his old baby clothes and toys, so it didn’t come as too much of a shock that he needed some teaching in the stuff removal department.
You can find me sorting through my daughter’s toys and closet monthly. Pulling out the things that are no longer worn or played with and, more often than I’d like to admit, making room for the new. I even go through my keep boxes several times a year as I find that as time passes, I’m more willing to part with many things. I often get questions like, “Aren’t you sentimental?”, “Don’t you want to save that in case you have another girl?”, “Are you not going to have more children?”, “Is she going to have anything left to play with?”, “Didn’t she just get that for Christmas/her birthday/waking up on the right side of the bed?”.
- Honestly, I’m not all that sentimental. I keep a few little things: the hat my daughter wore home and the occasional favorite outfit. But mostly, I use pictures and memories to keep track of things. I don’t get pleasure from filling my attic full of boxes of stuff.
- Yes, I plan to have more children. And no doubt they will have plenty. Etta Mae had more outfits than days to wear them, so clearing out a good portion of them should have no long-lasting negative effects on future children.
- Is she going to have anything left to play with? To be honest, she’d probably be more than happy with a few dolls and refrigerator box. But in all seriousness, yes. There is never a shortage around here. When you’re the only grandchild on both sides of the family, you never go without a gift for long. And let’s not forget that some of the best play comes from being outside, using your imagination, and experiencing the world around us.
So, please, stop making me feel guilty for getting rid of MY stuff. At the end of the day, it is just that: STUFF. The memories and the people we share them with are all that truly matter.