In this world, there are people who save things and people who don’t—and I guess some people who probably fall somewhere in between.
I am a “don’t save things” kind of person—it’s in my genes. In my family, if you get a new pair of shoes, you should really give away an old pair. This is partially about making space for new things and mostly about recognizing the importance of having a finite number of possessions that you appreciate, rather than an accumulation of stuff. I’m not the most organized person, but the less stuff and clutter, the better.
I always say that I’m not sentimental about things—ticket stubs, clothes, cards, etc. But I do value memories and traditions—I love looking at old photos and watching old videos, treasure the pair of earrings and handkerchief I inherited from my great-grandmother on my wedding day and Flower, the smiley-faced baby toy I slept with from the time I was six months old until I got married, still has a home in my nightstand drawer so it’s close to me at night.
My husband Mike is more of a sentimental saver. He holds on to receipts and ticket stubs forever and has t-shirts in his closet that are more than 20 years old. When we came back from our recent trip to Europe—Mike’s first trip abroad—he saved all of the maps and museum tickets and flight reservations in a Ziploc bag that I desperately want to throw away.
When I got back from studying abroad my junior year of college, coming home put me in a funk—it was such a meaningful and life-changing time for me and I needed to figure out a way to close that chapter and move on to the next. So every night for weeks, I sat down and worked on a scrapbook, adding in ticket stubs and photos and memories I didn’t want to throw away, for once. The final product wasn’t very pretty—I’m not really the artistic type—but I felt the closure I needed and was happy to have those memories tucked away somewhere tangible.
Since Mike and I returned from our trip to Europe, I think we both have felt that same need to package the enormity of the experience into something tangible, other than a Facebook album and the Ziploc bag, of course. So for Mike’s birthday, I spent hours agonizing over creating a Shutterfly photo album, moving photos around and telling the story of our trip. When I clicked the order button, I felt that same sense of satisfaction I had finishing up my study abroad scrapbook. Hopefully when he sees it, Mike will feel the same.
I guess maybe I am more sentimental than I think I am, or maybe there are just some memories—and even some things—that are too meaningful to just throw away.