The things we keep


Despite the fact that my closets get cleaned out pretty regularly, you still never know what you’ll find in there.

After picking up my wedding dress, I quickly realized my overflowing childhood bedroom didn’t have space for that ginormous garment bag. As I continue to lose weight (now down 14 lbs.!) and go through my wardrobe, I’m realizing that many of the clothes I once loved have become . . . well, less exciting. And baggy. Or old. I need room for new things, so the old things must be redistributed. On a recent weekday night, I began to pull old stuff from my closet and bag up what I no longer need.

It was pretty therapeutic, actually.

One of my recent finds was that ensemble above: a long, wool nightgown featuring Taz the Tasmanian Devil. My “Looney Tunes” phase, circa 1995, was interesting; I still have the miniature Taz backpack I used to sport. I’m thinking my mom picked this little number up for me one Christmas — and it still had the tags.

As I prepare for the married life, I’m sure I’ll have a few breakdowns — and more “look what I found!” posts. As a twenty-something who still lives at home, I have quite the accumulation of materials. I’ve already purged the old ‘NSYNC and Backstreet Boys-emblazoned teen magazines, donated bags and bags of old T-shirts and corduroy pants and other ’90s-era fashion choices . . . and generally brought my room up to the 21st century. My space is, for the most part, pretty tidy — but I have a lot of stuff.

Stuff that will soon buddy up with Spencer’s stuff. And our stuff will just . . . throw a big party.

I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve kept and the things I’ve given away — especially now, being confronted with childhood memorabilia all over again. My old Minnie Mouse sleeping bag; a lopsided globe I won after being named champ of the fifth-grade Geography Bee; old trophies and lamps, Hanson shirts and yearbooks. An entire adolescence in one bedroom. My personal history distilled into . . . objects.

And they’re just objects. I’ve watched enough episodes of “Hoarders” to know these things are just things. But I think it’s safe to say that, you know, the items I’ve kept over the course of 27 years must be the ones with real meaning. These are the belongings I have to make room for in the next phase. Amidst all that will change, this is what I must keep.

Maybe not the Taz shirt.

But everything else.

5 thoughts on “The things we keep

  1. I’m a minimalist. I don’t keep much. But certain things are too nostalgic not too. I still have my sleeping bag from when I was a little girl. I’m saving it for Baby Whimsy.

    Good luck deciding what stay and what goes.

    The only thing I miss from my premarital purge was a comfy pair of tacky but fabulous jeans.


  2. I had to do this last year; from having my own bedroom for college to sharing a studio flat with my sister. A complete cut down of my things, I was left with two boxes.

    Sometimes these moments are good for us. Hey, I was completely nostalgic and teary eyed when I saw a bunch of christmas cards since the “Y2K”. It all means alot but there’s more important things when we move forward.

    welcome to the next phase 🙂


  3. About five years ago, my mom and dad drove down from IN (where I grew up) to my house down here and plunked a big old box of stuff on my doorstep. Mine to do with as I pleased! To the attic it went. I tend to do a great job of purging but there are some things just too precious for me to give up. And wait until you HAVE KIDS!!! You think you are attached to YOUR childhood stuff…wait until you have booties, baptismal gowns, drawings, report cards, stuffed loves, etc. I think that stuff breeds at night.


  4. I moved 4 times in 6 months last year (long story) and threw a TON of stuff out. Most of my stuff is clothes and books at this point. It was tough packing up my life the first time I moved out of the house I grew up in.


  5. Ugh, I do this all the time! I’ve moved so often as a Navy dependent that we were pretty quick to let go and re-start. But it’s difficult, sometimes, to know when something’s done being sentimental and has strayed towards the realm of being “stuff”.

    Some of my favorite moments of moving in with my husband were explaining all the stories and feelings behind my things: even when I got rid of them later. It was very cathartic to have someone else listen about it all.


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