On Tuesday, I wrote about the clutter trend ,where people won’t make decisions about their deceased parents’ belongings and, instead, move their parents’ entire house into the garage.
Today, I want talk about another clutter trend I notice, and that is people keeping every single card, map, photo, movie ticket, concert ticket, kids’ art project, term paper and math test, so they can “remember” it.
This means they are surrounded by thousands of pieces of paper in their homes and offices.
First, I am here to give you permission to not remember Every. Single. Thing. that has happened in your life. If you think about it, it’s really a narcissistic pattern.
I promise you will remember the important things. I remember all four years at the University of Virginia because I did not drink. Beer — ewwww. I remember dancing on the jumbotron at the 2004 World Series between the Cardinals and Red Sox. I also remember my husband’s friends calling him from the other side of the stadium to ask if that was Leah dancing on the jumbotron. I remember every moment of the deliveries of my children.
I don’t remember much when my children were toddlers because they are 19 months apart. But do I really want to remember that period of constant exhaustion and survival-mode?
Second, you are lying to yourself when you say you’re keeping these physical items as a way to remember. This practice is really about creating chaos, so you can sabotage yourself and not wake up, live consciously and become self-aware.
You do this for a myriad reasons. You are afraid of success. You are afraid of the breakdown. You are afraid to look at your marriage. You are afraid to look at your weight or your health. You are afraid to look at how much you spend. I could go on and on.
It’s time to get real. You can’t have the break through without the breakdown. Stop sabotaging yourself by creating chaos.
You don’t have to get rid of it all. If concerts are your thing, keep the concert stubs. My husband loves live sporting events. He has a shoe box of his tickets. I love letters. But they are in ONE box. So when we die, our children can look through them and then toss the boxes. Easy peasy, as my son says.
But we don’t have maps from our trips or all the paperwork from our honeymoon or movie tickets or every single piece of art our children have brought home. In fact, a lot of the art goes in the recycling bin because I don’t and they don’t really love it.
Keep a few physical memories, not 1,000.
Because, see above. If you don’t get rid of it now, it will become your children’s burden.