I grew up attaching sentimental value to material things. I was the kid who never used her stickers because what would happen if I found the perfect place and occasion to use that super duper cool Lisa Frank rainbow colored cheetah sticker and I had already stupidly used it on a notebook? I mean, who put stickers on paper, right?! Stickers were meant to be saved and used only for super special occasions on super special things. So when I was a teen I had boxes full of stickers that no longer stuck because the glue had finally given up after all those years.
When I was a teen, I had this one t-shirt that was just awful. It was a white tee with a story printed on it about mice. It was on a background that had some mid-century art on a rolled-out scroll. It was weird. It made people stop and try to read the story which made me feel super awkward because it was on my chest, after all. But my grandpa bought me the shirt and so I associated it with him and donating it felt like I was being unappreciative and like I didn’t love him. I did the same thing with letters from friends and pretty much anything my mom, grandma, or grandpa ever bought me.
Needless to say, this translated into my adult life and I hung on to pretty much everything because you never knew when something would come in handy. Hence my three boxes worth of shopping bags my husband pulled out of my apartment when we moved into our house. My grandma always had a thing about keeping the good shopping bags (you know, the ones made out of thick plastic with sturdy handles), so I guess that stuck with me and I just kept accumulating bags and more bags because doing so always reminded me of my grandma.
I slowly started to learn that letting go of things didn’t erase memories, but old habits die hard. Five years in this house and you’d be hard pressed to find evidence that I was still a bit of a hoarder, but if you dug in the cabinets under the sink or the bottom of the pantry or the depths of my closet, you’d find bits and pieces of things that seem like meaningless odds and ends, but somehow remind me of something my grandma once said or something she’d keep.
As I typed this post, I realized that this is not where this post was supposed to go. I was going to tell you all about my decluttering adventures, and how freeing it’s been, but instead it became a trip down memory lane and a sort of introspection. It kind of brought up all kinds of happy feelings, so I’m just going to leave it here for a rainy day when I need a bag and can’t find one because I’ve finally let go of the habit. ❤