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Keep It? Trash It? Remember It Forever?

I am in the process of moving from the apartment I've lived in for more than 3 years to a brand new (to me) townhouse!

My New Place!
Anyway - on Saturday I went into my closet and thought "I should go through these cards and throw most of them away, why am I such a pack rat?"  I mean, I had a TON of cards - I've been keeping things for years ... notes from old roommates, Halloween cards, Christmas cards, Thank You cards, an entire container of cards I got when I left my last job almost 3 1/2 years ago, and even bills from years ago that needed to be shredded.  And after reading this post from Kendra (Q2), I had been thinking about going through these things for weeks - and also that I'm trying not to move trash into my new house.

So I started with this mess of stuff...

You are seeing that correct - that is a basket, an animal cracker container, a shoe box, and a plastic tub FULL of cards!  There are even a few more that are already packed (very recent cards, thank you notes, words of kindness from my trip to the Congo - that I've already decided to keep that haven't been 'archived' in my new system yet.

I had planned to throw it all out - because seriously - who really needs to keep all of this stuff.  Then after 45 minutes of reading through all of the cards, I got to a few that I couldn't throw in the trash pile.  What cards stopped me?

Three cards from Floyd and Ceil (my Confirmation sponsor and his wife) from my college graduation, another when I was featured in our hometown newspaper in their 52 Weeks of Success series about 6 years ago, and another that Ceil sent me after Floyd passed away this past year.  I'll never receive another card from Floyd, how could I throw those ones away?

A note from my Aunt Char that came a few weeks after the last time I saw her back at Christmas in 2008.  It was a reflection on our time together and a photo of the two of us.  The picture is quite terrible of me - almost 60 pounds heavier, terrible acne, and it was taken in our PJs one morning right before I left.  I couldn't throw it away.

Notes from my friend Mike when he first entered the Novitiate at Saint Vincent.  He was ordained this May and those notes are a reminder of a simple time, and a friend who is so great at sending hand written notes in this day of email, texting, and facebook.  These couldn't be thrown away.

Then there were cards from my parents - for every occasion.  My mom sent me a card and a gift for all of the mundane holidays of life for a few years in a row - and still now.  Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving.  I couldn't throw them out.

Other cards (all with handwritten notes) from old friends from Saint Marys - Erin, Stephanie, Cathy, Elisabeth, and Kayla.  Beautiful cards from some monks I know at SVC - one of them was a random note the was the reason why I didn't move back home about 4 years ago for a job.  These all had special meaning to me and couldn't go in the garbage.

Finally, cards from my beautiful group of friends - handwritten notes of thanks, random 'hellos', and birthday cards expressing the love us friends have for each other.  Meredith, MG, Devon, Shep, Erica, Lisa, and more ... they couldn't go in the trash either.

I did get rid of the cards that just had names signed without a note (except the ones from my grandmother - because at 90, I want to have the last card she sends me, and I don't know when that will be ... one of hers is signed "I don't do this for all of my grandchildren.").  I am also getting rid of the animal cracker container of notes that was given to me when I left my previous parish - I haven't pulled these off the shelf in my closet in 3 years, and can't see a time in the next 30 that I will.

So all of these will go down to the trash this afternoon - random Christmas cards, old thank you notes from my previous job, and programs for the plays, Ordinations, Church Events, that I just throw in the bucket, but have no meaning years later.

And here is my new 'stash' of cards - organized by giver so I can check them out and relive the memories whenever I want!  Also are most recent copies of bills, checks, blank notes (those will always be useful), and a camera!

Next time I get a card I can add it to my box of memories!


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