Sunday, July 11, 2010

This is Why I Can't Declutter

This weekend, I cleaned out our ever expanding media collection, and culled the herd a bit so that all our DVDs still fit into the big basket under our TV. It looks so nice now that they're not overflowing anymore. There were several movies I was sad to see go, but that Flanna's definitely outgrown ("Potty Power!" and "Elmo's Potty Time," for instance!). Not sure why I am sentimental even about toilet training! Every stage is just so special!

I also tried to organize our childrens' books and to pack away books that Flannery's outgrown. The problem is, we have such sweet memories of each of those little baby books! There's one my mom sent called, "Googly Eyes," with animals on each page with these giant googly eyes. It's so silly! We have a little video of Flanna saying, "Googy eyes, Daddy?" while we're reading it when she was just one and a half or so.

Yeah, so that one's staying.

And then there are several "touch and feel" books that I remember Flannery scooting toward on her belly when she was just beginning to crawl. She was so motivated by those books! They're probably too babyish for her now, but I can just see her when she was in that "patting" stage, absorbing every bit of information those chubby fingers could find on each interestingly-textured page.

Yeah, so at least one of those is staying.

In the end, what did I manage to declutter? A lot of my old CDs that I already have in my iTunes, a few novels I haven't read in ages. And a couple of babyish movies that are probably also scratched beyond repair.

That's right. All the children's books stayed. I managed to cram them into shelves or baskets, though, so at least they don't look too cluttered.

Did I mention I still have tons of my own Little Golden books, and Stephen Cosgrove books? (Does anyone else know his work?) I just love their sort of musty smell, and the stories really appeal to Flannery, too, so at least they're getting read regularly!

This is why I can't declutter. Some objects hold too many memories, smell too much like my childhood, or will always bring to mind my daughter's chubby toddler hands flipping the pages.

And I'm okay with that.

What objects do you keep for sentimental reasons?


  1. I heard the sentimentality to stuff skips a generation. It does in my family. But I'd say your mom is equally sentimental about stuff, wouldn't you? The reason it's supposed to skip a generation is the exact reason it did in my family. So for example, my Grandmother would cram as much stuff as she could when they were moving from place to place in the military. Apparently, there was a pound limit, and she made sure that if they didn't hit it, she could go back to find more stuff at the market before they left. Drove my mom NUTS! (I kind of assumed that your mom was the opposite in her military upbringing, and that having to move and get rid of stuff so often growing up made her long for the day when she could settle in and have all the journals and photos her parents or her childhood lifestyle had forced her to give up.) So, my mom was the opposite of my grandmother as a result - always making me get rid of something so I could get something new. In the end, I would just hide things better or not get new stuff because I wanted to hold onto old things. I got my grandmother's pack-rat collector gene as a result of my mom not getting it, boo. So, is there hope that one day our daughters will grow up wanting to get rid of everything because they've lived their lives in the clutter of our demise? And our granddaughters will be more like us, and on and on and on? Here's hoping. I think that's the best solution. :-) (This is why we cry in the Toy Story movies, btw.)

  2. Yeah, my mom remembers her dad getting rid of stuff willy nilly, and that really bothered her. So she's a keeper of things to some extent, not as much as my dad, though. He's a real pack rat! :) And actually, he's the one whose family was in the military, not my mom, so it makes sense for him. And I could see how it would skip a generation! We do things so often just to be different than our parents, but I think we end up more like them than we would've ever dreamed unless we consciously make a choice to do things differently. It's so natural to do things the way you grew up doing them.

    And yes, you're right! This IS why we cry at Toy Story!

  3. Oh, I thought both of their parents were in the military! So they just met when your Dad's family was stationed in CA? I guess I always pictured it wrong. I saw them going to a military brats school together. Silly me. It's funny then that your mom's parents moved to GA too. Were they just "following the grandkids?"

  4. Hahaha! I just "cleaned out" a bunch of containers to get them into something more suitable to put in the attic (i.e., not so heavy so Jon can carry them up there). There were old stories I wrote in grade school and photo albums from middle school and high school; random pictures; a box called "secret - keep out" which had some booklet on starting your period in it; oh and little charts I kept on the things my gerbils could do - like how fast they could run in their ball across the dining room! It was so much fun! And I threw away about 5 things - seriously - 5 things out of what ended up to be 5 small book boxes (military folks know exactly what size I mean). So, although I am a true purger - I love to clean out and get rid of stuff - there is some stuff that is just sacred!

  5. Too funny, Lisa! I love that you kept data on your gerbils...a researcher from the start! :) You're so right about some things just being sacred!