August 11, 2012

The Binder

I’ve moved twice this year. TWICE. That’s packing up every single thing I own, organizing it, carrying it to the car, carrying it from the car, finding a place for it…. TWICE.

Packing to move generally inspires cleaning, organization, and simplifying. Doing it again in less than three months inspires a person to live with fewer things. I found myself asking with every object, “Do I truly need this?” and “Do I really want to carry this back and forth when I move again?” I’ve cut down my possessions by quite a lot… and I’m pretty sure that I will just sell everything if I have to move again anytime soon!

My sentimentality really worked against me in this experience. See, I save EVERYthing that has emotional meaning. Cards, letters, gifts, special mementos- anything to preserve moments I held dear. While this is sweet, charming, and even a little bit comforting, it is a hassle pack and move. This relocation turmoil was slowly chipping away at my sentimental little heart.
I had been using the “get rid of 1/3 of what you have” strategy. This worked well for clothes I never wore, books I probably won’t re-read, school and work resources I always think I’ll reference…  I think I even went beyond 1/3- bonus points and a gold star! But how to reduce memories?

short cards.... long letters......

I’ll spare you the details of things that will probably make you laugh (pom-pom from a KWC basketball game, anyone? Or wait… was it football? Go Panthers!). But, one project became such a success, you must know about it- and try it yourself!

I have boxes and Ziploc bags FULL of letters and cards from 2001 until now. That’s 11 years! I should’ve taken a “before” picture, but it didn’t really dawn on me to blog it until this morning…. But picture 11 years of birthdays, Christmas’s, two graduations, and moving across the country. When I began packing for move #2, I started to thin out the collection. I was immediately hit with a problem- how can I choose one card over another? Is that like saying I love my cousin who sent this letter more than my grandma who sent the other? Oh, the guilt! I needed objective criteria: throw away anything that’s simply signed, keep anything with a paragraph or more of heartfelt sentiment.

Mamaw doesn't write cards anymore, so this is treasured.

When a kid draws a picture JUST for you, c'mon- that's precious.
 Victory! At the suggestion of my new roommate, Jen, I compiled the collection into a binder (ok, I admit… two binders) to conserve space. It sits neatly on my bookshelf and will pack easily when it’s time to move again.
But wait… there’s more…..

People I miss! Things I forgot!

Signed playbills from past productions...

KWC's President Poling shared a poem
before I moved to California.
 In the process, I discovered an additional benefit. This was more than a storage solution; I just created a book of support and encouragement.
We all have challenges and tough times in life. Throw in the fun that comes with bipolar disorder, and you’ll find some pretty low moments. 

What better way to remember the people surrounding me with love just when I start to forget? Start feeling like dreams are foolish and hopeless? Look who believes those goals are possible! Wonder if you are really blessing the people in your life? Check out those thank you cards. 

Letters from far-away friends trump facebook any day.

This is not an exercise in self-congratulations. It’s a perspective readjustment.

I sincerely think every person needs a binder like this! This is my hint that you need to gather your reminders of love and make them conveniently easy to read when you need it most!

A paper plate greeting!

I suppose I should tackle the boxes and envelopes of photographs next…. Or at least the next time I move.

2 thoughts:

Rebekah said...

Awww! I love it! I have a really hard time letting go of sentimental items, too. I think you came up with a good balance of what to keep and what to toss.

Malinda said...

Thanks! Did you notice your contribution to the project? :)