As part of preparing to move four thousand miles across the ocean after amassing stuff for 27 years here, I'm going through said stuff. I have all my cards from my 18th and 21st birthdays! Can you believe it? Actually, I'm blaming my mother for this one as I'd actually left them at her house, and when she moved she brought them all over to the US for me. (She also answered "Yes" to the security question "Are you carrying something for someone else?" and has been regularly stopped and searched every since.)
Having moved four times since I've been in the States, lugging all the cards around with me (without looking at them, I might add), I threw 99% of them out the other day. This wasn't quite the wrench I though it would be though. Half of the wedding cards were from people who are now divorced, so that made things a little easier. Some of my 18th cards were from people I cannot recall for the life of me, so ditto. And one child's comment from several years ago also helped. "I hope you're not keeping all that stuff for us." Oh, and having to pay for our own shipping makes me want to ship as little as possible anyway.
It made me think though - why do we keep stuff? I understand if you think something will increase in value or be of historical interest in the future, but why do we hold onto scraps of paper, tickets for things and other "proof" of what we did with our lives? I mean, I found an empty Twix wrapper with a piece of paper inside, on which I'd recorded the scintillating fact that I was in my bedroom on such and such a date back in the 70's and doing my homework!!! WHY on earth did I think even I would be interested in that forty years later?
I have years worth of diaries, starting from about the age of seven, which have been quite interesting to re-read, but again, I'm not sure what to do with them. At this age, it's safe to assume that I'm not going to be an international name, and the world won't be clamoring to know what I was doing at 17, 29, or 36, but might my children want to read them? (I'd better read them through again in that case.)
I also reduced three large tubs of kids' stuff down to one relatively small container. That was slightly more difficult what with mother's guilt popping its head up as soon as the lids were off the tubs. Again though, how many of their own five year old scribbles do our kids actually want? Well, it's too late now as they've already gone to that great classroom in the sky.
If only I'd taken photos of them! Oh well.