Collecting Memories, Not Things

Antarctica by Natalie Parker 8

Spring has sprung and April is clean-out month at my house.  Any time we have for housework we are spending cleaning out closets, cabinets, and our garage.

What a difference a few years make.  How our priorities in life have changed.

We collect memories, not things.  We choose to live in a smaller place with less room for “stuff.”  Our smaller home lets us live closer to fun things in our neighborhood and saves us money so we can go out and create memories.

I used to dream about saving all of my books so I could have a Belle library one day.  Every bookish girl dreams of having her own library.  I was holding onto a lot of books I won’t read again just to have a big collection.  Why do I need a collection just for the sake of having a collection?

Buy a big house with a library for all of these books?  Or save the money to go on another adventure?  I’d choose the adventure.  Every time.

I didn’t throw out all my books.  But I did decide I’m only keeping what can fit on the shelf.  I’m amazed that Mr. P feels the same way.  He’s not pressuring me to get rid of things and I’m not pressuring him.  We both have a clear sense of what matters to us.

When I’m old, I don’t think I’m going to look back fondly at the bookcase.  I’m going to remember the great memories we created.  The books are just an example.  We attacked the garage and our office closet.  The bathroom and hall closets are next.  Our bedroom closet and clothes got the treatment in January.

It’s hard to get rid of things that are perfectly good.  The solution?  We try to sell, donate, or give things to friends.  We have a favorite charity store in town, plus another store that takes paper goods and scrapbooking supplies I won’t use.  We are much more mindful now about what we will bring into the house.  Do we really need it?  They were giving away hats at the baseball game, but do we need them?  Will we use them?

I’ve read many places that we get more value out of experiences than things.  It’s taken us a while to realize it but I emphatically agree.  There’s a lightness that we feel when we have space to grow.  Space to grow and places to go.

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4 thoughts on “Collecting Memories, Not Things

  1. I like this post…..it’s time here, too. I’d love for my children to take their things we store to their own houses, but all in good time. I think I will recognize the appropriate time to start pressuring them. As a librarian, I stopped collecting books for collecting sake. Why would I do that when I can look at all the books every day at work? Thanks for the motivation…..today is my first day of retirement! An appropriate post to help me “carry on”. Thanks, Natalie

    • Ha well, be nice to your kids. They will come get their stuff eventually :) Mr. P and I each have stuff in the attics of our parents’ houses. I don’t have room to store my stuff at the moment but I did go through everything a few years ago and reduced it to a much smaller amount of stuff. I think it will coalesce for us when we have our own kids. It will make it easier to figure out what we need to hold onto. Happy retirement!!

  2. What a great post! A reminder to keep the important things, important. For me, getting rid of is hard to do, but I’ve gotten much better at it over the years. As for the books, my nook is my buddy ;) And it really helped clean off my shelves – which leaves more room for the scrapbooks! And yes, my favorite books, I repurchased for my nook and shared with friends and a charity who resells. Thanks for the reminder.

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