I’ve mentioned before just how much I enjoy sorting and organizing when I’m finishing one big task and moving on to another. This huge move away from family and friends and towards a new career is definitely one of those times.
This weekend, for the first time I got the opportunity to start the sorting and organizing that will be required before we move. We currently live very close to family. Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends we’ve known since we were kids, and so on. It’s not easy to leave and we can’t imagine not coming back at some point. The uncertainty of tenure means we will likely be gone at least six years, but not necessarily longer than that.
What this means for organization is that we’ve chosen to keep things here. We are streamlining our lives a bit and clearing out some of the clutter without actually throwing much away. I’m nothing if not a very organized pack rat.
We have a couple of places where we are keeping storage and the relative security of each space has made me truly sit back and think about what are things that I could move on from losing without any real heartache and what would devastate me.
Things that if you took I probably wouldn’t be able to remember what was really in there:
• Knick Knacks from my childhood. Even when I’m looking at them I know that I don’t remember them at all when they are not physically in my hand. If I put them in the giveaway pile I’d never miss them. And yet…the physical act of holding them takes me back to my childhood and brings up feelings and emotions that I sometimes forget I have. They are the fastest entry point into me as a child and so I keep them, but they are not in the secure storage space.
• Camping clothes/Supplies. We are moving to a place that has winter. That’s new for me. We’re not crazy (sorry HS BFF) enough to camp in the snow. Brrr. So we plan on camping when we come to visit, but don’t have any need for the stuff in our new place. Or that’s our current view on it.
•College notes/readers. I’ve kept and referenced all of the notes and essays I wrote in my own field, but I used to take a lot of courses in fields completely unrelated to my PhD and current job. Those live at my parent’s house and in our non-secure storage. If they disappeared I’d probably be relieved.
Things that I would be very upset to lose:
• Correspondence. If you sent a letter to me, I still have it. I have a huge file of letters from HS BFF that date back to her HS summer camp days. I have notes from family and friends at all stages of my life. They give me insight into the person that wrote them, but also let me get a glimpse of the way that friend viewed me. The things they chose to share with me in confidence or the frequency with which they wrote are all special reminders of our friendship. I keep emails too, but those are digital and require a different type of storage. I was going to place correspondence in the unsecure storage and realized I couldn’t.
•Yearbooks. I have dorm ones, elementary school one, some from summer programs, and the obligatory high school and college ones. Some are more precious than others. Some I could probably part with, but in general they are too much a part of my history to give up.
•Journals. Before I blogged, I wrote a journal. I thought that I was a sporadic writer (probably because I didn’t live up to my own lofty expectation of daily writing), but when I gathered all of the journals together there were probably ten fully filled journal books. Cracking one open to a random page jerked me into a head space that was familiar and yet completely alien. I’ve changed so much and I realize that most when reading in those journals. It’s almost enough to make me start another one. Perhaps I’ll make a new blog that is less pseudonymous and more anonymous to allow for it. I couldn’t bear to lose these, so they are remaining in the more secure storage space.
•Photo Albums. With the advent of Cloud photos and the birth of my children, I rarely look through photo albums anymore. I used to make one a year when I was in high school and college. I haven’t gone through them in years and don’t plan on needing to so urgently during the next six years that I need to take them. Plus, family photos are the items mentioned by the movers as things they don’t recommend you take. So those remain here because they are precious to me, but at the same time I see myself scanning them at some time in the future to have a virtual copy as well.
Clothes are not on my list of things that I’m worried about losing. I’ve saved my prom dresses for my nieces and a couple of other dresses. My sister says they will love them and I hope she’s right. I was willing to part with them along with most of my wardrobe. I’ve actually decided not to take anything to the new town that I don’t get a little excited about wearing. I think this comes with getting my first professional haircut. My hair looks good on most days now with just a little effort. When I’m dressed to match I really feel confident and experience a surge of energy. This is new for me. I never paid attention to clothes or my hair and usually didn’t really like either, but was too lazy to change it (I hate shopping.). I guess it is having a new job that has pushed me to make a change. My wardrobe will be constricted when I arrive there, but the great wardrobe reboot will continue and someday I’ll be able to have a closet full of clothes I actually want to wear.