We all have this stuff. Little objects that are emotionally valuable, but don’t serve any practical purpose. My collection looks like this:
And I have stored them in the same way since I was about ten years old. I love Converse shoes, so I kept a shoe box and put all of the things inside:
Every so often I will empty the box and sort through the objects, reflecting on the memories they represent and removing the ones whose significance I can no longer remember, or the ones to which I’m ready to say goodbye.
During the most recent declutter, I decided to part with my I Love NY pens. Every time my family visited New York City I would buy a new pen that I would use for nothing but journal-writing.
It was the age at which I was proud to have used up an entire pen’s worth of ink – that was a lot of writing then. Now I have this picture (and this blog post) about the pens instead of the pens themselves. Now when I run out of ink, to ease my frustration, I recall the sense of accomplishment that the same inconvenience made me feel years ago.
I keep all of my knickknacks tucked away in my special box. Over time I forget what exactly is inside, so when I open it up in a few months it’s a pleasant surprise. When the time comes to part with an object (or seven) I remember that it’s the experience attached to the object, not the object itself, that is significant.