Boxes of ticky-tacky pile up

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the stuff that I’ve kept over the years…  especially old notebooks from my years as a newspaper reporter, half written in Gregg shorthand, which would take me forever if I tried to read it.

Searching for information from thirty years ago, or more, has been my pastime for two days…prompting me to tackle really scary piles of boxes, a rusty old filing cabinet, numerous hiding places that were filled when I moved from next door into this house.  Since it wasn’t a formal move, with moving vans and all that, packing was informal in that kitchen shelves of things would move entirely onto corresponding shelves in the new house.

This is not optimal–because moving tit for tat eliminates one of the perks of moving an entire household from one place to another, which is to go through things and give them away…or donate them to a dumpster.    One of the great joys of housekeeping is to discover all the clean, dust-free surfaces in cupboards, closets, and basements or their equivalents.  The happy vision of an entire new outlook of organization and planning new systems that will facilitate the old “a place for everything, and everything in its place” adage takes a lot of the drudgery out of moving.

So some of these boxes and cans and crates of things have been moved numerous times over the past half-century.  Some are in the same boxes that originated in an army commissary in Germany back in 1957.   Most are accumulations from later years.

In my experience the brave notion to take these boxes one at a time and “sort things out” is admirable, but what actually happens is that anything removed from a box usually goes right back in it — because it has been hauled around so long that it reaches the status of “things that cannot be gotten rid of” …for various reasons such as sentimentality, the kids made it, it was Mother’s or Grandmother’s, a wedding or anniversary gift, or “it’s still perfectly good, and it might come in handy some day.”

There is no good reason, or any reason at all in fact, for keeping boxes of old utility bills.  There is no law anywhere that states that we must keep anything any of our children ever wrote, drew, colored, glued, or built in shop class.

My greatest fault (and that’s saying a lot) is keeping and storing stuff…potentially forever.  I am especially bad about keeping NOTES from my newspaper days (when I had a good reason for keeping clippings because I got paid upon physical evidence of each item I ever wrote) and Notebooks.   Also my collection includes every notebook I ever had in every class during twenty years at the universities–but these are in big loose-leaf notebooks arranged in order and by topic.    Fabric…we won’t go there, except to say that I used to sew.

Now the dilemma is–what to do with all this stuff when I finally die?   When it comes to that, I have no control over who does what with my stuff.  I do have little notes in Grandma’s china and glassware, warning against disposal.

Sure, my blog…what is it but a virtual pile of boxes of stuff?  That of course is out of my control, and what happens to my writings and carryings-on after I die will no longer be my concern.   I am driven to empty all of my accumulated knowledge and nonsense OUT of my head and into my computer…and on out into space, I guess.

18 thoughts on “Boxes of ticky-tacky pile up

  1. This post resignated with me for I am a hoarder of sorts keeping piles of documents that I should have made a decision to dispose of a long time ago. I don’t know why I keep so much stuff! Partly because I say I am going to shred to assure my person info is not stolen but it never happens. I too have old boxes of utility bills, old apartment leases and I have been a home owner for nearly 4 years now! My bestie is the same way and we have the same conversation about how we are going to clean out every single year for the past 20! LOL I can laugh at it but its really sad. Thanks for posting. You are truly not alone in this by far:-)


  2. We did move and did purge many things, but there are still boxes we should go through. I told myself I would clean out one drawer or one shelf a day, and that lasted exactly one day. I think I’m going to use my energy feeling sorry for our children who will some day have to dispose of everything.


    1. I have one that would keep everything, one that would dump half the stuff without even looking at it, a couple that would discuss it then decide what to do with it. The big problem with my stuff is the thousands of books from my book store inventory…about half is catalogued and on my venues though.

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    1. some heirs like that stuff…I did, and some of my “kids” will… it’s all that stuff from people we never heard of 🙂 I found a box of slides from a party I attended (and took the pics) and I have no idea who most of the people are. I TRY to identify pictures, but that’s a problem sometimes. 🙂

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    1. that will do it! I have all the books from my brick n mortar shops…which is actually the bulk of my “stuff.” The books are a major source of my income now, or would be if I worked at it. 🙂

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      1. I have about that many of my own, but also more of sales inventory. The main sales I make are obsccure paperbacks from the 1960s-80s. I was fortunate in making good buy outs from a couple of professors, at least one lawyer, and some school teacher retirees. Right now I have about 1500 titles listed on amazon, alibris, ebay… I don’t make much money, but if I worked at it harder I would do better. I just ship to the U.S., working on Canada and Mexico (N.America.)

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  3. I’m the same way, in that I hate to get rid of anything sentimental. Been trying, slowly, to go through stuff lately though. It must be in my genes though, as I’ve inherited all the stuff from my mom & dad that they saved, plus all the stuff from my grand-parents that they saved. It goes way, way back the stuff I’m sorting through, including photos and even toys and knick knacks. It is overwhelming. I know what my girls will do with it all… immediately trash it all! (Lots of stuff like cards, and letters, I put in scrapbooks) Good luck with yours!


    1. My cousin that went through my grandma’s stuff was not sentimental in any way. I got to keep whatever I wanted, but just plain sentimental “stuff” she threw out. At the time I was married to a soldier, moving around with the army, and had no place to store anything other than antiques or really valuable stuff. I still have little cards a class of second graders made for me when I had a new baby…I’m not going to toss those! That’s the kind of stuff I mean…plus tiny kid’s drawings the first time they got hold of a crayon… 🙂


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