Surprisingly Sentimental

Whenever I read other blog posts about decluttering, I always seem to skim over the section about letting go of sentimental items. In my mind, I think of myself as not that sentimental when it comes to things. And yet, as I have been working through this challenge: I’ve come to notice that I am way more sentimental than I thought.

On November 18, I had to get rid of 18 things as part of the challenge. There’s a box on the top shelf in my closet that I knew was filled with memorabilia from high school, so I set out to tackle that. I opened the box – I probably haven’t opened it since college, and it all immediately made me smile. Buttons from our school’s annual charity event, dried corsages from proms, photos of me and friends at football games, a gold pom pom. None of this stuff I need at all, but I didn’t part with any of it.

I also didn’t part with two cassette tapes.


(Or the picture of me and my cousin in matching floppy sunflower hats, but that’s obvious.)

Why did I put the tapes back into the box? I no longer own a tape player, and even if I did, I’m not sure I’d use it to listen to Color Me Badd or TLC. The tapes were only slightly sentimental – the TLC one was my first tape that I chose on my very own, and since it was slightly racy, it kind of represents a minor pre-teen rebellion. But I don’t even know why I have (and have saved for 20 years) the other one.

But yet, when faced with the decision to declutter these tapes or not, I placed them back in my neat little memorabilia box and tucked them back on the shelf. Something about them made me laugh and smile. They’re just SO early 90s, and there’s something about outdated technology that inexplicably makes me happy. If I decluttered these and took them to a thrift store, what would happen to them? No one wants cassettes anymore. They’d end up in a landfill somewhere most likely, instead of in my closet where every 20 years they can make me laugh and post a funny picture to Facebook, showing off my 90s treasures. So for now, that’s where they are.

Instead of trashing any of the tapes or corsages, I threw out 18 items from the box that didn’t invoke any kind of nostalgia (magazine clippings of generic ocean scenes and sunflowers and a few blank Winnie the Pooh valentines). Maybe as this challenge gets harder, I will go back over the high school box. But for now, I balance my desire for a simpler life, with the items that invoke memories of a simpler time.


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