Memories for sale!

There is a standing joke with one of our friends every year at their garage sale. We line up all our stuff on tables and shout, “Memories for Sale!”


That phrase gets to the heart of a battle between keeping and throwing, hoarding and giving. What should we keep?

It is a hard question to answer. About a year ago we went through a major move and eliminated a lot of stuff that we had been using or storing. We asked some difficult questions as we packed everything into bins, questions you can read here. But now we are entering into new territory. We have opened the “Bins of Memories” (cue Indiana Jones music).

Those sacred receptacles designated by the word “Keepsake” with the scrawling Sharpie marker are the target of our current focus. What do you keep that was from your childhood? What do you keep that has been past down to you?

We don’t have a perfect answer, and I am sure that at some point we will be disappointed for keeping, or failing to keep, something in particular. However, Crystal came up with two criteria which have been helping us to realistically evaluate what we think is important to us:

  • Will I display this?
  • Will I use this?

If it does not match either of those two, then it doesn’t have much significance for me. And if Tanzen doesn’t see us use it or display it, it won’t have much significance for her on the day she sorts through our possessions when we are gone. I have several things from my grandparents and parents that I will want displayed so they can become part of our daughter’s life as well, and can draw friends and visitors into our lives as we share the stories behind them.

I also have some memory laden everyday tools. I have a couple old butter knives from England, a coffee cup from my first official ultra marathon, a satchel from Perú. I use those knowing that I could accidentally break them, but that is a price I am willing to pay (There will be another post later to fill out this idea).

Disclaimer: There are some trophies, or projects, or horrid first attempts at sewing, or woodworking, that have great memories but would be embarrassing to put on your living room wall. One or two of those we may keep, but others we are taking pictures of and then “gently releasing them into the wild” (think trash can).

How do you determine what to keep and what to thrown?