Very interesting post on Letting go of memory clutter at Meredith Mathews' My Lemonade Stand blog.
Peter says “memory clutter” is a more common problem than most people realize. I confess that my own weakness for clutter involves the sentiment of objects, where I find myself struggling to let go of trinkets and souvenirs merely for how seeing, touching and holding them reminds me of my past, places I have been, and people I have loved and lost.
“People are terrified that if they let go of the objects, they will lose the memory,” Peter says. Jenny and Steve say they have that exact fear. “If we get rid of this piece of paper that he touched, well, there goes Jake along with it,” Steve says.
Clearing the emotional clutter will help better preserve the memory of a lost loved one. It helps to keep your emotions about the loss in a healthy place, rather than maintaining a shrine of what once was. Living in the past in that manner is not healthy for any individual and stifling for a family.
I am slowly working through de-cluttering most of my house. It's absolutely mind-boggling to me how much cr@p there is in our house! School papers alone could bury us alive, I think. And with those school papers, so many little essays on thick-lined manuscript paper and color drawings of invented creatures. With a 13yo and a 9yo, art from a kindergartener is instant nostalgia time. I need to have a scanning party and just get rid of most of it. Or maybe I'll do like Katie did and send it off to ScanMyPhotos. Might be worth it.
Nostalgia is one of the hardest things about de-cluttering, I think - that and the mindset of "I might use this someday," and its cousin, "this is still perfectly good!" But the clutter is to a point that it's overwhelming my brain and personal peace. So bit by bit it's out of here. Good riddance. But if something really inspires a strong bout of nostalgia, I plan to scan it or take a picture, then get rid of it (for the most part).
My 'extra' scrapbooking supplies? Boxes and boxes worth? I'm planning to drop those at a local Children's Mercy Hospital for craft goodies. I'm sure they could care less that they're "old school", or even that they're archival safe. I just hope they have fun with them. :)
So! Do you suffer from Memory Clutter?