Clear the clutter.  Keep the memories.

I have long wanted to clear out my garage. I can’t be alone in this, right? The garage becomes a desolate wasteland of things that you don’t have time to deal with, yet things with which you aren’t ready to part. Amongst the holiday decorations there are boxes upon boxes of things I have collected over my lifetime. Always something I would do “someday”, I finally decided on Veteran’s Day to spend a few hours going through those boxes. Why I chose that day to finally get out there and clear out the clutter, I can’t say. But I had finally had enough.

I couldn’t believe how much STUFF I had been holding onto!! The initial intention was to clear out some baby items to drop off at a donation center, but it soon became evident that I was holding onto more than just strollers and bibs. Turns out, I only had two bags of Madison’s baby clothes, and they were clothes that I simply did not want to get rid of. They were outfits I loved seeing her in and outfits that bring a smile to my face; maybe someday I’ll pass them on to her for her daughter. Knowing some things are worth keeping, I quickly decided that those two small bags could stay put, and my attention then turned to boxes of dusty old tapes from my television reporter days. Yes, I said tapes. As in VHS tapes. And there were many. I was astounded that they survived several years in my garage with the extreme Arizona heat, but I was able to watch a few t-a-p-e-s and stroll down memory lane.

From there, I opened boxes filled with newspapers from the year the Diamondbacks won the World Series and the year our world changed…2001. Those newspaper headlines and images from the day after 9/11 reminded me of what is important in life: the people I love and the moment I’m in right now. Maybe Veteran’s Day was the perfect day to go through these things….a day to remember sacrifices people made so that we can live freely, and to remember what is truly important in life.

I went through a few more boxes of things I kept from high school, and while it was fun to read old notes passed back and forth between myself and my friends, it mostly made me realize that those little details from my life don’t need to sit in my garage collecting dust. The primary memories of those years are intact and in my heart.

I don’t need to keep boxes of little things that make me smile for a moment, only to be forgotten later. If they’re easily forgotten, then they aren’t important enough to sit in a dusty box in a garage. I need to hold on to the things that make me smile longer. The things that matter. The simple things, like love, family and friends. If you want to simplify your life, think about what things you are holding onto and why. Chances are, there are a lot of things among the clutter that you can clear out. Just make sure to hold on to the memories that matter.

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