Friday, January 16, 2015

The Purge


Retirement is a good time to review the lifetime accumulation of stuff one's collected.  So my wife and I have been doing that.  We've been pulling boxes out of closets where they've sat for a couple decades; gone through old pictures, keepsakes, souvenirs and papers; and made the call whether to continue saving it for our golden years.

For example, check out the napkin in the picture.  It's from our wedding almost 35 years ago and we had a box of these napkins, unused.   Chances are we're not going to repeat our vows and throw ourselves another reception.  So we're using them right now in place of our everyday napkins.

It's amazing how much paper one can collect if not careful.  We filled our 200-gallon recycle bin with reams of old documents, magazines and personal papers.  Anything that had to do with work and employment, I purged.  There were old resumes, tips on  interviewing, important documents pertaining to my job and application for job transfers with carbon paper still attached which tells you how old those must have been (does anyone use carbon paper anymore?).

As I went through decades of collected paraphernalia I could see my life in various stages.  There was; my chess-playing phase with Chess Life magazines, game notations, even a 30-year-old post card from my old chess-playing college chum with whom I'd played a few correspondence games after we'd graduated.  He explained with his post card that not only did it include his latest moves, it doubled as a Christmas card since it was written in green ink.  I kept that.

There were also coaching notes from my days helping out my kids' soccer teams, boxing magazines and ticket stubs from days when I was a big fan of the sport and the same with youth wrestling.  Some stuff I kept; some I threw away.  Of course, there was some stuff that didn't jog my memory at all--newspaper clippings, magazine articles, notes of various sorts.  Those were easy to pitch.

All the while I was purging, Wendy was doing the same.  Her old handmade wedding dress went to charity, along with her handmade bridesmaid's dress, nearly as old. Lots of old clothes.  She also put aside one of her two turkey roasters.  It's an event when we cook just one turkey and we've never cooked two simultaneously.

We've been at it for almost a week though we've also been cleaning and re-organizing as well.  But the purge continues since we haven't touched the volumes of books, magazines and photos that also have accumulated throughout the years.  And after we finish with the basement where most of this stuff has been stored, there's the garage attic too.  Somewhere up there I even have a time capsule squirreled away, something I bought in the year 2000.

That I can't open until at least 2020.  So that will have to stay, I guess, until the next purge.


Blogger CAROLDEE said...

I hear ya Dave.. purge all that stuff and you will fill so much better. I recently moved into a small apartment and BOY I had to get rid of everything it seems. Leading a simpler life is soo much better. If it has a layer of dirt and dust on it,changes are you won't miss it much. The hardest for me was the photos too, the albums are so heavy and large. I have two whole tubs full and more scattered. They came along on the move and still have to be sorted. Guess 2015 will be a year of organizing better for me too. Stay well and warm..

9:49 AM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

I too hear you Dave. We didn't smoke but we were talked into buying match books w/ our wedding date on them. the caterer forgot and there we were w/ the box.
Our purging happened when we made the start of boxing up the old house-the matches, the bride's maid dress I was forced to wear at my sister's wedding (pink/lace, do I look like a lacy pink person?), Steve had a suit from when we were engaged that I hated even then. I did keep my wedding dress though. Sarah's far too tall to ever use it, Sam and Adam won't walk down the aisle again-alas she's also way too tall, but I have hopes that Sam and Adam may have a girl that may wax nostalgic for her grandma C's dress or maybe the boys will marry a height challenged girl?

10:52 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Dave, I don;t know how long my enthusiasm for blogging will last but at least its here at the moment, moving interstate and into a smaller house helped me DE-clutter, but sad to say I need another go at it already... Good Luck.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Getting around to doing a purge takes almost a lifetime; and then the actual physical part of doing the purge takes another lifetime to do. I'm still in the first stage. I tell myself every night that the next day I must start...the next day comes and something else takes my interest...and on and on the pattern goes. Manana!

12:44 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CAROLDEE--Pictures are next. We have boxes full scattered about the house. Thankfully, in this digital age now we just put them on a DVD where they occupy much less space.

CARINE--I have a dresser drawer full of matchbooks which I acquired when a relative's mother passed away. Still not sure what to do with them. I pulled out a few as I collect matchbooks, or used to anyway. I'm looking for a matchbook collector to take the rest.

PETER--Thanks and I hope all is well with you there. I blog occasionally, trying to put up at least one a month. Time keeps slipping away as you might imagine. Good to hear from you.

LEE--I know the feeling myself. Right now the purge is on hold because our recycle is full and they won't pick up again until Friday. But as you say, there's always something else to pique our interest in the meantime.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you keep the Tiki mug?

4:41 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS--Anything Halloweenish I kept, even the cage with the fake rats (Wendy would love me to get rid of that though).

9:27 AM  

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