It is astounding how much stuff I’ve collected -and kept – over the years. And not fancy stuff or pricey stuff or even stuff I’d necessarily want people to know I’ve got. Like that weird shiny blue wrap/shrug thing I bought a zillion years ago and have never worn or the thank you notes from my Bat Mitzvah. I am so not kidding. They’re purple cards that say Jacqueline on the front, and I still have them. They have not only survived decades, but they have moved with me through four cities and seven apartments. What’s the thought process here? That I am going to need them at some point down the line?
I’m a sentimental girl, and I think the reason I hang onto stuff is because I’m not great at saying good-bye. I’m clearly not afraid of change. I move all the time, and I’m the queen of taking a chance on The Gig Less Secure. But I do hold onto memories, and I hold on tight. And a lot of my stuff holds memories. Like the overalls I bought in the West Village with my Mom at the Army Surplus store. I’m not planning on wearing overalls anytime soon, but I just can’t bring myself to put them in the Goodwill pile. Same with the stuffed football from Walmart we picked out to celebrate my first on-air sports gig. Or the one maraca from Cozumel that came home from a cruise. It’s partner fell off the wall and shattered a long time ago. Now it’s just one lone gourd. Lonely and sitting in flower pot whose true occupant – a gorgeous orchid – died months ago (I murder plants, but that’s a saga for another post). Yes, I saved the empty pot.
There are cards from exes and ID badges from conventions and costume jewelry that hasn’t seen the light of day in at least 8 years. Don’t even get me started on the collection of VHS tapes I drag from place to place. They’re not movies. They’re me. On TV. Over the years. Yes, I do have a VCR, but it’s not plugged in, and I can’t remember the last time it was. No one actually watches the tapes. They just take up room. I have a cordless phone but no landline. A humidifier and a vaporizer. Neither gets used. I’m afraid to dig through my coat closet. I fear the Army of Unused Bags may attack. And in case you start conjuring up images of some Cribs-style tour of my shoe collection, just stop right there. Think less sample sale and more garage sale.
Even the cat’s got too much crap. She’s got some purple plastic thing that collects dust in the corner, and she hasn’t gone near that leopard-print kitty hammock in years! But how do you toss it? Any of it? How do you take years of your life and throw them away?
This move, I’m planning to give it a solid try. One unused something or other at a time. Not the important stuff. That’ll survive. But definitely the dust-collectors whose sole purpose is to leave imprints on shelves and take up space in drawers. If they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, then maybe my memories will make someone new happy too. Think of all the fun you can have with a blonde wig, an opened-but-never-played game of Risk, and a walkman.
Nevermind. I don’t want to know.