Confessions of Collector….. of Junk


Have you ever see Clean House? It is this amazing show on Bravo where a team of designers  go into messy homes and clean everything out of it, show them how to organize, and hopefully the homeowners will stick to it.  TV shows like that always make me look around my own home or office and wonder: “Am I hanging on to anything that I don’t really need?” I recently moved and threw out box after box of stuff that I had just held onto, for no other reason than the fact that there was a story to it.

It wasn’t on display, nor precious enough that it was wrapped in a towel and carefully protected; it was-as my mother had been telling me for years-just junk. A collection of movie stubs from when I was in junior high, a plethora of pop tops from soda cans from a day spent at Carowinds Amusement Park, notes passed between classes from friends. What was the point of holding onto this stuff?

While I was packing, I realized that there were a lot of really great things that triggered some wonderful memories, but that I was just gumming up my life with a bunch of things I didn’t have a use for.  New technology is helping us to lead less cluttered lives.  Just look at the iPhone, when the first generation came out, I remember seeing commercials where the advertising was all about having just the one device to grab while you were running out the door.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about nostalgia, in fact, every time I go to my hometown in South Carolina, I have to drive by my old high school. There’s something sweet and wonderful about the flood of memories that comes back to me as I stare at the blank scoreboard on the football field.

Ask me if I still have any of my Green Wave paraphernalia, and the answer is no.

I don’t think being “nostalgic” has anything to do with holding onto junk or slowing down your progression.  There’s a big difference between framing the first dollar you ever made and framing the first years worth of deposit receipts.  Nostalgia is about remembering where you came from and how you got to where you are. You don’t need a bunch of junk to remember that.

So, come on, admit it. What are you holding onto for no other reason than the fact that you just can’t bring yourself to throw it away?  Identify why you’re holding onto it so tightly.

Then throw it out. I dare you.