Parting with sentimental clutter

In the first few chapters of the book Stuff, which I reviewed on Monday, the authors talk in detail about sentimental clutter. We all struggle with this kind of clutter, not just hoarders, and the authors explain why on page 45:

“We can’t help but imagine that some essence of the person or the event symbolized by the objects will magically rub off and become part of us.”

A napkin used by a rock star, a friendship bracelet you made during a wonderful summer at camp, or a ticket stub to a movie you saw with a good friend before he moved away might be examples of objects you’re saving in a box of sentimental keepsakes. But, if you were to look at similar items — a napkin a waitress sets under your drink at dinner, a ratty friendship bracelet on a kid in a playground, or a movie stub you found on the ground in a parking lot — you wouldn’t assign any special value to these objects. You could throw them in the trash without any hesitation.

Objects are just objects, and their value doesn’t magically change just because you have a history with them. The value you’re assigning the object comes from your memories, not the object. Like the authors of Stuff explain, you’re hoping that the person or event the object represents will impact you in the present. You think that you’ll be like the rock star because you have a napkin he used or feel the joy of your summer at camp because you kept the bracelet. But, this doesn’t happen — you can’t be that rock star and you can’t relive the past. Sentimental clutter isn’t magical.

A life void of any sentimental objects, though, might be difficult, especially for people who tend toward sentimentality. If you want some sentimental objects in your home and/or office (and I do), you need to be sure that you’re only keeping the treasures. Here are some ideas for how to keep sentimental items from getting out of control:

  • Don’t keep anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to find. If something were to happen to you, your friends and family would sort through your things and you wouldn’t want to cause them any pain or embarrassment or damage their memories of you.
  • Only keep items you want to display/use, and then display/use them. If something really matters to you, you should want to share it with others. Putting something you say you “treasure” in a cardboard box in your attic actually means you think the item is junk and not something you want to keep.
  • If you insist on keeping a sentimental keepsake chest, limit it to one box and only keep things that can fit inside that box. If your box is full, you’ll need to remove something when adding something new. Be sure the container is sturdy, pest and water resistant, and the items inside are documented (video? photographed?) in case you lose the objects in a fire or other disaster. If you don’t want to exert the energy to document the objects, this is a red flag that you don’t really treasure the items.
  • Remind yourself you can’t keep everything and that objects don’t have magical properties. These simple reminders can help you to get rid of things that are actually clutter and not treasures.
  • Photograph the objects you wish to remember but don’t want to keep. One digital photograph saved on your computer (and backed up online with Flickr or on DropBox) should be all you need to keep the memory reminder.

40 Comments for “Parting with sentimental clutter”

  1. posted by timgray on

    I disagree on the “worry about damage of your memories of loved ones” My wife found her grandmother’s diaries when we cleaned out her parents attic. These diaries did not paint a picture of a cute old lady that baked cookies, was nice all the time and more saintly than the pope.

    It painted a picture of a real woman with real fears, love, goals and grandma was a bit of a wild one in her younger days riding across the country with bikers and musicians. She also covered her fears and pain of WW-II with all the letters home from her then boyfriend that died and none of the family knew about.

    If you get rid of that stuff, you deprive your grand kids and your great-great grandkids of who you are. you fade into obscurity and end up a forgotten person.

    Also those diaries showed off all the pain of growing up. My teenage daughter had a whole new look on life when she learned that someone from the past was dealing with the exact same issues.

  2. posted by Skeemer118 on

    I came across a stored rocking chair in my shed that my great aunt left me when she passed. It’s nothing special, not worth any amount of money, & certainly has seen much much better days. She left it to me because as a child I used to target that rocking chair immediately when I entered her home. I told my mom yesterday that I’d like her to take my picture in it & then I’ll pass it on to a family that can use it. I plan to photograph more objects I want to remember but not keep, great tip Unclutterer!

  3. posted by Erin Doland on

    @timgray — You and your family had a wonderful response to finding the diaries, and your grandmother likely knew that your response would be what it was. However, in other families, diaries might not go over so well, especially if those diaries contain very hurtful things. Not all people want their diaries to be read, either. I believe the choice should be left up to the person who keeps the diaries, not the people who remain afterward.

    I wasn’t really thinking about diaries, though, when I wrote that first tip. To me, diaries are books and not sentimental keepsakes. I was thinking more along the lines of objects or doodads that might represent a part of your life you don’t want to share with others.

  4. posted by Kalani on

    Huh, I don’t know about the “we keep sentimental items because we think their magic might rub off on us” idea. This may be true, but I’ve never considered it this way. When I keep stuff, I don’t think it’s going to influence the present in that way, but throwing it away can feel like a violation of that past event. So if an item is the only thing I have to remember a friendship, it feels like denying that friendship to just toss that into the trash. Or to get rid of all those small polished stones I would buy at souvenir shops as a kid– even though I have no use for them, tossing them seems like throwing away all those hours I spent longing for the shiny rocks and picking out *just* the right one for my allowance money. I know this isn’t necessarily logical, but I think for me it’s more about the reluctance to actively destroy beauty and awesomeness in the world, even if no one else attaches importance to it. I’m not a hoarder, but sentimental objects are sometimes the hardest to get rid of.

  5. posted by Bren on

    Great advice! I will need to read this over and over as we are moving soon to Thailand and I am planning to simplify my life during this move. I know it is hard for my kids to part with toys, etc., so I don’t mind moving all of that, but I really want to organize and rid myself of some of the sentimental stuff I have. I would like to purchase a small plastic container and limit myself to that space. I have trouble ridding myself of greeting cards and letters — espcially from close family and friends. I may incorporate the same box theory here too. Other sentimental items that I know I will keep are those from my children. I hope to organize those too. I have a lot of work ahead of me! Wish me luck.

  6. posted by Adventure-Some Matthew on

    I have a shoebox of personal sentimental keepsakes. If it doesn’t fit in there, I don’t keep it. My wife and I have lots of pictures displayed around our apartment, however, with some reminder objects as well. As you said, we’re proud of them and want to share them with family and friends.

  7. posted by amy on

    “The value you’re assigning the object comes from your memories, not the object.”/”Sentimental clutter isn’t magical.”/”One digital photograph saved on your computer should be all you need to keep the memory reminder.”

    I have a much worse memory than other people my same age (early 30s), and for me, objects *are* “magical” in their ability to help me recall things that would otherwise be lost to me. Photos don’t have the same weight and texture and smell. Even if I only go through those boxes in my attic every ten years, the joy in recovering those memories when I do is *so much greater* than the joy of an empty attic. If you’re reading this now and you have a good memory, consider that you may be in my boat in twenty years and don’t throw away all those reminders of your life!

  8. posted by Erin Doland on

    @amy — The state of your memory isn’t worth making your home into a fire hazard. Cardboard boxes are very dangerous, especially in an attic. Additionally, pests LOVE cardboard. If you’re committed to keeping these things, you need to get them out of cardboard immediately.

    However, a photograph of those objects with a description in the notes field about the objects would serve you much better than what you’re currently doing. Since you said your memory is poor, you likely won’t remember what the items are when you come across them the next time. If you DO remember, then you have a good memory. A description in the notes field of a photograph will actually remind you about what you wish to remember, which you said was your goal.

  9. posted by Michele on

    I disagree that a photograph is enough. Photographs only remind one sense — vision — but they don’t remind our touch, our smell, our hearing. I am an avid photographer and I do take a lot of pictures to remember things by, but I keep many things too, so that I can hold them. The original is much better than a photo.

  10. posted by Blueberry1946 on

    In my sorting out stuff I encountered a pair of red earmuffs . . ‘what in the world’. But then a flood of memory. How I would wear a thick pair of red wool socks on our river camping trips; these were to protect the feet in case we pulled up on shore to hard sand that could wear off a skin layer. The earmuffs, well they belonged to a fellow paddler . . I happened to steal them because they made for a coordinated outfit. Very silly . . . . who knows if that particular memory would have re-surfaced without a little provoking. I still take that same camping trip annually – maybe this year I will bring my muffs, well, Ted’s muffs.

  11. posted by Savannah on

    What I’ve been doing with sentimental clutter (usually flatter stuff) is putting them in a scrapbook. Call me crazy but I do feel like they take up less room and, in a sense, are on display.

  12. posted by penguinlady on

    The first tip, “Don’t keep anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to find” really resonated with me. After my mother died, we kept finding these strange objects that she kept, such as several dollar coins and a few bills. None of us could figure out why they were special – no birthdates in the serial numbers or special years stamped on them. But they were valuable enough for my mother to store with her jewelry! If no one but you knows something is important, how important is it, really?

  13. posted by Kari on

    One thing I would add is don’t keep things that make you feel badly. I kept a journal when I was a teenager, during a really bad time for my family and me due to an alcoholic family member. I toted those journals around for years, although I couldn’t stand looking at them, much less reading them. A few years ago, I gave myself permission to throw them out; it was one of the most freeing things I have ever done. I felt a huge load off my shoulders as I shredded those pages.

  14. posted by Louise on

    I think it is important to emphasize this part of the post: “If you want some sentimental objects in your home and/or office (and I do), you need to be sure that you’re only keeping the treasures.”

    It sounds like Blueberry’s ear muffs, Kalani’s shiny stones, etc. are treasures. Same for the items that Michele needs to touch and smell. Great! Honor those treasures, put them in a place of honor. How about a pretty wooden or leather box on a shelf in your living room? Then you can take them out and touch them regularly, show them to family members, enjoy the memories viscerally.

    The question I ask myself when I come across a dusty box under the bed is, “If this is so important emotionally, why aren’t I taking better care of it?” Stuff that needs to be kept but has no emotional impact, like out of season coats and boots, can go under that dusty bed. Perhaps Grandma’s needlepoint deserves something better.

  15. posted by mydivabydesign - The Diva's Home on

    Really good advice! I have a box in my closet where I keep the things I treasure. It is only half full and I go through it every once in a while. I haven’t saved anything else in years. I guess I got less sentimental! 🙂

  16. posted by chacha1 on

    “Don’t keep anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to find.” Yes, and this would be why, by the end of this year, my high-school scrapbooks and journals will be liquidated. There is nothing particularly remarkable about me or my early life experience, so this “archive” has no value. I’ll be surprised if I keep more than a handful of photos or written messages from friends. And yet I have kept all this stuff for 26 years!

    However, my “romance” scrapbooks are not going anywhere. 🙂 I didn’t really fall in love till I was 32, and I get a kick out of flipping through and remembering all the great things I’ve done with DH so far. I *don’t* believe it’s possible for most people to really remember every single thing that ever happened to them – or perhaps, to keep all these memories in the “RAM” – and having tangible reminders helps a lot of us pull those memories off the hard drive, so to speak.

    That said, all my scrapbooks will be moving from paper binders into Really Useful Boxes this year. Waterproof, bugproof, stackable.

  17. posted by Mletta on

    Excellent points in the article, although I have to agree that you need more than a photograph to evoke the memory of some items, events and people. However, there’s another side to what we keep (and pass along): our family and friends who may want these reminders.

    With the exception of family “heirlooms” or special family-related items or items that someone specifically says “we want this”, many folks just toss everything with no thought to what others may want. If you are going to err, err on the side that allows people to choose something they may want as a remembrance of you. You don’t want something? Ask if anyone else in the family wants it (or a friend, if relevant.) Don’t assume that someone else may not have a use for it, desire for it, etc.

    I can’t tell you the number of friends who’ve been heartbroken because a brother or sister just tossed stuff that one or another sibling wanted. Tears, torment, disputes and feuds over this stuff has happened in even very seemingly “together” families.

    And this applies to what you may have been given or inherited along the way–especially to those items as they may be even more important/significant to others in your family (and who may have wanted them in the first place).

    To me, if someone gives me something or wills me something, it is a keepsake. If this is someone I truly cherish and love, I think very hard about the disposition of that item in my lifetime and beyond. Most of us, quite frankly, don’t have lots of stuff like that. But if you do, you need to view it as a bit of a legacy, if you will. And then decide.

    I have two dishes from an elderly friend who passed away at 101. I use them daily. I have antique linens from family members and use them weekly. And I have letters that I will probably scan and keep but I do love having and holding the actual paper.

    Absolutely we don’t need to clutter our lives with mementos of the past, but we do need to think carefully about what we toss (imagine if everybody tossed everything. What would be in museums?)

    As for the admonition about not leaving behind anything that might “…cause them any pain or embarrassment or damage their memories of you.” Well, really, that is extreme self-editing and quite subjective. And sometimes, people need to find these exact things to literally free them from many family issues and “mysteries.”

    We would have given anything to have had something that told us about our parents thoughts, life, etc. They never spoke much while alive, never recorded anything in writing or otherwise and had nothing saved from family events, etc. (ours or before). That alone left us feeling more bereft than anything we could have found. It’s as if they wanted to leave no trace of who they really were.

    Leaving nothing is perhaps more problematic than leaving something that may cast someone in a different light. Personally, I’d rather have the stuff that revealed a person’s true nature. Family pain doesn’t come from what’s revealed, but from what’s hidden IMHO.

    There is far more than “sentimentality” involved in this type of saving and uncluttering.

    FYI: You don’t have to be sentimental to want a physical reminder of someone. As people have learned the hard way, “things” do matter in very personal ways.

  18. posted by Jenni on

    Hmmmm…good idea. I struggle with this as well! I don’t think I could take pictures of the things I like (well, unless they are big objects, like Skeemer118’s rocking chair). I think I prefer the idea of grouping like-objects or ‘collections’ together, picking out my favorite objects, or the ones that most remind me of that time period, and getting rid of the rest. If the object doesn’t really reflect me at this moment, and doesn’t belong on display/in a scrapbook, then it’s not worth keeping. I nannied some children who each had their own “life box”. Unlike my mother who has kept all of our school papers, artwork, programs in huge rubbermain containers (which I admit that I am trying to change my own similar habits), their mother lets them choose just the very best/favorite items of their school year, to put in their nice, reasonably-sized life box. Anything sentimental has to fit in that box, so they have to choose carefully what items ar worthy. In the end, they have all of their favorite memories stored neatly in one place.

  19. posted by Anita on

    “If something really matters to you, you should want to share it with others.”

    This made me laugh because it seems utterly ridiculous to me. I have plenty of letters, notes and other bits and pieces that were given/sent to me by my two best friends; some of this I would share with others, but the majority I would keep private, because they experss thoughts and feelings that are meant for me and me alone. If you’ve ever been in someone’s confidence, and treasured that trust, you would never think this way. Some treasured things ARE meant to be kept private.

    A few years ago, one of my best friends passed away. Having those odds and ends (cartoons he drew, letters he sent, poems he wrote etc) has helped me cope; and being able to get these things out of a binder and leaf through them (rather than browse them on a computer screen) is much more comforting and more reminiscent of the bond we shared. That’s something that a photograph or a .pdf file will never replace.

  20. posted by rhett on

    AMEN – i threw out some cheap silk flowers the other day that i bought YEARS ago for my guest room in my first house. they were pretty then – but now dusty, dingy flowers with no place in our home. my DH came home and saw them in the trash and pointed, pouted and said, “those were my grandmother’s.” (as if)
    I quickly said, “oh no – no they are not your grandmother’s. they are MINE that i bought for MY house before we knew each other and I am throwing them away!
    Little does he know – his grandmothers are long gone. I had no idea we were keeping her silk flowers and if they are the ones I’m thinking of… they left here years ago.
    Oops 🙂

  21. posted by rawktavio on

    I completely agree with photographing memories of certain items and then uploading them later. This came in especially handy for me in the past years when i photographed a book page by page that my sister gave me when i was really young.

    Later that year the book and several other items were water damaged, and now i am especially appreciative of photographing it before anything happened to it.

  22. posted by Vanessa H. on

    “The value you’re assigning the object comes from your memories, not the object.” If we are “assigning” value to an object, then why do people just naturally feel this way about certain items? Maybe it is because value is not assigned, it is felt.

    In her book “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” Karen Kingston states that our energy becomes infused in objects we touch and use, which is how they become meaningful to us. Did you know that just touching an object in a store will make you more likely to want to buy it? Five minutes ago you didn’t know it existed, and now you have to have it! Marketers and sales people know this and will encourage you to handle an object that is for sale. Anything we have contact with can potentially become meaningful to us because we have made a physical connection with it, and a physical connection can lead to an emotional connection. We don’t really “assign” value to an object, we give it part of our energy. That’s one reason why, KK says, people are so devastated when they lose everything in a fire, and why it can be so hard to let go of things we own, even when they are no longer relevant to our lives.

    So, unless your sentimental clutter is making life unlivable, you can give yourself a break on those earmuffs.

  23. posted by Skeemer118 on

    Another 2 cents from me –

    If one were so inclined to take lots of photo’s of memorable items, they could be uploaded to Shutterfly or a similar website where a nice photo memory book could be quickly made. 🙂

  24. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Vanessa — Believing that people have “energy” that they infuse in objects is the exact “magical thinking” the authors of Stuff discuss. It’s superstition. Magic. Objects are objects are objects.

    Value is determined by social constructs. More than one person has to agree to a value, or the object is worthless. Any value you believe an object in your home has is assigned by you, certainly not created through “energy,” and is only actually worth something if someone else agrees to that value.

  25. posted by heather on

    Mletta– great points you have made. In fact, most every comment here is a great point. I think the moral behind the article is to not keep TOO MUCH of your sentimental belongings. There comes a point when all of the relics from your past are overtaking your life as it is today, and that is where the problem lies. I, too, have a plastic tote about the size of carry-on luggage where I keep my old planners and photos and letters and items of extreme sentimental importance to me. I guess this is where I disagree with Unclutterer’s advice: I want to keep those planners to look back on the memories, but I certainly don’t want to display them and they can’t be reused. So you can have items that are important to you, but they don’t need to be on display or have a specific use, other than to remember times that have passed. But you shouldn’t save every relic from your past; it is too time-, energy- and space-consuming. Keep your absolute favorite things and the rest is just kindling. 🙂

  26. posted by richard on

    hi, I`ll suggest no one should throw away diaries. Rather, they could be donated to historical societies.

  27. posted by s on

    Hmmmm. All of these perspectives are very interesting and insightful.

    I have about 10 boxes/totes of memory stuff. I never go back and look through any of it. When I try to go through to organize stuff it brings back interesting memories and proud moments, but I’m confident that when I die, I don’t want anyone else to go through that stuff or to have to figure out if any of it is valuable. So, I know that it’s basically clutter/trash, but it’s technically irreplaceable, so I’m scared, I guess, to get rid of it. I wish I could dump it, but if I ever wanted to see it again, I could wish it back.

  28. posted by Jo on

    I’m with those for whom the “real thing” is much more evocative than a photo, and who believe a cherished object can be kept in private, not on display, without diminishing its importance. I also agree with those who point out that being selective is the key thing here. You don’t need to photography every single thing and throw away every last original – just choose which tangible things are of value TO YOU and let the rest go (photo or not).

  29. posted by DlYoung on

    I have a pair of 8″ wire cutters, a 9″ crescent wrench and a small rosewood handle cabinet screwdriver. They live in my tool box, they are never used. They are they last remnants of my Grandfathers huge workshop. My family regrets disposing of his tools… my daughter understands what she will be inheriting. My ex still does not understand.
    Some things a photo will not replace….

  30. posted by Pammyfay on

    I don’t see the value of photographing objects (and perhaps doing a Shutterfly book or somesuch)–a picture could never replace the object, in my opinion. If someone here has done that, answer this for me: When you flip through the photos, either individual pictures or in a book, does it give you any real pleasure, or does it make you think that when all is said and done, you should have just kept that ship-in-a-bottle you made with your father? (Now, scanning old photos/slides/flat memorabilia as an “insurance policy” against floods and such–as long as the scanned stuff is on a server you can get to–that is a good thing.)

    (And to the poster S: If you haven’t already, make a deal with a close friend–that if anything happens to you and that person is still around, he/she will go into your home and dispose of the things you don’t want anybody else looking at, whether because it’s personal or you just don’t want them wasting their time determining everything’s significance and/or value. Kind of like that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode about the porn tapes.)

  31. posted by Aisha on

    Agreeing with the poster(s) above who think that there are many things we care about that we would not want to display. Just because something is private doesn’t mean it is unimportant. In fact, for me, most of the time, the more important something is, the more private it is. So while I agree that we should keep things within a reasonable physical limit, I completely disagree that it’s only worth keeping if you can and will display it.

  32. posted by Emma on

    Great advice, this is pretty hard hitting for me… I am terrible at sentimental clutter – every cinema ticket I’ve ever got… check!

    getting better though, we’re moving soon and all advice like this will be fresh in my mind as I decide what our new home will be filled with!

  33. posted by Vanessa H. on

    @Erin-I am not a new age magical thinker. I was just offering Karen Kingston’s explanation as an interesting way to look at it differently. It does not have to be taken literally in order to be useful.

    Human beings are incapable of being totally logical. I really think if “objects are objects are objects,” we would not even feel the need to discuss them the way we do on this blog.

    Love your blog, by the way 🙂

  34. posted by Vanessa H. on

    I would just like to understand how things end-up having sentimental value. That seems to be the root puzzle in all of this.

  35. posted by Fredrik on

    There is a famous movie with Christoffer Walken where (imprisoned in vietnam) he keeps a clock hidden where the sun don’t shine to save it for the son of its deceased owner. That’s the kind of magic we’re talking about. 🙂

  36. posted by Mletta on

    To Vanessa H, who asks:
    “I would just like to understand how things end-up having sentimental value. That seems to be the root puzzle in all of this.”

    I can’t speak for others, only myself. (And FYI, I don’t believe in a lot of stuff, but I do believe, like Kingston that everything has an energy connected to/with it.)

    To me sentiment for an object comes from a shared experience, activity, etc. with someone I care about. Or something that has a profound emotional “value” for me based on its “roots” (family heirlooms, pix, etc.)

    My uncle taught me to read and read to me at the age of 4. I would have killed to have still had any of those books. I have no pix of him as an adult (we came from our parents’ extremely large and dysfunctional family with nobody keeping anything or even trying to). He was a world traveler and I would have loved anything of his that he loved having around.

    One of my friends (I met her in her 80s) died at 101. We used to share daily meals and special occasions together. Her family gave me two plates that we used to eat off. I use them every day. It’s a reminder of her and those plates are not just any old plates to me, they are more valuable than some actual antiques that I own.

    She was a female furrier in NYC in the 20s through the 60s. She left me a short fur coat. I’m very anti-fur so I never wore it but I kept it because the very fact that she wanted me to have it, it was a sign of respect. I plan to have it made up into pillows and given to people I know who have no problem with furs made in the 1920s, before the world was anti-fur.

    Could give lots more examples, but you get the gist.

    Sentiment comes from “seeing” these objects as an extension of the person we love and care about. As visual connectors to the past in the present. To me, I can touch an object and “feel” that person. (It’s the same as when one reads one of their letters.)

    Frankly, I do not get people who seem to have no attachment to physical objects, whether their own stuff or someone else’s. There’s non-attachment (buddhism) and deattachment. Not the same things at all.

    Guess it’s something in our brains or DNA. You either have it, or you don’t.

    FYI: I have a bit of artwork I plan to leave to friends. I’d like them to have it but have no idea whether they will want it or not. In which case, they’ll dispose of it so that eventually it will end up in the hands of someone who likes it.

    Our legacies may be memories and love, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few objects as touchstones. IMHO

  37. posted by Olivia on

    Several years ago while feeling somewhat in bondage to my stuff, I spoke to two clutterless people. “How do you do it?” They said nothing held emotional attachment for them. Man, everything I keep brings back something in memories. It’s as if I can hear, taste, smell the events or people that are assoiciated with the things. I do have to pare down. It’s inevitable. And though I won’t say a formal goodbye with a ceremony or anything like that, something will happen inside. If I could have one thing that remeinds me of my dad, or any of my grandparents, or my aunts and uncles, what would it be? That one thing should be it. And not the hundreds of small things I cart from place to place and keep in boxes.

  38. posted by Rachel on

    I carried away two grocery bags of sentimental, decorative items to the Goodwill this morning, after reading this blog post and another on the same topic.

    There was some discomfort involved (just as the hoarders in Stuff are reported to feel when getting rid of ANYTHING), but it’s fading. I haven’t gone through the photos yet, or even downloaded them from the digital camera, but I also went through a bunch of photos recently… from the old days when photos meant prints… and yes, those pictures brought back a whole lot. I have no doubt these new pictures will be able to do the same.

  39. posted by Stuff « Snoodlings on

    […] less than is actually leaving this house in boxes, and garbage bags, and brown paper grocery sacks. This article has helped me to let go of several items that I don’t need to keep anymore, but I still look […]

  40. posted by Sarah on

    I went through my keepsake box recently and threw out anything that doesn’t make me smile. This included all 4 of my high school yearbooks. I was only represented by my terrible yearly photo – I was such a nobody that in all 4 years I didn’t make it into one event photo or candid. The pages were filled with smiling faces of other people- the yearbooks held their memories, not mine. I’m sad that my parents even spent their hard-earned money on those books.
    I also went through and tossed a lot of photos (I was painfully ugly from about 6 to 24). The diaries and crappy artwork have been tossed too. I am NOT special. I’m just another average person and a detailed history of my life does not need to exist.

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