One of my key messages is "Connecting to Creation and Each Other." I have decided to practice what I preach. I have tons of pictures and letters from loved ones that spark the beautiful memories from my past. As I received them, I have stuffed them in the closet in my office, not knowing what to do with them. My closet became a mound of teetering tons of flimsy photoboxes.
Do you have a closet filled with years of photo accumulation with stacks that seem to topple every time you open the door? If not, kudos to you for managing the memories. If I had not needed something out of the depths of the dump, I would never have been motivated to clean the closet. But I knew where the item was, so I just took everything out. It filled the room. It was everywhere!
I refused to put anything back until I looked at what was in the box and then working to consolidate. Here's what I found: yearbooks from every school I attended or worked, envelopes and falling-apart boxes filled with pictures and old letters, jars of junk and everything was wrapped in plastic bags (from back when we were preparing for Hurricane Irma). So much stuff!
I sat down on the floor and sifted through every box. I celebrated nostalgic moments with loved ones long gone, wondered who some people were (thank God my mom labeled most), and even found an old yearbook that a friend left at our house over 45 years ago from a school I never attended. There was more... and more... and more.
So what can one do with such an accumulation? I based my decision on what I found and the feelings that each set of memories evoked. I reconnected to my loved ones who have passed on and those who are still here.
I had three piles:
1. Definite keepers - My keepers were all moved from cardboard into plastic with a note for me to go back soon and label the backs. I also found many packs with negatives; I consolidated into one or two packs.
2. Definite givers - My givers are pics that others would enjoy or things that would be appreciated more by others. For some, this meant I took pictures of the pics I found and sent them via text message or Messenger. For the one whose yearbook I found, he will be receiving a special package in the mail in the next week or two.
3. Toss - I got rid of all the old cardboard boxes! There were a bunch of pictures that either were no longer discernible, too dark to make out the people in them, or were just blurry pictures of thumbs over lenses. Why I kept them, I have no clue.
All in all, I now have more room and a system for organization that is actually easy and manageable. There will also be some happy people receiving fun memories from long ago. I was able to get almost everything into plastic bins
with space left over in each one. It all fits, and I was able to set up my skiing gear, helmet, etc. right next to it.
Each person will need to decide for him/herself what is important. With that being said, when you find something that will bring joy to others, by all means share it when you find it. Here's to connecting and reconnecting through old pictures and cleaning that closet clutter!