what to keep and what to let someone else keep


So, how does one prepare to “leave it all behind?” Well, I guess you start by sorting, selling and donating as much as possible, then pack what you can carry in a large U-Haul and leave. But it’s not that simple, now is it? Sorting is the hardest part for me. Should I keep those ten boxes of receipts going back to 2004? Or the closet full of quilting fabric, or the twenty-five bonsai pots with the dead plants in them? What about those faded classic paperbacks I read when I was an English major? They’ve got my notes in them, so they may come in handy one day if I ever teach English…

Of course I’ll keep the books. But I have to admit, I think I am a book hoarder. When we came out here we had about one bookshelf’s worth of books. Now we have enough to fill a small library, and I don’t mean a small room in a house library; I mean a real library. There are books on history, philosophy, mythology, psychology, yoga, meditation, health and nutrition, and cookbooks and gardening books and art books, and that doesn’t even count the magazines. But my plan all along has been to have plenty of books to read when I am too old to work. I think I will have enough. I just hope my eyesight lasts.

Other than books and a few other small, less heavy things, like beads and yarn and fabric, I am not much of a collector. In fact, I am very good at helping other people get rid of their stuff. I clean the refrigerator at least once a week and have been known to throw away food just because it has been in the pantry for more than a year. If I see a current expiration date, the item goes into the trash, no questions asked. For a while I kept bill receipts and store and gas receipts, neatly organized in boxes and file folders in a file cabinet upstairs. But not now. I’m done with keeping piles of paper, especially when they remind me how much money I spend. Those receipts are already in the fire pit outside in the back yard–methphorically, that is. And we will have one heck of a bonfire out there sometime before we leave here! I’ll take pictures.


  1. This is a great post! I can so relate to the thought processes involved in de-cluttering and sorting.
    I’m glad to be a “follower”.

  2. Mom

    Throwing away books is a SIN in this family! You get your love of books by your genes. And being a lifelong student helps a little too. With your books and my books we could realy have a library. With computers and other technology of today, books may become a rarity and in reality become valuable. Shortages raise the vaue of things,( ie, gas, etc.) lol.

    • You’re right, Mama. I appreciate that I learned to love reading from you, as well as the love of writing. Maybe one day we will open a small library, or donate all of our books to one….

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