I am sentimental. I save everything.
I’m not joking. There are boxes in my closet that contain reports I wrote on amphibians and marijuana in fourth grade. I have a bag that creeps my husband out because it holds the long ponytail that was cut off of my head the summer I went pixie back in the early 1970s.
My instinct to collect knows no boundaries. I stockpile items for my kitchen pantry like someone struggling through the Great Depression living in fear of famine.
I have safely tucked away scribbled notes from my husband from 15 years ago. I’ve hung onto an old roller-skate box full of handwritten notes I passed in class with my girlfriends in middle school. (No, you can’t read them.)
My saving has only intensified with motherhood.
I’ve kept the birth control test that I peed on when I was pregnant with my first child. Please note: I am not alone in this grossness. A study commissioned by e.p.t. found that 67 percent of expectant moms save their pee sticks as mementoes. (Halle Berry says she kept 35 of them when she was trying to get pregnant.)
Mine is in the same box as the pink plastic clamps the hospital used to hold my daughters’ umbilical cords when they were detached from me. I do not know what Halle Berry did with hers, but imagine the price that could fetch on eBay.
I know it’s not healthy to horde, particularly when you live in a 1,500-square-foot house, so I was intrigued by this “40 Bags in 40 Days” de-clutter movement making the rounds. It’s a challenge to get rid of things you don’t need, one bag a day. The 2014 challenge officially goes from March 5 to April 19 to coincide with Lent. Sundays are your days off.
The goal is to convince yourself that you don’t need all this S-T-U-F-F; that you will be happier without it and feel less overwhelmed by your home.
As Adele Dazeem sings, “Chuck That Crap Out,” or something like that.
In the spirit of letting go, I have compiled a list for my first personal Hefty bag.
- Sippy cups. My kids are already teenagers and I still have a drawer of the no-spill cups and thermoses they used 10 years ago. I keep thinking some toddler is going to come over and need them. Sorry kid, you’re out of luck. They’re the first things to go.
- The size 2 mini-skirt I keep packing away each season, convinced it will fit again. It won’t.
- The boxes of obscure cookie cutters I think I’m going to pull out every Christmas, and don’t. Ninjabread men seemed like such a good idea at the time.
- All those mailers and ads selling SAT prep courses and tutoring. When the College Board gave the exam the big makeover this month, it also announced a partnership with Khan Academy to provide free online test-prep classes.
- The collection of keys that has accumulated in my kitchen drawer and doesn’t seem to open anything I own.
- The knitting, needlepoint and jewelry-making kits I’ve been saving for a rainy day. I will never be that crafty, Pinteresting mom, and it will never be that rainy.
That’s a start. Check back with me in 40 days to see if I live up to my goals. You’ll find my list safely stored in one my cluttered desk drawers.