In this stage of my life, I save less and less, fewer items, less stuff. I was thinking just yesterday that this summer’s project is going to be cleaning out my attic. It’s a disgrace really. The bug man can’t even get in. Imagine how many silverfish must live in those cardboard boxes, licking their chops at the delectable glue.

I don’t collect things, don’t want them. But sometimes, it’s esier to wing it in the attic than make a decision about it. I took a class one year on Women’s Time Management. I learned that we must handle an item only once. Throw it away, pay it, or file it. It’s good to keep these three options in mind regarding mail, husbands, and children!

But really, what’s in the attic is a collection of my life:  old dolls and toys now antiques, a trunk from college with unknown contents, my grandmother’s purple needlepoint chair, a baby bed, Christmas decorations and wrap, a Halloween mask, Mardi Gras beads, old letters, rejected wedding presents with a gift number sticker still attached, high school spiral notebooks from Latin class, National Geographic magazines with pictures cut out and dog-eared pages of naked natives, hard suitcases with locks and no wheels, photographs of long dead relatives, and a file cabinet of once important documents.

Do I really think my children will want this stuff? Of course not. They have plenty of their own. The next generation seems more streamlined, less cluttered. There’s a Goodwill store a mile from their house where they seem to take donations every week and they know the employees by name. Outgrown, out of style, out of favor—out it goes! Much simpler, and someone else can use it.

So, this summer, out my stuff goes. I don’t care a whit about it. No more getting bogged down by the past or feeling sentimental about a high school notebook. The new rule is: if I haven’t looked at it or worn it in 50 years, to Goodwill it goes! Why did I save it anyway? Was it to jog my memory when memory fails me? There’s an idea. Now, what was that Latin teacher’s name?

~Beth Baldwin

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