Give Me One Good Reason

I’m helping my parents purge their house.

Delicate territory, that, walking the fine line between “Are you kidding me?” and “but that’s what I remember from when we were kids . . . you can’t possibly let that go!” And I’m a professional. Like I said, this is delicate territory I’m wading through.

Even though I’m opening a veritable field of landmines with every drawer and closet, I know I’m helping Mama and Daddy go through all their stuff, seeing my own memories mixed with theirs. As I help keep them on track with their themes and favorites while balancing past and present, I have to remind myself constantly, “This is their house, this is their house,” even though I lived with many of the games, photos, dishes, and furniture pieces I’m sorting through.

The “find” that delighted my heart was opening wooden box and finding Daddy’s old cowboys, Indians, and army guys with their horses. His response to seeing his old toys sealed the deal — those toys aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

That’s how you know.

When I help people purge their belongings and sort through meaningful keepsakes, all the logic and reasoning in the world doesn’t stand a chance when you have one good reason to keep it. All it takes is one reason.

I take one look at pure delight in a weathered face . . . . and I know the toy needs to stay.

I take one look at a face brimming with tears . . . and I know the old dog collar needs to stay.

Some heart tugs are so strong, I find myself in tears right along with my customer. There’s no way I’m going to look in those eyes and say, “Logic and reason states that you don’t have any closet space left so you need to get rid of that.” Saying that would be just plain cruel.

Our memories, for better or worse, are woven into us, part of us.

And, for better or worse, some of those memories are enjoyed best through our physical, earthen treasures — treasures that take up space, need special care or repair, dusting, and moving as we relocate place to place.

As long as you have set a healthy limit and created healthy boundaries for how many are kept, keep as many as you want. As long as your memories aren’t crowding out your ability to live in the present, keep as many as you want. As long as your grip on the past isn’t preventing you from moving into your future, keep as many as you want.

  • That’s been in our family for 7 generations.

  • Dad made that for me.

  • I won that when I was in 4-H, at the County Fair.

  • They don’t make those anymore.

  • It’s my favorite.

  • It’s one of my happiest memories in a childhood that didn’t have many happy memories.

  • It used to belong to my son. I lost him six years ago.

  • That’s from the old homestead where my great grandfather first farmed.

Any reason is a good one.

Allow yourself memories to enjoy. Create a good balance of past and present . . . one you can truly live with.

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