Nostalgia By The Truckload

Posted on January 15, 2008 by Melissa 
Filed Under Household, Organizing

Who doesn’t have one of these?This weekend we are going to visit my family to celebrate a belated Christmas.  It kept getting delayed due to illnesses and conflicts but it looks like my family can finally meet up this time.  I’m looking forward to it but I suspect this trip might set us back in our efforts to simplify and de-clutter our home.

The last time we visited, mom said that I should take all my childhood keepsakes now that we are moving to a bigger home.  I’m sure lots of parent stash away trinkets from their kids’ childhood knowing that they will appreciate those things when they are older.  I think it’s neat that my mom kept some of my toys all this time. 

The thing is, my mom is a packrat and she saved virtually everything I ever played with or owned as a child.  Cabinets and shelves full of old toys, games, souvenirs, hobbies, crafts, you name it.  A bedroom is dedicated to this stuff right now.  Some of it’s sentimental but most of it isn’t.

My older siblings picked through their things years ago and refused to take most of it.  Eventually, I think their rejected stuff got assimilated into mine, creating one massive collection.  Against all wisdom and advice, I have agreed to take it.  My mom saved all these things for us and I think that’s really sweet of her.  Her heart was in the right place.  She didn’t want to throw away the things that meant something to us as kids.  So now I’ll do the honors.

I’m assuming the first truckload will be coming back with me this weekend but I’m not sure yet.  If so, I need to have a plan so the stuff doesn’t become a permanent fixture in a corner of my garage.  Inspired by Brip Blap’s awesome article on learning to let go of pseudo-sentimental items, I’ve decided to do the following steps:

  1. I will go through the stuff and toss anything damaged, incomplete, or just plain un-salvageable.  That My Little Pony that my sister gave a mohawk and multiple earrings comes to mind.  (It was the 80’s – punk was in.)
  2. Stuff that is in decent condition but not unique enough to be sold will be given away to friends with kids and Goodwill.  I think most of it will be in this category.  Hopefully the toys that helped me pass the time as a child can bring happiness to others, too.
  3. Stuff that is in good shape and particularly retro or kitschy might head to eBay.  There may be a few gems among the rocks, who knows.  I’ll have to wait and see.

I already know I’m keeping a few things, like some favorite childhood books and my miniature dollhouse.  Those items were always intended to be kept, not the junk drawer with a paddleball toy that’s missing the ball or the pressed pennies from amusement parks. 

I will also make sure to do the sorting with Eric.  He can keep me grounded if a wave of nostalgia hits me and I start rationalizing why I should I keep this stuff.  I can hear myself now: “Wouldn’t it be fun to save this for our kids someday”, “But it’s too special”…  Eric has no attachment to these things and can keep us focused and on task.

Once I start getting these boxes I’ll have to report on the interesting things I find.  Besides a lot of children’s books and Barbie Dolls I’m not really sure what’s there.  I bet it will be a fun job sorting these toys.  It’s sure to bring back a lot of memories.  I’ll just have to be careful that it doesn’t bring back the clutter, too.

Image Source: tshein


6 Responses to “Nostalgia By The Truckload”

  1. Mike on January 15th, 2008 11:53 am

    I plead the 5th on my part of leaving more stuff for you.


  2. UrbanFrugal on January 15th, 2008 3:53 pm

    I am with you about decluttering my home. I went through my closet before Christmas and found NEW things that I could use as Christmas gifts. So when I decide to declutter my entire closet I am going ot have a pile where friends/family can sort through and take what they want, things to donate and garbage. If I don’t want to wear the torn ripped sweatshirt, I doubt anyone else will.

    Some items from childhood are great… if you collect like dolls or action figures but if they don’t go into your collection, PURGE them.

  3. Katie on January 15th, 2008 6:10 pm

    Best of luck with this endeavor. My mom has also kept every toy, trinket, and piece of clothing from my childhood. I keep telling her to throw these things away, but she is very attached. I appreciate the sentiment, but I am dreading the day she finally makes me take all that STUFF to my house!

  4. Steve (Brip Blap) on January 15th, 2008 8:49 pm

    It is so, so hard to let go of that childhood stuff! My mom is the same way – every little toy and piece of clothing is now being handed down to me. It’s hard to strike a balance between being hard-hearted and sappy, and I’m not sure what the balance really is – but I do know that if I take on stuff that sits in a box for a generation before I hand it off to Little Buddy I’m not doing anyone any favors! Then again, if I throw out the doll that’s already made it through three generations, am I losing something? It’s a tough, tough question…

    Good luck Melissa! You’ve got a task and a half in front of you!

  5. Debbie M on January 16th, 2008 1:56 pm

    Excellent plan.

    I like how you’re not making your mother toss things when she just can’t bear to, but you are taking it off her hands and then off your hands, too.

    Remember, you can always take pictures of some things and make a little scrapbook telling little stories about each item. This scrapbooks will fit easily between other books on a shelf. Hmm, like that doll with a mohawk. Funny. As well as stuff you are tempted to keep for sentimental reasons.

    Hey, and you can even take pictures of your friends’ kids playing with your old stuff and send those pictures to your mom!

  6. Festival of Frugality 109 | On Financial Success on January 22nd, 2008 4:17 am

    […] Penny Closer shares a unique, frugal place she’s found for nostalgic toys for her kids […]


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