The Trouble with Treasure Boxes

Let me know if this sounds familiar:

Step 1: Graduate from college.

Step 2: Move into your parents house for a couple months while you look for a job. (But totally don’t need to come home for dinner every night if you don’t want to because you’re an adult now. (But do anyway because you’re broke.))

Step 3: Ah! Finally. Get a good job. Move into your own apartment. Adulting commences.

Step 4: Get married, buy a house, have kids…

Step 5: Parents decide they don’t want to hoard your crap anymore and drop off 12 boxes of said crap on your doorstep and leave. Parents turn your childhood bedroom into a home gym.

Oh, I forgot to include…

Step 0: Save every birthday card you ever received since you were 8.

This is my life. Except the home gym – that was Monica from Friends.

With the new year now upon us, I make a familiar resolution to want/buy/have less stuff. My first step in keeping this resolution is to go through the boxes of childhood memories I’ve been hiding in our attic. It’s a process, so I started with a small goal of consolidating 4 boxes into 2. The strategy involved the typical “toss, donate, keep” rule. Sounds easy enough until the nostalgia washes over you!

Here’s a sampling of what I found in my treasure boxes…and what I ended up doing with them!

Notes. Oh my goodness. Pages and pages and novels of notes written in civics and passed before chemistry class. Together, these notes create a very detailed history of critical events happening between 1999-2005. Which is why I am keeping every single one!  One thought I had while carefully unfolding each origami-esque corner of notebook paper was that “kids these days” will not have a tangible time capsule of their social lives during the formative years. Most communication is done in short-form text messages that may or may not contain clip art of an eggplant. I spent several hours sifting through these notes, so maybe on the bright side, kids will grow up and have more time as adults to save the planet or cure cancer.

Greeting Cards. Does anyone else find it difficult to throw away greeting cards? What’s the shelf-life of a greeting card? One week? One minute? How about 21 years? I did a little bit of keeping and tossing as I went through a ton of birthday cards, bridal shower cards, thank you cards, etc… For those that landed in the toss pile (please don’t be offended if your card is in the toss – I literally kept every. single. card.), I learned that I can donate the fronts to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children so that they can be reincarnated as beautiful art projects by the kids! Although I don’t think I’ll be donating the front of this birthday card that my big brother designed in Greetings Workshop and printed at home, circa 2002:

Posters. As much as it pains me to do so, I must toss the many Tiger Beat posters of Leonardo DiCaprio (and apparently Lance Bass – I was a Backstreet Girl, so this was an odd find) into the recycle bin and rely on Google Images for my Leo fix of the 21st century.

School Projects. I am keeping my “Geometry Madness” handbook in case I need to help my daughter with her homework in 14 years. That’s totally practical, right?! But I’m also keeping some projects that were not necessarily done in school, but in my free time – ya know, career planning. As a kid, I wanted to be a major league baseball player, veterinarian, editor, and evidently, a marketing director. That was up until 5th grade. For the 10-12 years that followed, I pursued a career in fashion merchandising before pivoting to marketing 😉 Anyway, when I was a marketing director, I wrote this very stern message to one of my associates:

“Dear Michael Watson [Marketing Manager],
The company is a beginner marketing company, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be organized and not have a budget. For any company, beginner or advanced, should have everything they need. I care about this company. I can’t let it crash and burn. Having only a little over 7 million is poor for an aquarium in NY. If this company doesn’t shape up, I will have to move you to Chicago. They know how to handle this better. I can’t do this all by myself, so I need everyone’s help.
I would like to be a speaker at your next meeting. I need to speak with everyone.
Lauren Pritchett
Marketing Director”

Hey, with a few substitutions, this could totally pass for an email in today’s corporate world!