Monday, October 01, 2012

Keep the stories, not the 'stuff'

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a collector. Truth be told, there are those who would describe me as more a pack-rat than a collector.  Don't get me wrong.  It isn't that I'm into hoarder territory. I prefer to think of it as a collector with at least somewhat discriminating taste.  I just can't seem to part with things that were gifts or that are associated with a trip, event or occasion. It has fairly recently occurred to me that what I am really collecting is stories AND that I have often attributed the story to the things when, in fact, that need not be the case.

For years, I have captured memories not with journals but with pictures and memorabilia.  I am able to evoke many wonderful experiences - and some not-so-wonderful ones - by looking at pictures and various artifacts.  No denying that this can be comforting and nostalgic.  However, there is another side of this because it also means that I have a hard time letting go of 'things' because they remind me of the people, places and activities that have been important to me.  I have frequently started with the best of intentions to par down the various flotsam and jetsam accumulated through my life, an effort that more often than not ending with me traveling on a trip down memory lane perhaps making, at best, a small reduction in the amount of stuff.

Keep the Stories: A two part challenge:

Part 1:  Capture the Moments  
Find ways to capture the stories of your life - from the everyday routine to the once-in-a-lifetime moments.  Express your stories in ways that work for you.  Use the same approach or mix it up as the mood strikes you.  You might decide to:
  • Take a picture
  • Scrapbook (digital or traditional)
  • Write a song, a poem, an essay - or a blog post
  • Make an audio recording or a short movie
  • Stitch a quilt
  • Paint a picture
  • Create a unique piece of art
How will you capture your moments?

Part 2: Reduce the Stuff
It is not always necessary to keep the things we associate with memories.  If you are like me, it can be hard to let it go but if you record the story, it makes it easier.  Take the challenge to reduce the clutter, reorganize and change the way you think about the things.   Maybe you will choose to recycle, repurpose or donate.

 I hope you  will join me and keep your stories.

Mary Elizabeth


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