Monday, June 25, 2012

Packing and Organizing and Digitizing Memories

With the movers* arriving sometime between July 2 and 5th, I have just a week or so to go in University Town, before heading off to New Job Town**.  In addition to Project Re-Read and movie watching, I am desperately trying to get rid of as many other things as I can, including extraneous clothing and the things filling various junk drawers and a few boxes in my home office.  As the sentimentalist packrat in me battles with the packing minimalist who is tired of dragging around neglected treasures, I must of course turn to the wisdom of the internet for mediation.  As such, here is what I am telling myself:

1) I will be in a well-paid, stable job in the land of plenty.  As such, I don't need to keep things just in case.  If I ever need a leprechaun hat or bandana again, I will find it on the internet and I will have the funds to buy it.  I don't need to keep an old one stashed in a drawer.

2) I am a sentimentalist because I believe in the power of memories, which are the stories we use to narrate our lives***.  As such, I am tempted to hold onto objects and letters because they bring back those memories.  Yet, as the internet explains, a photo will work just as well for bringing back those memories****.  So, I am photographing the letters^ I sent to my summer camp friends and relatives, the magnetic cat lady statue a grad school friend gave me when I insisted this was my goal in life, and the plaid bag my first dance teacher gave me.  Then I will toss/recycle/donate all of this out of my life, and likely never look at the photographs either.  But if I ever wanted to, it's not gone, nor is it in my way.

3) I don't exactly keep a diary, but when I am upset, I tend to scribble my feelings in whatever is available in a rather random fashion.  As such, when I open mostly blank notebooks from my college years or earlier^^, I'm nearly certain to find a page or two of scribbles about relationship misery (or more accurately, the lack thereof).  These bring back bad memories, but I'm still tempted to keep them, as a memory of who I was (see the point above).  This, I've come to realize, is kind of crazy.  I may forget the details, but I will never forget those bad feelings, nor is it especially pleasant to remember them.  On the other, hand, it is quite enjoyable to feed those miserable scribblings into my shredder :-)

4) Prior to realizing that they are rather unflattering on me, I used to wear a lot of t-shirts, and collect them as souvenirs.  When I stopped wearing them, I still wanted them in my life somehow, and thought I could make a t-shirt quilt.  Having enough t-shirts for about four quilts, I started one.  But this is time-consuming, and I would rather do other things, like reading, or dancing, or knitting, or watching movies.  Nor do I especially enjoy the aesthetics of t-shirt quilts or want one on my bed.  So I will save a few of my favorites, to wear at home or decorate my future dance studio, and photograph the rest before they make it to the donation box, and someone who will either wear or enjoy crafting with them.

So, here's to a week of turning physical objects into digital memories!  Or, from the point of view of my cats, a week of lots of exciting new boxes to sit in!

*Movers! I've never had them before, despite twelve years of nearly constant moving.  They are packing and loading, and this is amazing.

**At some point, I will come up with a better name.  I'm sorely tempted to go with Andalusia (since, for example, the "Spanish" Old Town is covered in Arab star fawanees), but that may be tempting fate.  

***What, you're not constantly telling the story of your life to yourself ;-)?

****And contributing to my digital packrat tendencies :-).  But that's not heavy! And I never have to look at the clutter!

^how quaint!

^^Now, of course, I an technologically advanced and scribble these types of things on the various note-taking programs on my computer, iphone, and ipad :-)


  1. Great idea to photograph everything. I need to do that with much of my stuff now too. Did you have an idea about what to do with handwritten notes? I have so many notebooks full of stuff that would be useful if I could digitize it.

    I also have realized tshirts are not at all flattering.

    1. I'd imagine you could just photograph or scan it--to scan it you might have to break the binding of the notebooks. I've pulled pages out of journals to photograph. If you have nice handwriting (I don't) you might be able to get Evernote to OCR it.