Decluttering my Childhood Possessions and the Things I’ve Learnt About Myself

At the moment my baby and I are visiting my family who lives in another state. Now that my mother is planning on selling her home soon she asked that I go through all the things that I had stored there from when I lived there as a child and teenager.

She had asked me to do this previously and i’d done a half-hearted job and basically kept everything. But this time round I was in a completely different mindset having made the transition to becoming somewhat of a minimalist having already purged my unnecessary possessions in my own home.

So this time I was not only willing but excited to go through it all and get rid of the majority of it. After all I had hardly missed the stuff since I last lived there 7 years ago!

The majority of the items were books, nicknacks, childhood journals, school work, sporting awards, and the occasional specialist clothing item like my ski suit. I also had several ‘time capsules’. These were generally shoe boxes that i had filled at various points in my childhood with items and sealed it up with a date for me to open it. What truly amazed me was just how much junk there was and how all unnecessary the majority of it was. I’ll talk more about the time capsules later though because these were of particular interest.

Going through it i have certainly learnt a lot about myself, both who I am as a person and how I have changed. This includes:

1. I used to be a crazy collector of things, not so much now. Some of the collections I had were truly insane. For example I had a collection of bandaids with different patterns on them, rock collections, not to mention my enormous book collection.

2. I am actually much more creative a person than I realised. There were books and books of poems, artwork and stories amongst my possessions. This included things like homemade magazines and scripts of plays written to be performed by my siblings. There were also plenty of example of various graphic design using very early computers. Now I understand why I am happiest when I have a job that lets me be creative in one way or another. I think i need to remember that whenever i am looking for work.

3. Technology improvements have helped me become more minimalist. One of the reasons that it is so easy for me to let most of these items go is that I know i can easily digitise anything of real importance. Generally ihave been just taking a photo with my phone which is high enough resolution these days to do the job much easier than a scanner. Also now that I have a kindle I can get rid of most of the books happily knowing that i would be able to get a ebook version of most of them easily.

4. Rubbish in the Past is Still Rubbish Now. Now to the time capsules. When i opened them, most of them contained a letter to my future self basically saying that the items contained were basically rubbish but i hoped that in the future i’d find them more interesting and because they would have become old they would have somehow gained a greater value. Well they hadn’t, they were still rubbish! It was fun to see some of the item, but so many were silly things like the toys you get in McDonalds happy meals and tacky pieces of jewellery.

So that’s it. I think I really should make a concerted effort to teach my child when he’s older about the benefits of decluttering and throwing things away. Then i might avoid the situation i put my own mother in having to store so much rubbish all of these years!

There are only a handful of items that I have chosen to keep so storing it all this time has been such a waste! But it is definitely been an interesting experience exploring 21 years of my life as material items and I feel i have a new insight into myself!


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