Some Things You Get to Keep

Not Everything Needs To Go

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Everyone seems completely obsessed with purging. Get rid of this. You don’t need that.

I get it. I recently spent a Saturday afternoon going through a massive amount of junk in my garage in order to be able to fit my car in there for the first time in eight years.

That garage held all the angst of my marriage. It was a wasteland of everything my ex-husband never cleaned and eventually left behind.

I must say, it felt amazing. I thought it would be more difficult than it was. It was easy because there was not a lot of emotional attachment to anything in that garage. That wasn’t my drill. That wasn’t my saw. That picture frame. That stud finder. It’s really hard to feel like you need to keep those things.

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I have a friend who has moved a lot in the last five or six years. He’s become the king of paring down and purging.

Knowing that there’s going to be another move in his future, he’s already started purging again.

I asked him what on earth he could possibly have to pare down. I’ve been in his apartment a few times and there’s not much there to sort through and throw away. He lives a very basic lifestyle.

My house is not large and I’m not overly materialistic. Still, I could do a far better job of paring down.

I am second and third generation American. My family left Italy with not much. Having a lot of money was never a life circumstance for my grandparents.

I’m happy that I have a few small possessions of my great grandmother and my grandmother that have survived.

When I was a little girl there were two paintings that hung in my bedroom that were my grandmother’s. They were watercolor pictures of Italy. Interestingly, when my parents went to Italy my mother felt compelled to take a picture. It was the same landscape from the picture. She didn’t even realize what she was doing at the time.

These are the things that I will hold onto.

I remember, growing up, my parents had a few books. For whatever reason, I was always interested in an old copy of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. I just loved it.

That Hemingway book was in my possession for 20 years before I realized it was a first edition. I told my mom about it and she told me that book had been my grandmother’s and that was one of the only two books that she ever remembered her mother having.

My friend asked me tonight, “What if you had to walk out of your house and the only thing you could take with you was your daughter, but there was a house in Mexico and $1 million waiting for you if I did it. Would you do it?”

I said no.

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This is shockingly similar to the watercolor painting.

It’s a silly hypothetical but it was interesting to contemplate. If I did it, I would have to leave those two paintings and that book behind and that’s all I have of my grandmother. They were some of the few things that she valued enough to hold onto and I value her enough to hold onto them.

Holding onto things is not always practical. It doesn’t always make sense. The same can be said for keeping things. That’s the beauty, though. You don’t need to justify the ownership of that part of your life. You’re free to own it.

Written by

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. IG: vanessaltorre

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