Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend 3 way: relics

The new year always inspires me to organize, and sort, and get rid of things. And this year is no exception. I've already rid my closet of all the horrid maternity clothes, and gone through the girls' dressers and closets, and my junk room office is next on my list.

My office is a hard one though, because it houses all my photographs and stationary and reference books and computer software and office supplies and travel books and on and on and on.

But the truth is, there's not enough room to store everything currently in there while still having a place to work, so I've got to do something, and I simply can't get rid of it all. There are too many memories, too many mementos.

So, what I'm wondering, is what do you save? And how do you save it?

We know from yesterday's post that Ellie keeps a meticulous record of her life in photos, and stores them in matching albums on her bookshelves. Bravo, Ellie!

More details, please.

What do I save? Well, for starters WAY less then I used to. Moving three times in one year taught me to keep only the essentials. But what I find hardest to part with are photographs (even though I have most of them on my hard drive and a backup CD!) and various keepsakes of my girls' childhoods. You know, baby books, preschool artwork, school awards, valentines, class photos, blah, blah, blah.

I've recently come to realize that although I do keep these things, I keep them in disparate parts of the house in a completely unorganized fashion. So, after watching the horror on my husband's face as I proved to him that I do, in fact, keep these things, somewhere, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on these:

One for each girl, and an extra one for me and T. These babies are acid-free, lignin free, have a 3% calcium carbonate buffer, and passed P.A.T., whatever the hell that all means. Now all I have to decide is where to put them.....


Oh, dear. You two are punishing me for going on a fabulous vacation, right? By pointing out my obvious flaws in this fashion? I am terrible about archiving. My poor children will have but a pathetic sampling of their young lives. A badly edited video here, a randomly organized box of school papers there, a rush of digital photo albums somewhere, and always an endless supply of scary boxes in the garage marked "misc." Hopefully, their memories will be rich enough so that they can serve as their own historians.

My kids have baby books, there is a smattering of data in those. There is no shortage of photos, yet there is no orderly shelf of photo albums. There are boxes (archival) of printed photos, and more recently there are bytes and bytes of digital photos - backed up and sorted by date. With schoolwork, I tend to keep everything until it becomes overwhelming, and then either throw it all away in a fit of efficiency or shove it in a box marked by name grade. Hoarders, here I come.

Beth, what is lignin free? What is a lignin? And Jacquie, the illumination of the prow-ass of others is not meant to be a direct insult to you, you know. Well, not always.

I did not show all of the details of the records I keep of our lives, in those journals and calendars on Friday, because that would be just too deep a glimpse into my own personal Vortex of Dementia. I don't think any of you are ready for that.

Backing up those photo albums are negatives from our film years, and CDs from our current digital phase, which are also all marked and labeled:

(Sorry Jacquie).

And we never throw out prints that don't make the album, or doubles, either. So there are lots of boxes of negatives, photos, CDs, journals and calendars in one of this house's 2 closets. The irony is that most of that stuff is way too Ellie-centric to ever see the light of day. [Shudder.] But, for whatever reason, whatever compels me to continue to scrupulously document this wondrous life I live, I doggedly press on.

And do you know what I never throw out? Ever? Letters. I have every letter everyone has ever written me. Really. In shoeboxes, which are in bigger boxes, which are in Mumsie's basement. But don't tell Mumsie; she might make me move them out of there.


feeling woefully unorganized in PA said...

oh Jacqui, I am so feeling your pain. You sister looks nice enough, but I could not have her in my family to shame me on such a regular basis..
negatives sorted and labeled??
No matter what, I am still going to feel great when I finish this 1999 scrapbook and I would prefer less posts that will make me feel otherwise...ENOUGH already! :~)
oh...and don't forget to suppress your desire to post pictures of any SUNSHINE and WARMTH while many of us are freezing our asses off in the "real America"

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Now listen here, Central PA. I thought you were my *friend*. It's not *my* fault Beth decided to base her weekend 3-way on *my* dementia.


Now excuse me while I go organize my file folders.


feeling a bit remorseful in PA said...

oh Ellie,
I was just well as leaving out an 'e' and a 'r' in my first two sentences.
I'm sure you are a wonderful sister who doesn't mean to rub it in, it just "happened". (I am the younger sister of an overachieving, ultra organized sister so I share Jacquie plight)
But I will join you and just blame Beth :~)
Hope all is go back to your color coded negatives!

Anonymous said...

My dear daughter, Beth:
Hooray for you!
For anyone out there who hasn't seen Beth's "office", it is beyond (leass than?) tiny. It is smaller than either of the closets in my condo. To refer to it as a "nook" would be hyperbole.
Every once in a while I look at the precious treasures I kept from your and Hap's childhoods and it gives me great pleasure. Besides whatever I kept that I "shouldn't have" will be your problem when I pass on to that great bluegrass festival in the sky.