Trying To Curb My Inner Pack Rat

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I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who likes to save everything. As and adolescent, I saved every note passed between my BFFs and me in Jr. High and every card I received for my 16th birthday. The outfit I was wearing when my first boyfriend kissed me behind the town pool was saved for years in a box in the attic along with every card, dried flower, and gift he’d ever given me. (We only dated for about six months, but when you’re 12, six months is a lifetime.) These things were so special to me. How could I just toss them into the trash can or the Goodwill bin?

But after heading east for college, it seemed that I was moving once a year for about the next 8 years. And none of the dorm rooms or apartments I lived in had much space for storage. I learned quickly to be selective about the things I acquired. The more stuff I had, the more there was to pack and move the following fall. I began to see stuff for what it really was- stuff!

Fast forward to the beginning of this month. I decided to sell at my twin club’s fall tag sale, which required me to pull out all the remaining baby clothing, toys, and gear to sort and tag. I decided to get rid of it all since we’re 99.9% sure we’re not having another baby (a sad decision that I had to make with my head, not my heart), but I had no idea how many memories and emotions would flood through me as I went through bin after bin of infant clothing.

My inner pack rat was going nuts! Every piece of clothing and every toy seemed significant in some way- it was a gift from someone special to us, they were wearing it the first time they did one thing or another, and then of course there were just many, many personal favorites. And while I knew that these things were just things, I also knew that I just could not get rid of everything.

So, I designated one bin, one 30 gallon bin, to be my keepsake bin. (I may eventually have two bins, one for each child, but for now, it’s just one.) My goal is that this bin will hold everything I want to save to remember moments from my twins’ childhood from 0-18. And it was amazing how wonderful it felt to be able to hold onto some of those things- the tiny, little onesies for 5-7 pound babies, the going home outfits, my daughter’s first tiny sun dress, the collared shirt and corduroys my son wore on his first birthday, and those first little walking shoes. It is my hope that one day, I will share these items with my kids and tell them all about the wonderful memories these keepsakes hold for me.

What items hold special memories for you? Where do you keep them, and how do you keep yourself from keeping too much?

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12 thoughts on “Trying To Curb My Inner Pack Rat”

  1. Hi, I’m Anna. I’m a pack rat. I feel like it’s a Pack Rat’s Anonymous meeting. I haven’t gotten rid of anything yet. The girls are 9 months old. Our house is bursting at the seams. We live in Japan, which equals no storage! My husband told me I could only keep one outfit for each girl. I have 3 tuperware bins full of clothing(they are still only wearing size 3-6 months) and the hubby, well, he doesn’t know that they are tucked away in the closet. My friend has even offered to make quilts for the girls out of their old clothes and I just can’t part with the clothing. I can’t let them get snipped to pieces. It sort of makes me cringe. I’m setting aside a bag of clothes that didn’t mean as much to be snipped into quilt squares but I don’t know if that bag will ever make it out the door. Why did I inherit the pack rat gene? Why? On a side note, being married to the military has made me a lesser version of my inner pack rat. Moving every 3 years sends me on a rampage. I throw out everything in my way when we move, but I know that the next move will be something different.

  2. Hi I’m Heather and I love to throw everything away. I can’t control much in this life (especially with four year old twins) so I control my stuff. Wow what a counseling session, huh?
    I am one of those people that people like you ladies must think my heart is made of stone. I just don’t have emotional attachment to stuff. If my house were on fire, I would grab my hard drive (after my children and husband) and go. Everything else just doesn’t matter to me. So I am in the middle of pricing last year’s clothes and I love the fact that I am getting rid of stuff (and making money to boot!). The only thing I have kept is their going home outfit, their baptism gowns and dresses they wore in my sister’s wedding (because they are Strasburg). I sold their cribs like I was selling a tomato. See you later. I know, I totally sound cold hearted but I have an 1800 square foot house that is 86 years old. This means the closets are so small they are hard to hide for hide and seek, the garage wouldn’t even hold a compact car and the attic has room for one season’s worth of clothes and the Christmas decorations. Not throwing more stuff out is a challenge for me. I sound gross. Sorry!:)

  3. Getting ready for my multiples club sale is always hard. Some of my daughters’ outfits are just so darn cute and have such fun memories attached to them. I’ve tried to only keep things that I know they would want to see when they’re older (a hat for each of them from the NICU, a preemie diaper, a blood pressure cuff)… things that will make them say “was I really that tiny???” But there’s one outfit (well, times four) that I can’t bear to part with, yet. Right after my daughters were born our local Osh Kosh store was going out of business. I found four red velvet jumpers with snowflakes on it. They wore those for their 1 year pictures, for their first picture with Santa and for Christmas when they were one. That and their coming home outfits are the two outfits I just can’t let go of. Oh, and a few onesies… Oh, and.. Ok, I guess I’ve been holding on to more than I realized.
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..Different Families, Different Rules =-.

  4. I’ve kept a few outfits and items. Right now, they are in big ziploc bags. I’ve learned that stuff is stuff and it’s okay to keep some of it. With triplets, there is so much stuff – not all of it is important.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..No rest for the sick. =-.

  5. We are hoping to have more kids, so I have one bin per baby (b/g) for each year. Not sure how long that system will work, but since they are only 21 months..2 bins is not that much.
    Also, I’m loving tagging all the ‘other’ stuff for my MOT sale too!

  6. I keep what I want. I just went through some things for a sale also, and now have a HUGE bin of clothes and things down in the basement. Those preemie onesies are just to damn cute to throw out. :)
    Oh, and I just threw away some BFF, LYLAS letters from Junior High wrapped in a big rubber band!! I’m so bad about that.
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Makes my Monday =-.

  7. I’ve been getting rid of most baby things and clothes as soon as my 10mo twins outgrow them (we aren’t having any more children), but I can’t bear to part with their little footed sleepers. If the house were burning down, I would grab the overflowing laundry basket of the last year’s sleepers, and thus they are kept in a convenient location. : )

  8. I don’t remember what outifts the twins came home from the hospital in – I think there’s a photo of it somewhere. The blur and chaos of raising twins means that “stuff” just doesn’t matter. When they outgrow it – its GONE – either donated or through my moms club sales. Their baby book is pretty sparse as well!

  9. We’re hoping to have at least one more, so as of yet, I’m holding on to all their clothes and toys. Once we either do have number 3 or I hit the age that it’s no longer an option, all the clothes, toys, gear…ALL OF IT… will be gone! Mostly donated as we have many younger friends just starting out that will make good use of the stuff. The only things I’ll be keeping are their bris and baby naming outfits (they’re Juicy – I would never buy a newborn that sort of fancy label clothing, but my sister-in-law gave them to us as gifts), and, for some morbid reason, the outfit that dd was wearing when she went back to the hospital at 7 weeks for acute respiratory failure. As for going home outfits – they didn’t have any. They wore the little t-shirts the hospital supplied. All the newborn outfits that were brought to us in the hospital, they just swam in.

    Now what I’m going to have a harder time parting with is all those numerous art projects they bring home from daycare. (I know…they’re only 2 – they’re not actually making them…but, still…).

  10. I am a lifelong purger. I hate clutter. But I recognize that one day, I’ll wish i had kept something(s) from early childhood of my twins. In the same way that now, at 35, I wish I had kept my 5th grade Hello Kitty! diary that I tossed when I was a too-cool 8th grader. So, I’ve collected ‘sentimental’ pieces (like the shirt my son was wearing when he broke my camera lens, or the newborn clothes they wore home from the hospital) and I (or, more likely, my mom) will make quilts out of them. For me, it’s a way to keep memories in small pieces in a fashion that will have some function (keep warm!) for the kids, and we’ll have stories to tell with each square. I got the idea here: http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2008/11/thursday-morning-wood.html
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Little Crickets Chirping =-.

  11. If this is a therapy session I caught it at the right time. We are getting ready to move to the other side of the world and hope to travel with as little stuff as possible yet I still have boxes and boxes of clothes that I can’t seem to part with. We are still planning on having at least one more child and not knowing if it will be a boy or a girl means I “have” to keep everything.

    I just sent a box of twins b/g clothes to a friend who is expecting b/g twins. It was easier to let them go knowing that the cute little matching outfits were going to stick together. I told her that if I happen to pregnant again with b/g twins she can send them back (along with a bottle of prozac), otherwise they can be passed along to someone else.
    .-= Rusted Sun´s last blog ..Moving to New Zealand…. =-.

  12. I’ve tried to be fairly minimal about the “stuff,” since I take so very many photographs. I’ve kept their going home outfits (slated to be born on Halloween, but born on the 21st instead, they had preemie costume onesies – a black cat onesie for my dd, and a white ghost onesie for my ds), one preemie diaper each, the hospital shirt and hat of each along with the hospital blanket of each, the hospital name tag anklet. And that’s it. These will be made into memory shadowboxes when I can get the time together. That and their babybooks (which I’ve promised myself not to even attempt until they’re a year old). They each have a memory blanket that was embroidered for them by my sister in law, and some keepsake ornaments. I’ve promised myself that I will continue the tradition of making handprint and footprint molds each year for keepsake ornaments, too. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    Everything else is and has been slowly moving out the door. It makes me happy to know that there are other babies that will use and wear the things they did, just as they used and wore the things of other babies. Being part of a larger community of growing, happy babies is heartwarming. Contributing to it is awesome.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Week 49 (-2 days) =-.

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