A loud crash of boxes startles me and my heart skips a beat. I notice that the alarming sound has come from the closet that I used while I was in high school. No really one goes into my old room unless I’m visiting my friends and family in Bakersfield, so I’m curious to see what has disturbed my untouched room.
I walk over to the door and slowly slide the rolling door of my closet open and peek inside. As suspected two boxes has crashed onto the floor. However, they are not just any boxes. These worn shoes boxes that have been decorated with brightly colored paper and wrapping were my memory boxes filled to the brim with small knick-knacks and trinkets that represented moments that have passed long ago.
I start to pick up all of the contents off of my floor and sift through the contents. Somewhere in the mess I see my senior prom tickets, and there, lying next to my first cell phone, is the key to my first diary. I continue on to find postcards from every vacation I went on and every city and country that I’ve ever been to. It’s all there sitting in the bottom of a large shoebox waiting to spark images in my mind of some of my most cherished memories.
I find a collection of old concert tickets and movie stubs from theaters that have now been out of business for years.
“Oh my gosh, she was right.” My sister says of the pile of papers falling out of the folder on my lap. “You are a pack rat.”
I fumble with the mess that I have unraveled from my room. “I’m trying to organize it,” I say to her. “These are all pieces of past experiences and moments that I hold dearest to me.”
“You need to throw all of that junk away,” she replies disgustedly.
I look down at my pile of junk in the attempt to organize the highlights of my past as my mother sits on the couch next to the one I am sitting on.
“Maybe some of this stuff is junk,” I say to my mom as my sister leaves the room. “Maybe I should just toss it all in the trash.”
“No, go ahead and keep everything,” my mother says. “You can look back on everything later and see all the things you thought were important when you were younger. Keep it so you can look back on all of your memories.”
Later on that day I find myself neatly packing up all the contents of my memory boxes and sitting it back on the shelf inside of my nearly empty closet. I imagine myself looking at the contents of the boxes and thinking back to all of the wonderful moments in my life. It may look a little junky, but attached to the junk are deeper meanings, memories and everything I once thought was so important.
5 thoughts on ““J” is for Junk”
This is one thing I like about writing and digital memory-keeping. I can take photos of the item, write up the things only I know about it. The memories associated with it. And then I can throw it away. That lets me keep my minimalist environment organized and free. No one around me has to make room in their lives for items with zero sentimental value for them. And I still get to keep what’s important to me. Plus, the memories are recorded so that even I can never forget why they mattered.
Your post hit home, Jasmine, as we have The Big Purge going on at our house. I’ve spent three hours going through two bags of photos. Some I tore up and put in the trash,; others, I put in the “to be scanned” file; still others, I have in numerous piles to send off to friends and relatives.
I’m all for keeping mementos…I just tend to keep too many. But what fun looking through those pieces of yesterday…the tickets, the pictures, the brochures. 🙂
You make me seem like Im not sentimental which is the opposite of the truth. I love looking at old pictures, videos and journals but I try to keep it at that everything else can make your room or even life messy. If everything is sentimental you loose the meaning of the word and the value of the item you are cherishing. All i ask is to throw away things that are broken (mugs and cups that you don’t use) and just take space and you will be able to breath a whole lot easier.
Oh, can I relate to this! And it looks like it hit home with many of us. When my husband and I moved into our new house about a year and a half ago, we did a huge purge of lots of items…but the boxes of memorabilia came with me. They are still piled up in a closet waiting for me to go through them, but they are the “junk” of my life, and I just can’t find a way to give them up! Lovely post.