In today’s expedition to Minnetonka, my mother wanted me to clean out my old room a little bit. I’ve been gradually doing this ever since fall 2006 when I finished undergrad, but this meant business. I’d been over my books several times, and couldn’t weed out any others. While I’ve kept some sentimental pieces, I was surprised at the things I still had, like a classy version of a tacky Christmas sweater. I felt the need to keep it due to its holiday value, and it’s made very well out of a non-cotton and non-synthetic fabric, but it was tossed today. While I could elaborate much more on the guilt I feel over having so much STUFF, the real story here is my brother (as he was the next victim of my mother’s decree).

I’m a gradual tidy-er; Andrew isn’t. While I’ve slowly gotten rid of trinkets and replaced them with others, he just lets the whole room stay as-is and works around it as new items come into his room. He’s certainly not a hoarder, or even sloppy. It’s not my ideal living environment, but it isn’t unreasonable.

For most of my elementary school years, my father traveled to Europe and Latin America for work constantly. As part of guilt for leaving his kids, he’d bring back souvenirs. They varied in quality (I once got a baseball hat with a toucan and said “Costa Rica” on it… subtle), but it was a pretty consistent haul.

Looking at Andrew’s shelves today I noticed that he’s kept (I think) every single one of them. Plus some things I bought at camp for him. A small wicker basket from camp, a clog “piggy” bank from Holland, a small ivory chest from Turkey, a box made of seashells from Hawaii… now that I type this out, are all souvenirs supposed to hold something? Or carry something? So many containers!

It was like a time capsule of my school-age years. Mine are long gone (although I did find a coin purse from Austria… again with the container!), but I remembered each of them I saw today.

So do these items have value? Sentimental, I suppose. But as far as dusting and caring for these pieces of plastic and how unnecessary they are in our lives, it seems better to get rid of them.



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