There comes a time in every person's life when she has to throw that shit away

This article from HuffPo makes a case for holding on to things like old Christmas cards instead of tossing them, walking the fine line between hoarding and collecting memories. While I see the point, I had to draw the line when I was clearing out my parents' house. Dad was easy. He was barely literate, so he didn't write much down. When I was 10 years old, I spelled out the numbers ten through ninety so he could write out his checks properly. He kept that tiny piece of yellow, laminated paper in his wallet until he died. I kept that.

My mother was a different story. She kept three drafts of the seating arrangements for my 16th birthday party. She kept immunization records for foster kids who came and went before I was born. I found a piece of paper with handwritten bus directions for how to get to my high school. I had to make some choices.

For about a year after she died, I kept everything. Every scrap of paper I could find went into my memories box, because there would never be any more scraps of paper with "milk, eggs, butter, toilet paper" on them. As time went by, I realized I needed to keep the stuff that actually meant something. I'm sure it was really important at the time to not forget the toilet paper, but that's not stuff for the scrapbook.

I have boxes and boxes full of pictures, but something magical happened: I decided to scan them all and give the pictures to my sister, because modern technology is awesome and wonderful. I don't have to keep this stuff in order to keep this stuff.

Devon makes fun of me because I still have far too many boxes full of old toys and stuff from my parents' house. That's OK. For a while, before I met him, he had made a hobby out of ordering things online and sorting them into boxes, so he's very vulnerable in his glass house.