I think hoarding is a strong word. I’m not a hoarder. I’m a collector of memories. Right. That sounds much better.
When my family moved a year-and-a-half ago, we were lucky to have plenty of help from many generous friends and family. But as the moving progressed and my friends surveyed what they were actually piling into the moving truck, the questions began.
Q: Why do you have so many old magazines?
A: Because I’m a writer and editor.
Q: What is this?!
A: It’s a plaster mask I made for drama class in grade nine.
Q: Do you really need this old box of VHS tapes?
I hate throwing away anything that reminds me of someone or brings back a memory. The magazines? In 20 years, I want to look back and see how the world was. The mask? I love everything about high school and like to keep the memories alive. The VHS tapes? My great aunt and grandmother would record movies off the TV for me. The labels are in their handwriting and they have both passed on.
I understand that these are just “things” and that memories are part of your heart and mind, not something stashed away in a cardboard box. But I really do find it hard to let go. And things are only getting worse. How can I possibly get rid of Eleanor’s baby stuff?
There are boxes upon boxes of baby clothes in my home, not to mention the baby gear and toys. To my credit, I have passed plenty on to friends and donated some as well. But even after that, the amount of boxes is beginning to get overwhelming. Looking at it, I agree that it is a waste. Other kids could be wearing these clothes or playing with these toys. But I’m not ready to part with it just yet.
To make a dent in the storage, I made a decision to take some of my very favourite items of Eleanor’s clothing and have them made into a blanket. I came across a Facebook page called A Stitch In Time Memories. This is where I saw Lisa’s creations. She takes baby clothes, sports jerseys or any other sentimental fabric you’re hanging onto and turns them into beautiful blankets. You can take these blankets and store them, display them, or do what I did, create a toddler blanket for actual use.
I went through Eleanor’s clothing, sappily remembering when she weighed a mere four pounds. Eleanor and I took the collection of clothing to Lisa, where I very nervously handed them over. What if she cut them up and they were destroyed? I had to have faith.
When I returned two weeks later, I was overjoyed by the result. It was a gorgeous, soft, cuddly blanket made from memories. Eleanor immediately loved it and named it her “special blankey”. I felt the same. It is one of my favourite things in the world.
I still have a long way to go when it comes to giving up my stuff. But at least I made a start!