Why We Keep

So maybe you don’t keep. Maybe you shed things like water off a duck’s back. Maybe you don’t find anything slightly fascinating about junk mail. Maybe you think you don’t need old receipts and stuffed animals and clothes and paystubs and cassette tapes.


But maybe you keep. Why?

Security. Possibility. Dreaming. Laziness. Avoiding. Fear.   Yes?   No?

Something in me tells me I must keep things. That other part, the part that heard you say things are so cluttered, tries to get the keepy part to stop but it hasn’t worked for years and years so why would it work now? So I am wondering: if I got rid of it all, if I lost it all, would I do it all again? Would I build up just the same amount of extra stuff so I feel the same amount of safe and secure and backed up and un-tidied? Is this my comfort level?

1) I grew up in  a cluttered home. Not a big surprise if this feels somewhat comfortable.

2) I dislike cleaning in general. I feel that as a priority it goes on the list well below interesting pursuits like lovers and Yahoo! Answers and making sock puppets. There are some serious reasons for this, such as people I knew who put a priority on cleanliness while screwing up the rest of their lives. Not my family, of course. I just picked this up as I got to know other families with clean houses. I learned to be suspicious of the clean.

3) I think I have some kind of fear of doing the wrong thing, and I will err on the side of doing nothing (i.e. keeping) rather than discarding or destroying. Until I decide that I am for sure right about getting rid of a thing, it is more likely to get sorted into a box or a pile or a file.

4) I really really really don’t like being poor. This is somehow stupidly linked to the keeping thing subconsciously, but in most cases the items in question actually aren’t worth anything to anyone else.

5) Something I’ve learned lately, some kind of side-effect of being childless: I want someone to discover me. To get to know me. And that might be through my things, my papers, my cluttery stuff. Sure, it could be through something like a blog or a novel (and I’m working on that again, by the way), but somehow I think that things are important this way. Like when I learned things about my father and grandparents by going through their things when they died. Yep, this is my death plan. No kids. Gotta leave something.

This leads me to ask: what if I list it all on a blog, what if I make a Wiki of Letting Go and document it all for anyone who might care? Which leads to: what if nobody cares? Which reminds me: there isn’t anyone reading this. But I wonder if it would work. I wonder if I should do like those other people did and auction it all off on eBay or something. Too late to get famous doing it.

But maybe someone would know me a little. Maybe they would keep me.

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