Grief

My Childhood: Contained.

The house I grew up in has been emptied and auctioned. My father, the man who raised me, has died and his possessions have been sorted. I can pretty confidently say I now possess all of my childhood/past. And with this move – and the resulting sorting – I have now sorted and stored all of that past. 35 years of my life fits into three boxes:

And of those three boxes, there is one duffle bag with things from my brother’s childhood. There is one box containing mostly stuff I wore in high school and/or college. And one box contains mostly Dad’s old journals. I think that in reality? My “childhood” – my life under the age of 16 – probably fits in half of one of those boxes. Yes, there are things displayed around the house or being used by the kids, but the majority of my childhood is right there in the above picture. I find this a little sad, but also very liberating as I know that I won’t ever have to decide what to get rid of. It all fits right there, I don’t see us being so cramped for storage in our home down the road that my 3 boxes has to be shrunk.

This is the only item of clothing in the whole three boxes save for one shirt I won off Nickelodeon. (This is where my brother says, “That’s my shirt you’re talking about!” He swears he won the shirt in question. He is a liar.) This is the only item of clothing I own that I wore before the age of 13. NikkiZ was super-excited to get to wear it. I think there is something very good about having so little from your childhood, the few things I have? Totally cherished. While I sometimes look at MrZ’s much larger pile with jealousy? I’m also very sure that having so little? Means I can savor each piece. I try to think of that when I try to decide what to keep of my own kid’s. What will they truly cherish? LilZ has about 4-5 boxes so far. We have yet to go through a lot of it, it may shrink once we do. I’m going to go through it with him. If he doesn’t remember it at all and I don’t see any need to keep it for his siblings? We’ll chunk it.

We don’t have “invisible storage” in this house – places where you can hide stuff to never think about. We need to only keep things that are truly important. So the rule is: It can’t leave the garage until it has been sorted. My stuff? Three boxes. Hopefully we’ll get LilZ’s down to that little as well. All of his old t-shirts are in AndyZ’s room for him to wear. I’ve kept a lot of the kid’s clothing in case we do have more children. I guess once we know we’re done? I’ll keep only the most sentimental pieces that we have photographs of. I want my kids to have more than three boxes from their childhood, that’s for sure. But I don’t want to keep things that may be better off being used by someone from Goodwill. It’s a tough balance, trying to decide what is worth more being stored in a box for a decade than being worn/used by someone less fortunate. How do you decide what to store and what to give away? How much do you have from your own childhood?

And most importantly: How adorable is NikkiZ’s new short haircut?

9 thoughts on “My Childhood: Contained.”

  1. Haircut is very cool. I love the ET shirt with the purple net skirt/tutu. Very punk lol.

    Most of my childhood stuff is still in my Mums house. One Day she’ll sort the whole attic and loads of my stuff will go or will get adopted into my house. I have one doll that my parents gave me when I was a baby – and it still lives with me on show. her name is Emma and she used to go everywhere with me on holiday.

  2. I have two boxes- not quite as big as the ones you have- and a quilt. I don’t have any clothes from growing up, just toys and books that were important to me. I’m not very sentimental about the actual objects; I’m much more sentimental about photographs for whatever reason.

    NikkiZ’s hair is ADORABLE!

  3. I think I have a box and a half from my childhood and that is mostly high school stuff. I want my daughters to have a bit more and already have the same amount saved for my three year old. It’s hard because when they are little – everything seems to precious – I bet if I looked at some of the stuff saved now I would ask myself “why did that make the cut?”.

    Love the new haircut – am seriously thinking of doing it to my Maggie since she now refuses to keep it in clips, ponytails or barrettes!

  4. I love that the item of clothing you have for NikkiZ to wear is an ET T-shirt. She’s precious in it with her new ‘do.

    My childhood is still very much scattered. I think you did very well to get down to three boxes. Kudos.

  5. I have one box of school yearbooks and notes and some pictures. No clothes or toys or anything like that from my childhood. My mom got rid of everything but we have pictures to remember them by.

    Love NikkiZ’s hair!! So grown up!

  6. Swistle – Thistleville – Swistle lives with her husband Paul and children Robert (born 1999), William (born 2001), twins Elizabeth and Edward (born 2005), and Henry (born 2007). Email: Swistle at Gmail dot com. "Swistle" rhymes with "thistle."
    Swistle says:

    SO adorable!

    I have a couple of cardboard boxes of my stuff. I used to have a hope chest plus maybe four cardboard boxes, but every few years I go through our basement, and each time I find I’m saving stuff that no longer matters to me. Like, I saved a disproportionate amount of stuff from my teen years: t-shirts from every “spirit week,” fundraising items such as class-year sunglasses, a BEACH TOWEL from prom, stuffed animals from high school boyfriend, essays I wrote in high school, every single letter I wrote my parents from college.

  7. How adorable is the fact that she paired ET with tutu? I know having a girly girl would be a huge adjustment for me, I can totally feel your earlier post, but that is awesome!

  8. LOVE the shorter hair- super cute!

    My mom has a box the size of yours for EACH. YEAR. of my childhood! She keep claiming she will down size and give me the boxes when I will be forced to throw out much of what she saved. In the meantime, it makes her happy to save them.

    For my own kids, we have a small box (like a shirt box) with special pictures or school work from each year. Clothes are either handed down or given to goodwill. I do have one larger bin for each child with things I think are special… first pacifier, coming home from hospital outfit, hand made gifts they were given, a favorite toy or two as they out grow it. My husband thinks I save WAY too much but for me, it seems right. At least I’m not my mother yet! 🙂

  9. Her haircut is SO cute. And I agree that the ET/tutu combo kind of rocks my world 😉
    I need to do some serious reducing in my house right now, as I’ll be moving in a little over a month – and that’s to my grandparents’ house, where even more reducing must be done. It can be really tough, but I think it’s very cool, actually, that yours can be distilled, and that your shirt is in good enough shape for Nikki to wear. (I was – and still am – murder on clothes 😛 )

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