I'm a packrat.

Ugh.  As I've been working through Project Simplify and the book Organized Simplicity the last few weeks, I've realized something about myself that's painful to admit:

I'm a packrat.

I might not be this bad, but it's close, especially when it comes to keeping letters, notes, bits of paper, and other sentimental memorabilia.

Let me illustrate.  In the process of attacking the beast that is our guest room closet, I found a smooth wooden box that I made in 7th grade shop class.  And here's a list of some of the "treasures" I found inside...

  • A letter I wrote to my "future husband" in 1994.
  • An entire key ring full of soda can tabs.  Why??
  • Name badges from Centrifuge summer camp.
  • My True Love Waits commitment card.
  • An entire set of Lee Press-On Nails.  French manicure, of course.
  • DCTalk after-show access pass.
  • Several notes from my friend Beth, addressed to "Christine McIntyre," signed from "Beth Wahlberg." 
  • My best friends' autographs.  Ya know, just in case one of them was famous someday.
  • And the crown jewel of them all: a folded-up piece of notebook paper that has written on the front in pink pen, "New Kids' phone #s (that don't work)."  HAHAHA!

As you can see from the contents, I think it's pretty safe to say I had a very strong New Kids On The Block phase in middle school.

So, here's an actual conversation Steven and I had as I carefully sifted through the contents:

Me: Oh my goodness, you're not gonna believe what I just found.

Steven: What?

Me: All the New Kids On The Block's HOME ADDRESSES!  Do you think I should keep it?

Steven: Babe, seriously?

Me: (grinning sheepishly)  Ok, ok, I'll toss it. 

Out of the corner of his eye, he catches me trying to slip it back into the "keep" pile.

Steven: BABE!  Throw it away!

Me: OK, but what about THESE?  I saved all the pages from all my date books for the past 11 years.  This way, I can look through them and see what I did every single day!

Steven: WHY would you want to keep that?  Can't you just look through them now for 3 minutes to remember and then throw them away?

Me: Yeah, I guess so.  (start flipping through them, acting like I'm doing what he suggested)  UGH.  I'm sorry.  I just can't do it.  I can't get rid of them.

Steven rolls his eyes as I put them back in the "keep" pile.

See what I mean?  I need serious help.

That little wooden box was just ONE of the items I've been going through, but to my credit, I do have an entire garbage bag full of trash (the Lee Press-On Nails didn't make it) and another huge bag of papers to be recycled.  Various items have been added to the "give" and "sell" piles.  I've organized all the "stuff I really want to keep" into two small neatly-labeled plastic storage boxes.  

As my life is becoming more organized, I'm learning that I don't necessarily need a piece of paper to remind me of a special moment I already carry in my memory.  

And I guess I'll just have to give up on trying to get Joe McIntyre's mom on the phone for now.  Sigh.