On a mailing list I belong to, the topic has been cleaning out rooms. Someone suggested that they want a dedicated records room.I don't need a records room, but I do need a secretary. We have about a dozen boxes in our bedroom with records that my husband says he'll go thru. He doesn't know how long he should keep paper records. I tell him, I'm pretty darn sure it's not 40 years.
As someone who has had to go through my grandmother's house and choose what to keep and what to toss, I'm constantly aware at 61 that someday my own children will have to sort through our stuff and make those kinds of decisions. I know how difficult it is, especially at a time when you are missing that person. That's a very hard thing to have to do, and I don't want to pass on that core to my kids.
We have so many things that we've saved that nobody but us would have any interest in. A Phi Sigma Kappa throw pillow from 1966, the big sister gift I got from my Alpha Sigma Tau big sis. TV scripts I wrote in junior high for the show Bonanza for fun. The second Sunbeam hand mixer we got as a wedding gift in 1968 and never opened....
As for old photos, we started out in 1968 taking slides instead of pix. A lot of those slides are worthless now. Nobody, including me, has a slide projector anymore and we don't have the energy or money to send them off to be copied onto a CD. Kindof like the ancient wire recording my brother has of the voices of my maternal grandmother, my mother and father... Now there was a short lived technology.
We have two big plastic storage containers, the kind you put Christmas stuff in for storage, filled with photos. I use those for storage because at hurricane time I can duct tape them up securely so they won't leak (hopefully) and write our names, address and phone numbers in case of a hurricane where we might get wiped out.
I had spent a lot of time scanning photos and storing them on my hard drive, but I didn't get real far-it's a major time consuming chore. My oldest said, why bother. When we are gone they'll just sort them out and distribute them. But my mama's heart says, yeah, but will you be able to tell the baby pix of one of the 21 kids, one from the other? My husband can't even do THAT. I can!
And what about the antiques that I have kept to be handed down to my grandchildren. None of them worth a whole lot. A little book from 1832, owned by my poor great great grandmother, Margaret Clark who died of childbed fever in 1850, with her signature? Or the ancient prayerbook and bible from Scotland owned by another ancestor. Will anyone care enough to keep them in the family or will they toss them as "old books" or sell them on ebay? I shiver at that thought!
When it comes down to it, all the things that I have found to be important enough to keep, probably won't be important enough to save by the next generation. I find that incredibly sad. I have a beautiful gold expansion bracelet with a hidden picture thing that my great grandmother gave to my grandmother at the turn of the century (that is 1899-1900. I've cherished that, and I want to pass that down to a female descendant that I will probably never meet (so far my kids have produced only boys.) Will there be children that will respect my wish?
But when it comes down to it. I'll be in heaven having a good ole time. I'll have no use for those things in heaven. And I just have to let go of emotion about old stuff I've kept over 61 years and trust that someone will have a heart for at least a few of them.
So, knowing that someday one of my kids is going to have to go through mountains of things we've kept over the years, it is MY responsibility to at least narrow that down to a couple boxes of things I think need to be passed down. And to label as many pix as I can!