This summer one such project that I undertook was to pull out and examine the collections of cards and letters I had squirreled away. I am sure you know how that kind of stuff can accumulate! The insidiousness of this kind of accumulation is the strong sentimental attachments that may be associated with it.
Never-the-less, into the fray of sentiment I plunged, pulling the cards and letters from the various spots where I had stashed them. There were
- letters to and from friends sent and received while in college and shortly after that period (this was before email y'all)
- Christmas cards
- birthday cards
- Valentine's Day cards
- graduation and other congratulatory cards
- wedding invitations, souvenir bride & groom photos, and other related ephemera
- thank you notes
- unused greeting cards, some purchased while in college! (oh yeah. . .BUT, I have since found new homes for those)
- etc. (of course a Packrat's always got an etc. category!)
After all this time, I thought I would be able to part with the letters at least, but it turned out to be harder than I thought (Ahhh, sentimentality! The archenemy of the Packrat). But that's okay! Not to worry. If you find it particularly difficult to part with something, don't force it. Getting it sorted and/or organized can be the next best, workable compromise, and might help make stabs at future removal a little easier.
So, while I only managed to get rid of a small portion of the letters and cards, I organized what remained a little better.
- all correspondence to and from a particular individual is now all together
- the cards are now organized by type (birthday, Christmas, etc)
- everything has been put into shoeboxes which are much easier to neatly store in the closet, than the plastic bags they were in before.
If/when I am ready to finally get rid of them they will now all be together in one place, making it much easier to review and at once, rather than unexpectedly stumbling across stashes here or there every so often.