I have several plastic tubs that have been following me around in all of these moves the last four years. These tubs contain a variety of things from the first half of my life. I'm trying very hard to talk myself into getting rid of them.
The contents of these bins varies. Some of it is very early childhood stuff, like hair from my first haircut, or a little photo album from when I was 7. I suppose those things don't really take up much space. In some ways, the earlier things really help me retain the memories by association.
Then there are things from high school. I'm not even sure what those things are at this point, and if I'm being honest with myself, I didn't care much for high school in the first place. There aren't many artifacts from back then, but I'm sure that I don't need any of it.
College generated the most stuff. A lot of it is 1/4" audio tape that contains who knows what, video tapes from my projects, and a heap of college newspapers where I wrote my column. I have to admit that much of what I wrote back in the day was insanely naive, but I wish I could actually get some of that back! Always reminds me of Dr. Lehman, my journalism professor, who was always so supportive in getting me to write.
Post-college stuff varies, but isn't huge in quantity. Lots of volleyball stuff, for sure. Countless medals from various tournaments, as well as cards and other things from appreciative kids. There are a ton of photo albums, too, though I don't think they've left the boxes they were packed in four years ago on our first move to Seattle. My digital photo stash didn't really start until 2000, when I was able to start scanning negatives, and I don't think I had my first digital SLR until 2003 or so. I've also got a huge stash of computer games, which I have no use for, but feel like they should persist in some way.
There's a big debate in my head around the value of this crap I've been lugging around. This stuff doesn't define who I am today, but it does outline my past, for better or worse. But it has no value beyond that. When I'm dead and gone, no one is going to care. I don't mean that in some kind of morbid, self-deprecating way, that's just the reality of it. Maybe Simon would find it interesting in some way. I'm not sure. I am reasonably certain that it's unlikely that I'll ever look at much of it, ever again.
This is definitely a year of fresh starts, and there's certainly a desire to respect the past without wallowing in it. With one more known move in my near future, it's time to purge some more and really trim it down.