What are you holding on to even though you know you should let it go?
I think everyone has something like this. Maybe it’s a collection of something you’ve had for a long time or something that belonged to someone you miss. Maybe it’s an old shirt that’s falling apart but you keep it anyway? Equipment for a hobby or sport you haven’t participated in for several years?
For me, it’s all my stuff from my time in the Army.
I still have everything:
I deployed to Iraq 12 years ago and left the Army Reserve 10 years ago. You would think I could have gotten rid of some of this stuff by now. The BDUs have been used as Halloween costumes a few times and I chose the most tattered set as painting clothes. I do wear the boots but really don’t need 4 pairs.
For some reason, I just can’t seem to get myself to get rid of these things even though I can list all sorts of reasons I should. I’m not getting back in the Army and they probably wouldn’t take me at my age anyway. Most of the uniforms I have are not in service anymore. I don’t even hunt or play paintball. Most of this sits around collecting dust and filling up closet space.
Why then, do I hold on to it all?
I did contact a friend from the Army who opened an Army surplus store after returning home from Iraq. Check out Battle Boy Surplus if you need anything and support a Veteran-owned small business. He offered to take some of it and asked me to send him some pictures. Even for him, I still can’t get myself to gather it all up.
I guess the real reason is that I still look back on my time in the Army as one of the best parts of my life. Being away from home for a year sucked but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I often wish I would have stayed in but I didn’t want to deploy again. I was so busy with grad school and my family that I couldn’t do everything to the level that I felt I should have. I couldn’t be a good student, good officer, good husband, and good dad all at the same time.
As long as I see those uniforms hanging in my closet every day and I can wear my old combat boots, I can still pretend that the Army is part of my life. Every time I look at them, I think of those I served with and especially those that didn’t come home. I know it is crazy to hold on to all of it though so I will start getting rid of some things.
Where to start though?
There are a few recommended strategies for getting rid of sentimental items. First, I need to gather it ALL together in one spot. For anything, just looking at the sheer volume will help you realize how much you have and therefore make it easier to eliminate some of it. Next, take pictures. I have a few pictures of me in uniform, but I could take a few pictures of me in each type of uniform. Then, get rid of the uniforms.
The challenging part will be the trunk full of newspapers, magazines, and pictures that friends and relatives sent me while I was deployed. I know that if I don’t do something with it, the paper will just decay in my basement. I need to start going through it and scanning anything I want to keep. It’s likely I won’t even remember why I kept a lot it.
It won’t be easy but as I’ve said before, I need to fully purge my own stuff before I hound my family to get rid of their own things. I’ll keep you posted of my progress and let you know what other tips I come up with along the way. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates and feel free to share some of your own suggestions for how you let go of sentimental items. Thanks.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2022
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