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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wilson

But It's Sentimental!

First. You are the boss of your things. You may keep all of them.


If you have goals of a peaceful home and the ability to enjoy your things and your space, chances are you’ll want to release some stuff.

For a perfect example, I give you this file:

I taught Sunday school for four years. I gave messages during service and hosted lock-ins and ran garage sales and chaperoned church camp, the whole bit. It changed my life and my kids are now my family.

Meanwhile, I kept every piece of paper, every special bulletin, all the scriptures written on index cards. They were sentimental, truly. And they were sprawled all over a corner of a closet. How are they cherished if they’re getting crumpled in a dark corner? And really, am I going to frame hundreds of Bible lessons scribbled on pastel cards? Truth: NOPE.

I didn’t bring myself to look at them for more than a year after I finished my class. And then two days ago, while watching a YouTube video of someone cleaning their kitchen (yes, that’s my idea of relaxing - ha), I was ready. I popped up and marched to that closet, dumped it all in a laundry basket and took it to my desk... Then I got overwhelmed again. The next day I finally dove in. I went through everything, taking breaks in between piles, and said thank you to all those things that brought up gorgeous memories. I reminded myself that those lessons were already placed in the hearts of my kids. I didn't need to keep those mementos to make our time together real. In the end, almost all of it went in the kindling bin or off to recycle.

Sometimes it takes us a while to be ready to face times past. Sometimes there’s joy, often there’s bittersweetness, and that can feel very big. That is perfectly normal. When you’re ready, you work it at your speed. Maybe you invite a trusted, nonjudgmental friend, or a professional, to sit with you. How you do it is your business. Your things, your pace.

For my own pile of memorabilia, I ultimately chose three items for my memory trunk. A prayer, a few page collection of my favorite lessons, and the card for our very first class that is still my life's motto.

Shine the light.

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