Beanie babies, cabbage patch dolls & memories…

Last year, we decided twenty years in one house was enough. We needed more space for grandchildren to play and family to gather. It was time for a different floor plan, bigger kitchen, quieter street…and time to purge.

I started the process of cleaning out the closets, attic and outdoor storage shed.

How did we accumulate so much stuff? If you’ve moved recently, you may have asked that question. When we moved into this house, our children were eight and five years old. A few days later our youngest started kindergarten.

There she is heading off to her first day of school. Where did time go? Seems just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital on Mother’s Day 1988! Now I’m putting away things she’s decided are too childish. Into the box goes her beloved cabbage patch doll we frantically searched for one Christmas. She’ll want this one day…

About five months into the purging process, daughter got engaged.

For the time being, all extra funds had to go toward her special day. The house sale could wait. Over the next six months, we planned, prepared and married her off to her cowboy.

She was a gorgeous bride. It was a beautiful wedding. And it left the house full of more stuff! After my three-month wedding recovery phase, it was again time to purge.

There she is starting high school. Where did time go? She’s outgrown her childhood and is finding her way in the world. So I’m packing up boxes of assorted stuffed animals – each representing something significant in her life. She’ll want these one day…

Our house was finally on the market.

Life moves on. We grow and change. Cleaning and purging is good. Clear out the clutter and move on. But what about those memories?We got an offer in three days and the purge continued at breakneck speed. One evening, I convinced husband to help me haul stuff down from the attic one last time. “I’ll pass it down and you take it to the curb,” I said. “Big Junk Pickup is this week!”

Items purged from the attic that night included three of the worst suitcases you’ve ever seen.

They didn’t even have wheels – meaning they originally came without wheels! How did we ever travel with those? We also found the snow skis we were wearing when husband taught me to ski. How our marriage survived that is a mystery to this day.

Also found in the attic was an old torn trash bag covered in dust.

“Don’t throw that out, yet,” I said as I tossed it down, “I need to look in it first.” I took the trash bag to the garage and very gently ripped it open. Out tumbled a huge pile of beanie babies…

There she is, our girl graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing – officially an RN now. Where did time go? Not long ago she was spending entire afternoons reorganizing and caring for her precious collection of beanie babies. One day I realized that game was over so I stuffed them into a black trash bag which eventually got carried up to the attic. She’ll want them one day…

Life moves on. We grow and change.

Daughter now spends her days caring for real people with real needs. We could not be more proud.

Purging is good. Sometimes we need to clear out the clutter so we can see the present (and the future). As you purge, though, don’t forget the memories. And daughter did want those things, after all.

feature image – Alex Blăjan

tall image – Jelleke Vanooteghem

6 thoughts on “Beanie babies, cabbage patch dolls & memories…

  1. Thanks for the memories! Although no beanie babies for my boys, finding their childhood treasures is still quite emotional. Passing them along to the owner makes you feel even better hoping that one day they will pass them along to their kids!

  2. In the end our “stuff” really is made up of our memories. More precious as the years go by. Since my lifestyle is made up of moving every few years I have learned to purge belongings often and only hold on to a few of the most precious. Our old memories can make new ones for families in need.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Took me on a little trip though time with all my Muse kiddos!

  3. So true. We’ve been at our house 5 years now and I’m ready to purge again. Maybe it won’t be so painful this time. BTW Grandbabies enjoy some of those precious things from your babies. We have a Barbie fest at my house quite often.

    • Oh, yes, Debbie, I’m with you! I’ve hidden away a few gems for the g-babies. And the dog. Stuffed animals made for kids seem to last a lot longer than dog toys. LOL

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