Stamps used to be 29c

One of my goals in living back at home with my parents has been to organize my stuff.

You see, I am something of a pack rat. That birthday card from my 7th birthday? Have it. Movie ticket stub from when I went to see Return of the King (all four times)? Have them. Shoebox full of pencils that I collected? Have them. Business cards that I collected in elementary school? Thankfully those were thrown out years ago.

Needless to say, I have a lot of seemingly random stuff. I sorted through my box of pencils yesterday and got rid of some pens (how did they sneak in?) and erasers I didn’t want, but, despite my preference for ink over lead and my inclination to use a mechanical pencil over wooden, I am keeping the majority of my pencils. Why? Well…someday I’ll have kids and they’ll go to elementary school and need pencils.

I know. Pencils probably cost like $1 for 10. There’s probably some sort of psychology that would be interesting to get into, but we’ll save that for another time.

My second project in tackling shoeboxes of stuff that are shelved in my closet was the four boxes (and some) of letters/cards/etc.

First step was sorting – get rid of the envelopes (most of them at least). I was pleasantly surprised to realize how much space they took up in the trash can. Then came the task of winnowing the collection. Okay, so I saved all the letters from my grandma. Pretty sure I won’t regret that. Some Christmas cards and Valentine’s cards got tossed. Those graduation invitations my family received from my cousins in the 90’s got tossed (yes, I collected those too).

In the midst of tossing thank you cards (I forgot all about the gel pen craze of the late 90s…apparently I gave them as birthday presents to at least three people), I paused to wonder at the point of sending mail, since so many people aren’t like me and just toss it after reading. But it really was only a pause, since I continue to enjoy receiving and sending mail.

In the midst of birthday cards and letters that I’ll think about throwing away in another few years, there were definitely some gems that deserved keeping:

  • not one but TWO signed form letters from Ann M. Martin (what I really want to know is why I sent a second letter after receiving the first barely-personalized response and what I had to say)
  • a handful of those classic Microsoft Publisher ’95 print-at-home, fold-in-quarters cards
  • a birthday card to my young teenage self from my pre-teen sister commenting on how old I was getting
  • the 5 random postcards I received after participating in a chain letter (one was “from” a 2 year old – whaaat?)
  • the response to a request I sent to a boy in my 5th grade class asking if he would be my pen pal (I thought about not posting this incriminating information on the internet, but it’s just too funny. And if you’re wondering, he said yes, followed by a PS asking why I sent him that letter.)
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