Every now and then, we have to throw some things out so that we can make room for the new stuff. This is an “old school” phrase that dates back to my parents day and maybe to yours as well. This refers to when you have accumulated too much stuff and it’s overcrowding the space that you need for other things.

However, when we start to clean out we have to be careful as we can throw out not just the things we no longer need but we can also throw out important things as well.

People will always be confused as to what is important and what is not when you’re throwing things out. It’s not an easy decision to make and not everyone should be the one throwing your stuff out.  You have to be the one throwing things out and not others, as they may not be as careful and some things can be thrown out that can’t be replaced and that is painful.

To the young people, let me advise you of something that is important to the older generation like myself. There are things that are very important to us but they are not what is important to you.

Consequently, this is why so many priceless things can be discarded mistakenly. The person doing the throwing out don’t know the value of all the things they throw to the curb as garbage.

I recall several years ago we were doing some house cleaning for my mother and she had these two old lamps that had Chinese writing on them and they were also ugly. I bought my mother two newer lamps that were more modern and it fit the color scheme of her room.

When she came home to see my surprise she started yelling at me asking for her old ugly lamps. She firmly told me that I better find her old lamps and bring them back. I went to the garbage facility and brought them back like she had instructed. She didn’t want my new lamps as her “old stuff” was all she needed. When I asked why these old lamps were so important to her, she explained that my older brother who was in the Vietnam war had brought these back from overseas as a gift. At that point, I understood that no matter how ugly those lamps looked to me, they were priceless to her.

In another situation, I recall having a few pictures of my grandparents and their parents as it was a legacy document to me and my siblings. It was pictures that were irreplaceable because it captured their early years which was wonderful. Unfortunately, we were not smart enough to have a duplicate made when they were given to us. You just don’t think about stuff like this when you’re young.

After going over some old things we discovered that this very important picture was thrown out when we were moving from one house to another. During that process, that is when a lot of our older things were thrown out quickly as garbage. Once we discover that it was missing it hurt us so badly and that is why I’m writing this article so that the same don’t happen to you.

Also, there was some joy in looking at my old photos as it’s remarkable to look at.  Some of them I want to laugh at and there were others that made me want to cry. I believe the same would happen to you in looking back at some of your old pictures of yourselves.

In viewing things that are priceless, I can’t believe that I once wore bell bottom pants and walked in those high platform shoes like it was no deal. I even danced in those platform shoes and never fell down. It’s so laughable today to see yourself now versus yourself back then.  I dare not bring up the different hair styles we had back then as that story has to be talked about at another time.

These are indeed priceless times in our lives and the younger people of today, they will never get to understand what this means to us no matter how much we try to explain it to them.

As you look at the different stages of our lives, our perspective changes dramatically whenever we are looking at one period and matching against another. Seeing the difference is shocking no matter who you are as the old pictures don’t lie.

This issue is very important to me because we had a bad fire in our home some years ago and many of our old pictures of me and my siblings were destroyed. To me and my family, this was devastating because the years of our youth in school pictures were lost.  We didn’t have a camera back then to take family pictures, as they were the only photos that we had of our childhood years. Without having those pictures to show to my children and to my grandchildren, it’s  a moment that I can never share with them which still stings.

To some, they may say so what, as they were nothing but “old stuff” that had to be thrown out anyway. However, to me, since that old stuff can’t be replaced it is a big deal. If you have ever lost something of significant value, you would understand the pain that this feels like. I also understand now how my mother felt about keeping those ugly lamps as noted above.

Additionally, your old pictures help you to recall those special moments in your life such as your graduation pictures, your sport team pictures, your old girlfriends, or your old boyfriends and you get the idea.  Plus, at some point you will experience the moments when you can’t remember all of this “old stuff” and you need some help to bring back your memories. Having access to this old stuff allows you to walk down this memory lane and there’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.

Not all of the “old stuff” have to be pictures along, it can also be garments like your old sweatshirts, old sneakers, your high school ring, your yearbook, and much more. Each of these special things has a unique value and to lose them would be terrible. There are so much more to talk about on this topic but I’ll stop here as you can fill in the parts that mean the most to you.

However, we also understand that we can’t possibly hold on to everything from years ago. If this “old stuff”  is meaningful to you, we have to make room for them somewhere that’s safe.

My suggestion is for you to go into your attic or your basement and pull out the things that you value the most and take copies of them. I strongly suggest that you move these priceless items to a secure place where others can’t get their hands on them. So when you get that rare moment to look back on your old stuff, you will be able to do so without having the fear of them being thrown out.

As you can tell, this is a hot issue to me and I can go on for days talking about those moments from my past and I’m sure that you can do the same. As you begin to age in life, these quirky things that we treasure so much have more value and we must do what we must to protect them before it’s too late.

In my last point, recently, I was watching my grandson and saw him put his two little fingers in his mouth and I couldn’t stop him from doing so. However,  my siblings reminded me that I once did the same when I was that age. I’m glad that this is not one of the pictures that have been saved because if my grandson found it and showed it to me, saying papa, is that you with the fingers in your mouth, I wouldn’t know how to respond.

In closing,  thank you for listening to me and allowing me to share my story about this point. In making decisions to throw out the “old stuff” be careful in doing so as it may represent one of those priceless items that you can’t get back.  I only wished that we could have saved some of those old priceless pictures of me from that fire so that I could show them to my grandchildren.  I would love to show them those lost pictures except for the one with my two fingers in my mouth just like my grandson is doing today. So I hope that after reading this article you will be very careful in throwing out your “old stuff”.