January purging part 2: 111 things in 1/11

Welcome to the continuation of this journey my friend Jenny of Words on Wendhurst so lovingly roped me into–read here for part 1.

The goal for any newbies out there: to get rid of 111 things during the month of January. I figure if I can do about 30 per week, I’ll be on track to exceed that goal. This week was frightening. An emotionally vulnerable time, so to speak. See, I had set up a goal for myself to start going through my old college papers.

They’ve been sitting in this bin for years.

And years. And years.

Why have I kept them? Let me explain my rationale to the unenlightened:

1) I keep telling myself I may be a teacher one day. And if I teach a course in French phonetics or The British Novel, referencing my old syllabi and assignments could be really helpful! Right? Though let’s see . . . since I graduated, I’ve been a sales rep. A sales manager. And an office manager. French phonetics, though near and dear to my heart, has played no role in my day-to-day life. Or year-to-year life. Or any part of my life, really.

2) I form emotional attachments with the things into which I invest energy. And college was definitely one of those things! Plus, if I get rid of this stuff, how will I ever prove what a great student I was?? Because if there’s one thing people I meet are always demanding, it’s: “Were you a good student? Well prove it! Let’s see those original graded papers!” It comes right after the “Hi, what’s your name?” question. Yup.

And, like, when they interview you for a job, doesn’t your potential employer always ask for some of your old compositions, both the draft and the final paper?

Look! This dude said I wrote a brilliant paper!

And check this out–I did something musical here. Some kind of analysis, by the looks of it.

Not even I can interpret what the heck it means anymore.

But I may need it someday to prove something to someone.

Like, maybe to myself? When I start forgetting that my grey matter once had abilities? Opinions? Structured arguments roiling within?

Uh huh.

Let it go, Jenna.

You were a great student. But you are no longer a student. Now you’re a great . . . well, different things. Okay.

It’s also time for this random collage you made in France to find its way out.

I may have beefed up and thrown away a good amount of old college coursework. But if there’s one thing I’m hanging’ onto–it’s this!

My cartoon doodle-people. They were lurking about in the middle of essays, class notes, and examination blue books. Hi, Stallone Silvernixun! I’ve missed you so. And I’m totally diggin’ that tattoo on your thigh. That’s hard core, compadre.

The other purged item that caused me much emotional angst this week was this:

My ugly ole sweat pants. I talked about their comforting abilities in this post, and I’ve had them for close to ten years . . . can you tell? They were a staple of my evening wardrobe.

My poor husband couldn’t stand the sight of them. As I modeled my new and improved Gap Body sweat pants, the sigh of relief was audible. No more saggy, baggy, holey pants, baby . . . at least for another few years.

Goodbye my blue friends! You served me well, and I hope you have a wonderful afterlife as a piece of dirt that will feed a flower in a meadow and something about oxygen and a raindrop and the circle of life.

Wasn’t that beautiful?

Let’s take a look at the entire pile of 30 things that made their way to the trash can or to Goodwill:

The pile includes the yellowing, funky-smelling pillow that’s been who knows where, assorted picture frames, scarves, a purse, faded and weird-colored hair clips, and other random stuff.

Stay tuned for another update next week!

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26 Responses to January purging part 2: 111 things in 1/11

  1. Circe says:

    I have an emotional attachment to my coursework too, I’ve got it all filed and saved in my storage locker. But now that I really think about it, I have no idea why I’ve invested so much emotional baggage into something that was such a short period of my life.

  2. Wow, that kinda hit home in a strangely uncomfortable way.

    Maybe this weekend, I’ll have to try and get rid of a few things from my closet….

  3. Veronica says:

    Oh girl, it hurts. They’re not even my papers and it hurts! I really enjoy reading old papers that I wrote so much, I could never get rid of them. But you’re right, it’s not necessary to keep them–good for you for being strong and getting rid of them! Love your cartoons, BTW. You should totally make cartoons to go with your posts. At least once. Another blogger recently did that to tell a story and it made it so much more entertaining. Well, this weekend I’ll be gathering up more things of my own to purge. Wheee!

  4. I am a natural at discarding. I have to watch myself or I’ll discard important stuff. Without a thought except that it’s taking up too much room. Goodbye! Tsk tsk. Don’t encourage me. Blessings to you, Jenna…

  5. Emily Gooch says:

    Great post! For many years, I kept all my A’s homework, assignments, and tests for the same sentiment as yours. When I finally got rid of them, I couldn’t believe I even had stuff from 6th grade!

  6. Weighting For 50 says:

    Hilarious. I tossed the SAME Fix it and Forget it cookbook last week. Congrats on the purge, it’s not easy to do, but feels sooo good afterward. (we are in the same process at the moment, so I’m speaking from experience on this one) Have a great day.

  7. Christy says:

    Oh, the pain! I applaud your emotional fortitude. I don’t think I’m there yet…

  8. Sarah says:

    i did this last year with school papers… it is so sad but i promise you won’t miss them!!

  9. skippymom says:

    Great job!

    But why would you get rid of a cookbook – I LOVE cookbooks. I guess everything is on line.

    Can’t wait to see what goes next. [Only because it gives me ideas] This is such a good idea.

  10. Carrie says:

    You can teach ME French phonetics!!!! S’il vous plait!!!!!!!

  11. Great call on throwing away the college papers and keeping the Doodle people. :-) It’s so hard to part with the papers, but I honestly never think of them until I am purging each year. You’ll feel better with them gone! :-) Thanks for linking up this week. :-)

  12. Joanne says:

    I am impressed! If you want to come over and throw out my old college papers, you are more than welcome to. They could count towards your 111 things. Seriously.

  13. chefyourself says:

    I love this idea! I don’t think I’ll sign up for 111 in a month, but I’d be pleased to rid myself of that many items this year. Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Eva says:

    I just purged a ton of my old research. I still don’t understand why I felt compelled to keep over 10 binders worth of printed articles. I stil have some of my old papers, but only my favorites. I love the doodles, glad you kept them!

  15. Okay, the funky smelling pillow could go, but don’t throw away your papers. You’d regret it someday. If nothing else, your descendants might enjoy them someday…or maybe you’ll become really famous and then every little scrap of paper with your writing on it would be worth millions!

    Thanks for the nice words about my photos on Cranberry Morning. :-)

  16. Mads says:

    I don’t think I saved any college coursework longer than a month. I’m proud of you for letting go. Doesn’t everybody in the world have that Fix It and Forget It Cookbook? It should probably be forgotten.

  17. cca says:

    i am impressed! nice work!

  18. Good for you! I totally understand being emotionally attached to things like college papers. I’m going through this right now with my Master’s coursework. Should I keep it? Toss it? Maybe I could use it? Yikes!

  19. Shannon says:

    Look at you go! I totally forgot to post my de-cluttering this week…but I’m not sure people would be too entertained my piles of my husband’s old polo shirts…cast aside for random stains and wonky collars. Oh and um, I did a sufficient stalking of your blog this evening…obviously green with envy over your PW weekend. Amazing stuff!

  20. Oh Jenna. I hope you didnt toss all of them yet. Why not scan them into a file? Burn them to a CD? You can have them forever without the paper mess. Those memories are priceless.
    How can I purge all my husband’s old surf t-shirts. He was certain he was moving to california and learning to surf after college. His dad set him straight on that. He never went but we STILL have the t-shirts. @Shannon I feel your pain!

    • Jenna says:

      Don’t worry Ann! I have all my college essays saved on CD’s–but I had kept the paper versions as well as the busywork and blue books. So the busywork and blue blooks are gone forever, but I still have the papers I wrote. Maybe I could scan the syllabi–now that’s a thought.
      And also, I only purged papers from 6 or 7 courses that weren’t that meaningful. I kept papers from a good 8 courses that meant a lot to me. Great idea with the scanning. =)

      • So good to know you have done some! LOL that you kept the hard copies too. Its so hard to let go of those things we’ve worked so hard to keep. Syllabi’s will be harder to scan but possible. Having a feeder on your scanner sure helps. Just remember those scanned copies will last much longer than a paper copy. Your grandchildren’s children will be able to view them if done properly. You cant say that about paper copies. Love your blog. So jealous of your photographic abilities. :) thanks!!

  21. LauraLouise says:

    C’etait Berkvam, non? :) Qu’il me manque. Il faut que je lise quelquechose du feminisme…immediatement!

  22. Morocco says:

    Girl, and here I was thinking I was the ONLY one hanging onto old college AND high school papers! And I am a teacher who rarely references any of the paper clutter I have accumulated!

    You should frame your doodle.

    I’ve been purging, too.

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