Getting Rid of Things Doesn’t Mean Getting Rid of Memories


When daylight savings time hits I get the urge to do some spring cleaning. This year, I looked at all the old diaper boxes we saved and filled with clothes that our daughter had outgrown and I decided it was time to clean them out. Why should all those beautiful clothes–that weren’t even close to being worn out–just sit in boxes? I figured I would take a couple boxes out each night after bedtime and start sorting them to sell. I thought it was the perfect plan to get a little extra cash for a summer sport/dance or the new swing set we had our eye on. Oh how naïve I was!

pink and red baby clothes draped over a box

It started out okay, I swear.

I opened the first box and had a big bin ready next to me for all the items I’d sort to sell. I was pretty excited to get this stuff organized and as I pulled each piece out to look for stains or holes I reminisced about all the playgrounds and places these clothes went. I gingerly placed all the shorts and skirts in a pile, pants in another, bodysuits in another… my excitement soon turned into a sense of mourning. Before I knew it, tears were running down my face and the dog was putting her head on my shoulder. Why was this making me so sad?

Was I giving up on a different dream?

Our daughter is three and we have always planned on having another child if we are able. Those cards haven’t been in the works for us, but we always have had hope that when the time is right, we will have that blessing. Somehow, with finally going through these boxes of outgrown clothes, it felt like I was giving up on the dream of adding to our family. That guilt then doubled when I thought that I was selfish for not being happy with the family we already have. It was a vicious rabbit hole that I wasn’t getting out of anytime soon and probably an argument within myself that I had neglected to address for some time. BUT I have come to the healthy conclusion that getting rid of things and clothes doesn’t mean I’m giving up on anything except the unnecessary clutter. This I am 100% sure of!

Wipe those tears mama, feelings mean that memories were made!

You see, I have touched these clothes so many times. When I first put them in my daughters’ room, the first time I put her in them, the times I had to wash them after playing at the park, the times I had to wash them after she rolled in the grass or spilled her dinner… these clothes were made from memories. I have pictures to prove all the places these clothes have gone. Even so, there in the bin was the Easter dress that gave her a heat rash, the rain boots she demanded she sleep in for a week, and the footy pajamas she hated because “it’s too fit mama”, which meant she thought they were too tight on her feet. All these memories flooded me with emotion, creating tears that could float an ark, and you know what? I’m so happy they did.

Pink rain boots

I need to take the time to slow down from the race of life and realize that, occasionally, it will take an old box of clothing to make me remember. Maybe you do too? Let’s make a pact. Mama, remember all you do for your babies, don’t be too eager for anything change, and give yourself some grace to feel all the emotions.

If you are wondering, yes, I got rid of the clothes. There will be many more boxes of clothes alongside our adventures and I’m sure there will be many more unexpected tears over moments of nostalgia while getting rid of things in the future. I look forward to these moments because they give me a reason to pause, be thankful for good times, and try to take my own advice to wipe those tears, this means great memories were made!