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Mom Downsizes Her Memories

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Guest Blogger Rebecca Feuer: When I decided to leave my big house in a small suburb and move to a small apartment in a big city, I knew it would be tough. I'd be trading in 4,000 square feet for 1,000, with no basement, garage or guest room. Letting things go was daunting, but strangely invigorating.

I gave each of my two children a 12" x 12" x 10" box for their treasured possessions. The boxes sat empty for close to a month, save for the Selena Gomez picture in my daughter's and my son's Derek Jeter bobblehead.

When I asked my kids why their boxes were so empty, they looked at me blankly. Did they want to take anything to the new apartment, other than their Wii's and iPods? I asked. Nothing. They are attached to the present, not the past.

I went into the basement and sorted out what should stay and what should go. I discovered my son's first painting from preschool and my daughter's first attempt at the letter A. I found Beanie Babies and toys from cereal boxes. I saw my daughter's first tutu and the bloodstained shirt that had cleaned my son's mouth when he lost his first tooth. What was the value of each piece of memorabilia? To me, each stain and crumpled paper was a physical memory of raising these two wonderful children. However, enough was enough.

I began to think that perhaps, as a mother, hoarding physical memories was part of my job. I was keeping everything with no plan for what to do with them in the future. As I sorted, I realized that with each report card or piece of artwork, the feeling was always the same: a mix of love, pride and wondering if these kids would ever be able to draw or write. The physical memories truly held less weight than the emotional ones.

I decided to take out the digital camera, photograph everything and then toss most of it. I now have a camera with 1,200 pictures -- which I bet will stay there until I move again. Instead of filling plastic bins, I will now fill digital memory cards.

It has been eight weeks, and I still can't fit everything into the new apartment. Thankfully, garbage pickup is twice a week.

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