Are you a “Let it go Lenny” or a “Hang on Hannah”…?

brit on beach

The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go ~ Steve Maraboli

As I have mentioned in past posts, my husband and I moved into a new home a few weeks ago.  As we are going through the mountains of boxes to decide what we will keep, what we will take to our property up north and what we will get rid of to simplify our lives… we sometimes struggle with what to keep and what to let go of.

My mom has always been a Hang On Hannah type person… she hung on to everything until she moved from her home into an apartment  twenty years ago (she then sent it all off to be packed away in her kids’ homes).  Subsequently, I have dragged around my grade school report cards, old Girl Scout manuals,  First Communion greeting cards and every other little (and big piece) of childhood memorabilia from one home to the next. Considering my husband and I are now on our fifth home since we were married twenty years ago, my boxes of stuff have travelled many miles throughout the years.  Interestingly enough, they have only been opened maybe once or twice in the last 20 years,  the times when a bit of nostalgia hits me when we were readying them up for the next move.  Once we got settled into a new home,  they were packed away deep into the recesses of closets or storage rooms for a few more years…

So now I am tasked with the big question once again … what do I hang on to and what do I let go of?   The things I struggle with the most are my childhood memorabilia… that old Girl Scout canteen that I took with me on every camping trip when I was a little girl… the lava lamp from the 60’s that my grandmother had in her house that I used to stand in front of… mesmerized by the ever-changing globs of “lava” as the lamp heated up..

I asked my 89 year old mom yesterday, “why do we hang on to all of this stuff…?” and her reply was simple… “memories…”.

Yes, memories for me but not the memories our children look fondly upon because they are not THEIR memories… the items  that are in those boxes are truly mine and mine alone…

So do I hang on to these objects and store the boxes away for my kids to go through after I am long gone from this earth or do I move forward… retaining the memories in my heart and letting go of the space-cluttering objects that have no meaning to anyone but me…?

I’ll let you know after I spend one more day going down memory lane reading each of the greeting cards that span the time from my birth through graduation(s)…,  opening my Girl Scout manuals to read notes in my childhood script…  and admiring all of my achievement badges while I sit under the soft glow of the orange lava lamp!

Are you a Let It Go Lenny or a Hang on Hannah?  Is there value in hanging on to the past?

4 thoughts on “Are you a “Let it go Lenny” or a “Hang on Hannah”…?

  1. I guess my last comment didn’t save from my phone 🙁 I will try to remember all that I said…. I know that I am a hang on Hannah. I am trying to get better, but I can really relate to what your mom said about the memories. My grandmother has decorative plates that she had displayed on a wall in all of the different houses she lived in. As a child, I remember seeing them hanging, and admiring them. I mentioned to her that if she ever decided to get rid of them, I would like them. When she downsized from a house to an apartment, she gave me a couple of them – and I now have them displayed in my kitchen. As you go through your items, you have memories of them. However, before you get rid of them, you may want to run some of them by your children, to be sure they don’t have any interest in them. Maybe not the cards – but… that canteen? To you, it is memories of being a girl scout & camping – to your daughter, it may be a symbol of your dedication or strength. That lava lamp? To you, it is the memory of your grandmother, but to your son, it may be a symbol of your free spirit. 🙂

    1. Amy, thanks for the comment and the great idea to run them by my kids… so true that they may have (and most likely do) have a very different perspective. I generally am a “Let It Go Lenny” because I don’t hang onto the past much but there are some childhood memories that I really struggle with and some I know for sure I will never part with until I leave this earth (my great grandmother’s oil lamp, my mom’s wedding ring set, the little decoupage bottle that my dad made when he was in grade school… and the Christmas ornaments that my mom displayed on our tree and the antique shelf in our kitchen when I was little (which I also will keep). Those are the few things that I do want to keep because I feel good when I look at them and they are not the things packed away and forgotten until it is time to move again…

  2. Hi Pat! Your blogs are always enjoyable and thought provoking. This one really hit me as I think of the boxes of stuff I have and the thought of Tammy having to sort through them one day. I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff (I do not really have to keep Dixie’s wedding alblum from her first marriage!) Most of the stuff I still have are things like a box of sympathy cards received for Mom, Dad and Steve, Moms bible, etc. I have kept that type of things but most of the rest islong gone cause you are right – memories are always in your heart.

    1. Thanks for the comment Diane! It is a very difficult thing to decide what goes and what stays… I am sure I still have all of the sympathy cards when Dad died which was 24 years ago too. I like the idea my friend shared with me last night… take a photo of those things that are special memories and then get rid of the physical one!

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