I'm a complex combination of packrat and not-a-packrat. I hate clutter and love shelves and organizational systems. If everything has a place to go when it is not in use, then I'm happy, even if there's a lot of it and it is not always in it's place. On the other hand, I've grown ever fonder of the idea of a small house with very little stuff in it. Back to the first hand, I habitually save stuff. Doesn't make much sense, I know.
I'm good at purging stuff that has outlived its usefulness, like clothes and shoes and out of date decor, etc, but memorabilia, specifically anything that has a connection to a certain moment or a relationship, is really difficult for me to give up.
This morning, I had some time and got to work on my routine email purge. I save a lot of it because I have a computer with a huge hard drive and it doesn't really take up that much space. It just looks scary to have a 4 digit number of messages hanging around. As I filtered out the true junk mail and then got down to the personal emails from human beings I actually know, an interesting pattern emerged. It was a kind of journal. Each message brought back a particular memory, surprised me by causing me to realize how short my memory is (I thought that happened in 06, not 05...) and formed a sort of narrative of my life. I think what I am going to do now is, when I sort and file my emails, I'm going to have a folder for "journal" emails that pinpoint a place in time or offer insight into an event or emotion. My story is not big or exciting or made up of dramatic events, it is a million little things. Here is one more way to record some of them.