I recently had the opportunity to dig through lots of Stuff that wasn't mine. My parents recently moved, and I offered to help them unpack boxes as a way of pretending to help them, but really to take a break from my children. Ahem. Anyways, I was saying.
So much of what we own and save for the sake of saying really is junk. It's just old junky stuff that we can't bear to part with. BUT. It has memories. It has a story. It has a story that we recall each time we think of it and each time we touch it. The things that we save are the things that make us feel warm and good and loved.
I rescued from my mother's house the following: a thirty year old teddy bear that has a dimple from some scissors that, um, accidentally came in contact with her cheek and a bandaid where she has a hole. A stuffed bunny, a thing that might be called a mouse, but the seventies were a cruel, cruel decade for style and some needlepointed and embroidered pictures. The pictures were done by my mother and they hung in my childhood house as long as I can remember. They say "home" to me. They aren't hip or cool, and I don't know if they'll hang in my house. But each time I think of them or touch them, I will smile.
Now, if when I am old, my children were to come across such treasures from the hippest decade of the twentieth century, they would likely say, as I did to my mother this week more times than I can count, "UGH, MOM, WHY??? Why on earth did you keep this crap?" And I will tell them the story, like my mom did so many times this week. And then maybe, just maybe, they will smile when they see them, too.
I think oftentimes the story is far more valuable than the actual thing. The story is better than the ratty old baby bonnet with only one string. But you need the thing to remind you of the story. And so you should keep your stories.