I’ve recently gone through old papers and crafts, among other things, my mom kept for my sister and I from when we were children.

Though I’d cleaned out a lot when I moved out years ago, there were still toys, stuffed animals, a wedding dress, and more that needed to be sorted into keep, toss, and give away piles. My sister and I offered to do this. We both love to organize.

A lot was trash, such as cassettes and old, unimportant papers. The books and old projects seemed the most valuable to us, the items that made us pause.

I ended up with a few books, though my sister and I left some for our kids to read when they visit the grandparents in the future, and a tub of papers I needed and wanted to go through on my own.

I’m a sentimental person, so it was hard to decide what to keep of old crafts, worksheets, even report cards of the past. I have a couple tubs that contain what my daughter has done so far, and she’s only three. 

We’ve already gone through them once because they were getting full, trying to figure out what should be kept and what needed to be let go. It’s hard to know the difference.

It was fun going through my old projects and achievements with my daughter. She liked seeing the things I’d made, including short books with pictures I’d drawn that were unrecognizable. Thankfully, my mom wrote what the pictures were supposed to be next to them.

The fall seems to be a time of reflection. Maybe it’s that the days are shorter, the darkness forcing us to retreat from the busyness. My daughter and I spent an afternoon raking and bagging dead leaves that had fallen from our backyard tree. The leaves change into a beautiful yellow at this time every year. For some reason, this time it seemed to impress me more. The leaves we’d bagged could either be tossed or made into mulch. Though I’ve always wanted to create my own compost, I’ve never found the time.

I managed to organize and place all my old belongings into one Rubbermaid tub. Some pieces I did toss, and some I placed in our recycle bin at home to hopefully be made into more paper in the future. 

But the ones that I’ve kept, those that seemed important enough to let hang around, will be stored in my closet. One day I’ll go through them again, and maybe get rid of more. 

But for now, they’ll be there, on the top shelf, just out of reach, ready to be recognized whenever I decide to look up.


Justa Lanie Garrett is a lifelong resident of Baytown.

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