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Fitting my Life in a Suitcase

Updated on June 22, 2011

I admit it; I'm a packrat. I save every scrap of paper, every card, every receipt. My husband chides me, telling me I don't have to have all of this clutter. He throws most of it away for me after I agree that I don't have a real reason. I hang on to special cards, special photos, and things that have sentimental value.

He, on the other hand, went through a house fire in high school. He has no photos, no cards, nothing from his childhood. This has changed his view on what is materially important. He discards receipts, mail, and non-essential papers right away. If it doesn't have to be taken to the accountant or the doctor, or kept for insurance purposes, it gets tossed or recycled.

What my husband would choose

I know what would be in my husband's suitcase if we were homeless. Tax papers, work documentation, changes of clothing and shoes for work, his laptop, cell phone and our marriage certificate. He would also bring along soap, a portable sink, his shaving needs, shampoo and toothbrush. We would keep our cats, so their food and carriers would be in the truck, which belongs to his dad.

What I would choose

If we were out on the streets, probably living in our truck, I would bring my medicines and documentation from my doctor of my prescriptions, our wedding photos, my Bible, a few other pictures, three or four favorite toys from childhood, my cell phone, camera and laptop. To care for our cats, I would bring their vet records, leashes and harnesses, and collapsible bowls. Soap, a portable sink, my pocket camping stove and cookware, my toothbrush, shaver, shampoo, and feminine products would round out the list.

Looking at these lists, then at what is in my house, makes me wonder why I feel the need to collect everything. If I throw it all out today, what will I really miss? Maybe a few things, like a favorite cookbook or a CD that I listen to often. I would feel guilty if I gave away my collection of childhood toys that I'm saving to give to my future children. Practical things like dishes, silverware and clothing would have to stay.

But all these other things? These papers with scribbled notes? Receipts for things I've had so long I can't return them, nor would I wish to? Craft projects and other things I wish I had the time to work on?

I wouldn't miss them for more than a day.


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    • LondonGirl profile image


      9 years ago from London

      When we were clearing out my in-laws' house after they died, we found every single pay slip for my father in law from 1982, when they moved to the UK, and every single utility bill since 1990!

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      9 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Well, I am like your husband. I am the organized one but do not believe in keeping useless stuff.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      You sound like my partner - saves every bloody receipt! I throw it unless I need it for warranty or insurance or tax

    • futonfraggle profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub! I'm a packrat, too. I keep every birthday card, christmas card, receipts for items that can never be returned. Why? I have no idea. My husband is a lot like yours. Mine thinks I'm crazy


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