Fitting my Life in a Suitcase
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.