Here are my helpful hints about how to NOT do this effectively:
- Do not open the box containing the letters and cards from your very first boyfriend. Do not sit on the bedroom floor re-reading all of those letters and sighing over the pictures of the two of you both looking oh-so-young. Do not google his name to see how he is doing now (he is just fine and living in Colorado).
- Do not open the scrapbook assembled to cover your cheerleading years, wondering at the "I'm an INDIVIDUAL, dang it!" spelling of your name on your cheerleading sweater. The spelling that surely made your Mother wonder what the heck was going on and why the name that they blessed you with at birth wasn't good enough for you. Do not read all of the newspaper accounts of the games that your team lost during your senior year. Also do not google the names of the members of your cheerleading squad to see how they are doing now (one lives in Hawaii, one in London (and she has never married), one died of cancer, one lives in Florida and is a gym teacher, the last one I couldn't find)
- Do not open the folder containing your son's kindergarten "composition notebooks". You know the ones. The ones where they drew a picture and the teachers and aides helped them write a few words (phonetically) to describe it. Do not read through these notebooks page by page.
- Do not buy three boxes of snack sized zip locks and go through your MILs jewelry sorting it into sets of matching earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Well, actually do this but don't decide to keep an entire jewelry chest of it...the kind that is four feet tall and free standing and that causes your husband to say, "You are not seriously buying THAT and putting it in our bedroom!" In my defense, I am wearing many of the art deco and other vintage pieces that she had collected.
- Do not go through your theater scrap books. Do not read every preview and review and especially do NOT read every card from other cast members and decide that you cannot recycle any of them. Do NOT google the director's name to find out what ever became of him and find that he is doing well in New York theater circles - because, in your opinion, he "just wasn't that good".
- Do not move the boxes that you don't get to into your son's largely unused closet because you will never get to them now.