When I was a teenager, I started saving store receipts. I saved the receipts of music CDs I bought, video games, movies, or events I attended. To me it was just like saving a movie stub from the theater; it was a souvenir.
Receipts don’t take up much space, and I could look at one and see the exact date and time that I purchased something. Now for something like a music CD this can be invaluable. As you get older and your memory fades, you can look at something like that and it could help you remember a particular time in your life.
When I started decluttering I came across the little box I had saved all my receipts in. I took them out of the container and started looking at the oldest ones first, the receipts of music CDs I had purchased when I was 14-15 years old. It made me smile briefly as I got farther and farther into the “future” through the dates and times, as I started remembering the events and times with my friends.
Then, I realized this was silly. I know our memory degrades over time, but mine wasn’t that bad (yet). Plus, keeping these receipts was simply more clutter to have around my house. They were completely unnecessary in my life!
I saved four major receipts from the whole stack and filed them away in a photo album. I tore the rest of them up and put them in the trash- these things I had held onto for almost 20 years.
What I realized was that these were important to me at one time in my life, but that time was past. I wasn’t living in the past, but I don’t need to vacation there either.