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A year's worth of junk

Something about a new year is invigorating, much like a new purse. When you get a new purse, you look at all the storage pockets inside and imagine that this purse will not turn into a disorganized mess of diapers, lipstick, loose Cheerios, or a limbo for random scraps of paper. It's like a New Year's resolution to be more organized. Hearing my friends discuss their New Year's resolutions makes me want to take out all my old purses, the ones stuffed full of gum wrapped in coupons, and clean them out.

I try to do this periodically, but here we are at the new year, so I'm taking out my purses. In my favorite Coach tote, I find a million Target Catalina coupons that I had every intention of using, a Clinique lipstick and gloss duo that is pretty nifty (gift with purchase?), a pair of stockings that I had given up for gone, my stretchy ring that I knew was somewhere, Star Wars band aids, prenatal vitamins and "Preggie Pop Drops," and gum. In another purse I found my knock off Ray Bans that makeme look like a Cullen, my husband's sunglasses that I swore I didn't have (I'll have to sneak those in a drawer of his), and for some unknown reason a handful of quarters (I never have cash, so why would I have quarters?). Next to my laptop is an array of junk: store coupons ("spend $50 and get $20 off!"), wrinkled fruit snacks, pencil toppers, gift with purchase mascaras, pens, and gum-- loose, in wrappers, and packaged. My husband just walked by and laughed at the sight of me sitting on the floor with my purses, the laptop, and junk.

30 weeks pregnant with C and O
North Carolina March 2011
As a quasi-hoarder, I feel the need to defend my junk. We got the pencil toppers at the fair, D running from tent to tent excited to get all the free "toys" (pencil toppers in the shape of school buses). I can still see him bobbing up to me, "Momma! Look! A school bus! How cool!" All my bags were full of "Preggie Pop Drops" when I was pregnant with C and O. I felt horrible and those little drops helped with my nausea. Fruit snacks to bribe D at all the doctor's appointments, my pregnancy appointments and C and O's newborn check-ups. A friend of mine brought me into this store 77 kids by American Eagle, a gal at the front handing out store coupons. My girlfriend and I idly chatting as we pushed our strollers through the clothing racks, watching D bounce around the kids play area they have set up. And here is a card I wrote to a girlfriend. I was going her way and planned on getting her address to drop it in the mail and forgot...

This is my favorite Coach tote and it is sitting in my closet bogged down by my memories, junk that only has meaning to me. "Preggie Pop Drops," once so important I kept them in every bag, every jacket pocket, my husband running into baby boutiques to buy me another stash, now nothing more than hard candy getting soft and chewy around the edges. Faded receipts heavy with my memories of a day spent with a friend fading into waxy, illegible scraps of paper. These objects defined me last year. I spent hours at the mall, trying to make friends, walking with my kids, inventing errands just to have something on my agenda besides a doctor's appointment ("Honestly, he doesn't have Sheep in a Jeep. I must go by Barnes and Noble later..."). These are just things, but I remember those old feelings when I look at them. I remember being at home on modified bed rest wishing I could just jump up, take a long walk, pop on over to a girlfriend's house, or clean my apartment from floor to ceiling. I remember six long months of nausea. I remember when all our extra hands went home after the babies were born and it was just me home with these two infants and a two and a half year old; oh, I was excited to see my husband home after a long day!

I'm throwing out the receipts and coupons, as well as the candy and drops. I've sorted out the press-on tattoos, pack of travel Kleenex, jewelry, pens, and toys; these I will keep. My purse will undoubtedly fill up again next year and I will again have to sort through what I wish to keep and what I wish to throw away. Over the course of year, that seems expected.

Dilbert by Scott Adams ©2011 United Feature Syndicate,Inc Published January 1st, 2011 at


Lindsay said…
What a wonderful blog post!! I can definitely relate. :) I actually used one of my bags recently after just using the diaper bag for so many months. Inside I found 2 jumbo-sized bottles of Tums & a half empty box of Pepcid, from the end of my pregnancy. How those items could make me nostalgic, I don't know - but they did. Anyway, I live reading your blog!! :)
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