I’m in cleaning mode right now. For the past four plus years my husband and I have been “downsizing.” It involves a lot of throwing away and giving away. I have to find new homes for a lot of my books (groan). My houseplants are also being downsized and repotted.

While going through a boxes of possessions the other day, I found my wildflower collection. I had pressed and dried wildflowers from the home where I grew up. They are glued and labeled in a notebook. I collected these flowers in the year — well, let’s just say it was during my teen years. The flowers are crumbling, but a little of the color remains.

I probably should throw it away. But it feels like I’m throwing away a part of myself from long ago.

Did you ever have a rock collection? Most young children I know are fascinated by rocks. They pick up a few wherever they walk.

I have a couple of containers marked “rock collection.”  The rocks in one container are different shapes and colors. I’m not sure where and when I collected them. They may be rocks collected by my kids when they were young. These may have to go.

In the other container marked “rock collection” are rocks from a summer vacation I spent with my grandparents in Rhode Island when I was eight years old. Some of the rocks are granite. Some are pink. Some sparkle. I picked them up along the seashore that summer. They remind me of my grandparents and my special time with them.

I have seashells I collected that  summer. My collection would never win a prize, but I treasure it.

I also collect dust bunnies under the bed and junk mail on the table. But they have no sentimental or practical value, so they will be discarded.

I have learned through the years that you can’t keep everything. You have to decide what is most important to keep. You sell, give away, or throw away the rest. You have to let go in order to move forward.

What we have and what we treasure say a lot about us. They explain who we are and where we’ve been. What I treasure may be meaningless to another person.

To be honest, we don’t need so much stuff. And it won’t be fair to leave it for our kids to clean up. But it’s hard to let go.

In the fourteenth chapter of John in the Bible, Jesus promises that He is preparing a dwelling place for His followers. I won’t take any of my possessions to heaven. I won’t need them. So I’ll keep downsizing.