Home About Me Keep It in the Box

Keep It in the Box


**Next Slim Jackson Ustream live video chat/Q&A is scheduled for 2/2 at 10pm. Also, if you’re in NYC, come out to Turtle Bay NYC on the corner of 52nd and 2nd on 2/3 for happy hours from 9-12. Half off on all drinks if you say Slim Jackson at the door. I’ll be upstairs sipping something potent. Email slimjackson@live.com so I know you’re coming.**

That's what she said or pause. You pick.

I’m prone to small fits of hoarding at times. Granted, it never gets to the point of needing psychological help or 1-800-Junk to come and remove possums, decayed meow, and severely expired bison meat from my soon-to-be condemned home. In other words, there will be no A&E for me. Disclaimer aside, I find myself keeping receipts and papers as well as other miscellaneous items that I swear I’ll need one day. The good thing for me is that every few months, I go through rounds of cleaning to purge my life of clutter. Sometimes it’s inspired by tripping over a shoe or wire. Other times it’s sparked by the sight of a fly with the sole purpose of irritating me into accidentally slapping myself in the head.

While going through one of my cleaning sessions, I came across a box in my closet that’s traveled with me from apartment to apartment for the last 7 or so years. I’ve opened it on occasion, but only to add “extremely important stuff” to it.  I finally decided it was time to rid myself of the contents, but not until I had reviewed each item. Seriously, I’m not a chronic hoarder. I just like to keep things sometimes!

Anyway, I found a tape measure from college that I used at track meets to mark my runway approach in the long jump. I found pictures from freshman year about 30 lbs ago when I used to do dumb sh*t like wear doo-rags and long icy white tees. Then I picked up a couple notebooks that I had jotted rhymes and stories in over the years. And lastly, I found letters, cards, and pictures from (clothed for the most part) ex’s. You’d have thought someone was sitting nearby observing me clean and answering my obviously rhetorical questions with how many times I asked aloud “why do I still have this?”

See Also:  Things I Won't Do for the Boo

I’d hoped that asking myself would motivate me to get rid of the items from my previous failures and ultimately some of my greatest learning experiences. But despite how I felt about the person in the current, the desire to completely destroy any trace of evidence that these women ever existed in my life wasn’t there. In my mind, I liked having something positive to look back on from those relationships despite how tumultuous they may have been and on what terms they ended; well, all past relationships except “that one.”

One day, all of these items will have to go. Despite the fact I have no desire to pick up the pieces or relight the love candle with any of these women, I don’t want to forever run the risk of having that special somebody find the contents of my past while trying to clean out my closet because she’s tired of not having a place to put all her shoes. I’d rather just tell her what she needs to know at my discretion than give her pictures to go with my words. After all, some things are better left unsaid and undiscovered.

I don’t know when that final purge will happen, but when it does I know that I’ll be entering the next chapter of my life. Until then, happy hunting I guess.

See Also:  Moving with Memories...Except from Exes

Sporadically going through boxes and falling asleep afterwards,


  1. Maybe it’s just me, but the pictures are the first thing to go. Mainly b/c the first thing visitors snoop through are pictures. And I’m way too OCD to keep a few pictures separate from the rest.

    Plus, it helps prevent backsliding. (purely joking…I’m too clumsy to move backwards).

    Carry on. Going back to lurker status.

  2. Maybe it's just me, but the pictures are the first thing to go. Mainly b/c the first thing visitors snoop through are pictures. And I'm way too OCD to keep a few pictures separate from the rest.

    Plus, it helps prevent backsliding. (purely joking…I'm too clumsy to move backwards).

    Carry on. Going back to lurker status.

  3. Good Post~

    Can't erase anything that contributed to who you are today: The right woman knows this! Some items have tons of value (just not monetary)! Good memories are worth it! My items are in storage 🙂


  4. LOL at your innuendo. When you tweeted the link and I saw the title of this post I said to myself that it wasn't going to be what I thought and THEN told myself that it very well could be.

    Anyway, the only thing I hoard (right now) is birthday cards, programs from special occasions, etc. My oldest bday card dates back to when I was 7 and it contains a coupon for a book that I never used. I have them all in this crate type thing sitting atop my closet.

    I usually go on my cleaning splurge when I'm looking for something that I've hidden from myself for whatever reason.

    I might need to go on another one just b/c I'll be moving soon and I'd rather get rid of useless things NOW rather than later.

    Thanks for the motivation Slim

  5. I'm not good at keeping this. I throw away a lot of things. I can't even keep my clothes for that long without wanting to donate them. I can't stand extra stuff. I do try my best to "save' little memorabilia though just for reminders. I think it's our generation and move away from hoarding so many things.

    Just think about if you had to move, what it will take. That'll help you out.

  6. I'm not good at keeping stuff… But I have pictures of my ex… I like memories & experiences… Sometimes hard to let go, but definitely cherish

  7. there's no reason to keep pictures of ex's. Facebook does it for me. There are online albums and old profile pics that are evidence of what was once oh so good. I can be very detached sometimes so when I'm cleaning out my closet or phone its nothing to throw away pictures and delete pic messages (except for the good ones). It feels good to get rid of those old pics and memorabilia. I think tidying up is a ritual that creates new emotional space that I wouldn't have if I kept the old stuff around…i guess.

    By the way, the opening sentence had me laughing out loud. I am fascinated with 'Hoarders' and almost every single episode is exactly how you described. 'Strange Addiction' is another guilty pleasure…who the f*ck eats couch cushions and toilet paper?

  8. I would keep certain things only for the duration of the "relation". I made decisions on the spot as far as "Keep or Trash". And if I didn't see myself dying without it, then it was mostly Trashed. Hang it up and keep it moving. Memories stay with me. I don't need the physical objects. I've asked myself why I still kept certain sh*t. Hate asking it and I don't have an answer. So I do what I can to avoid it.

  9. If you have the space for it, I don’t see a reason to throw stuff out. You always end up missing things. And even if I don’t have space in my apt, I can throw it in my Mom’s basement for safe keeping.
    I got a box full of tax returns, pictures, comic books. Another full every notebook I have ever had from high school (I still have every test I ever took).

    facebook isn’t the same as having the actual picture. There is something about holding the memory in your hand that a computer cant generate.

  10. If you have the space for it, I don't see a reason to throw stuff out. You always end up missing things. And even if I don't have space in my apt, I can throw it in my Mom's basement for safe keeping.
    I got a box full of tax returns, pictures, comic books. Another full every notebook I have ever had from high school (I still have every test I ever took).

    facebook isn't the same as having the actual picture. There is something about holding the memory in your hand that a computer cant generate.

    1. What you described isn't that threatening though. What about pics of exes in inappropriate poses etc? Btw, I have a box filled with alot of the notes I used to pass around in highschool. It's funny to see how silly we were. I signed all my notes T-dogg…don't judge me. lol

  11. Eff that….I cut off 99.8 percent of people from my past. Especially if the fact that they are part of my past is THEIR doing, which has always been the case so far.

  12. It's funny you shared this because I just had a fight over this. I was cleaning out my man's closet (ok I was going through his things) and I found his box of memories that I had told him 5011 times to get rid of. I found the box like 7 years ago and it's filled with tons of pictures of ex-girlfriends including cards, dead flowers, etc. Now I understand you don't want to completely erase your past so may one pic of prom, a birthday etc is okay…I don't like any pics but I'm trying to be understanding. HOWEVER, these pics were of dusty broads on a dirty mattress, Treneice tonguing him down, Mya cuddled up with him in a thong bikini. WTF? He said that he hasn't opened the box in years (I could tell cause it was dusty) but I don't care. Get rid of it before I burn it's contents. lol no really. Like you said, at some point you'll have to get rid of it. He's 33 so there's no need for any "memories". He says I'm over-thinking it but there has to be a reason why he never got rid of the box. Okay I'm done venting.

    Don't let your current girlfriend find you memories. It will only lead to arguements. On the flip side, I do have photo albums with old boyfriends but it's an album filled with other pics so it doesn't count. 🙂

    1. SmartFoxGirl-
      That is why I don't go through my man's things. If you are looking hard enough you are bound to find something you don't like. LOL

    2. On the flip side, I do have photo albums with old boyfriends but it's an album filled with other pics so it doesn't count. 🙂

      #NoDisrespect I love you SFG but WHATEVA Hoe

  13. Wow, since I am nesting this is right on time Slim! Great post!

    I throw things away because I like to close all doors including the mental ones. Yes, I understand that my past helped in making me who I am, but so did everything I have had since I was born. IMO, things from past relationships should go because looking at the pictures only take you back down memory lane (I love Minnie Riperton).

    There will be enough songs and other items that will do this, so pictures aren't necessary for me. Plus, I can just imagine my SO finding that box…lol. I can imagine myself finding his box…yeah throw that away NOW.

    BTW, this does not apply to childhood and school memorabilia. This is for the future generations.

  14. Good post Slimuel. I'm not a hoarder, by any means… sometimes I think I have no emotional attachment to anything the way I just throw stuff away. However, there are things that I do have. The memories are fond… but I keep it under control by controlling the amount of stuff that I allow myself to keep. It's as if I have this much *opens hands* emotional (and physical – I limit that too) space for past happenings… and I have to decide what can stay and what has to go. So if I'm keeping items from boyfriend 2, then that stale flower boyfriend 4 gave me has to go.

    I see MilleAMillion below saying Fbook may be the way to go w/ pictures, but the only thing about that is I'm not attached to the person as they are today… but as they once were. & actually for me… pictures aren't it. I have letters (lots of letters), poems, blogs, birthday cards… the verbal sentiments are my emo kryptonite. Eventually, I'll open that shoe box and purge. Hmph, this post may have actually inspired me to do sooner rather than later.

  15. I'm laughing because I got rid of all of those dumb memory pictures but there was apparently one that I forgot about and it was stuck in the bottom of a dresser drawer and it was a young brother posing in the doorway of my first apartment in his calvin kleins underwear. It was a brief affair…he was cute but dumb. Well somehow, some way, hubby found it and left it on my dresser. I was like where in the HELL did this come from? Hubby says, "that's what I wanna know…who's that?" I said OMG, nobody important. I stuffed it into the dresser drawer — I should have thrown it away. Now it's a game between us. The Calvin Klein kid keeps popping up everywhere. He's been on the refrigerator, he's been in the bathroom, he's been in my sons bedroom, everyone has the same reaction, WHO IS THAT? Hubby says, "ask your mother!" It's the stupidest crap ever. He's still floating around the house somewhere. I think he's on the floor of a closet now. Next time I find him, I'm going to throw him out. I'm laughing as I write this.

    1. This is exactly why all pics have to go…lol. I know exactly what you are going through and no matter how innocent it may be…it will look bad.

  16. I used to keep a box of mementos. I don't know what happened to that box..but, I guess somewhere along the way I lost it. I kept that thing for years, too.

    When I keep things there is no emotion attached to it. I still wear the birthstone ring my ex-husband bought me over 10 yrs ago. It's a beautiful ring and I don't even think about that fact that he gave it to me.

    I think that if you are holding on to things that are keeping you from moving forward..then you may need to check that..but, there is nothing wrong with reminiscing back and keeping a few trinkets and pictures.

  17. I'm not an emotional type of gal my motto has been and will always be…….

    "Out with the Old — In with the New"

    That includes ole pics, cards, notes, letters, etc. HOWEVER I have kept jewelry for re-sale purposes.

  18. Most of what is in my momento box is things that only I know the meaning of. Nobody should be forced to throw out their momentos. But you should be respectful. Sexy pictures should go.

    I'm not a hoarder at all. But it's funny, I've never been big on taking pictures. I usually keep items that remind me of an event. Like I have no pictutes from the Prince concert I went to but I kept the tickets. I keep a black bandana I used to wear all the time back when all that gangsta ish was in style. I have a key chain with a photo of a cheerleader that liked me. Reminds me of how I was too dumb in high shcool to realize if a cheerleader gives you a key chain with her picture she likes you. ROFL

  19. I found that box too. I decided to keep it for now. When i'm married, i'll revisit. I don't keep things from exes that ended bad, but the ones where we are on good terms I do. Plus, it's good to be able to remember.

    Oh… but a man should have his place where he can KNOW for a fact, that this is his space. If your wife or girlfriend is going through "your personal space". Then she's snooping or she thinks she has eminent domain in your place. Every man should have a place where he's like, don't go in my ish, that's my ish.

  20. i have a lot of things from ex's past. i don't know why i have it because i hardly look at it. pictures, scrap books, cards, etc. i'm talking all the way back to college. once i move this time i'm throwing a lot of ish away.

  21. if they are hard copy momentos, I usually keep em. I have cards from years from family, bdays, when I crossed my sorority, etc so I keep those kind of things. I typically delete fb and online albums, emails, gchat convos though, stuff from out of my digital camera, etc. Depends on the circumstances. I actually have a box in the attic at my parents house with letters from my hs boyfriends, old journals, etc. In it I still have a note a guy wrote me in the 8th grade with a dried up flower inside. Its funny because we are twitter friends and homies still and I told him years ago I still had it. that was a fun convo! lol. I like to read thru the journals especially and see how far I've grown up, how I was feeling about certain things. nice nostalgia moments…

  22. I have a box full of momentos and more pictures of my ex than anyone else up in my house.

    It's never been an issue and the only way I see it becoming one is if someone tried to force me to get rid of it.

    Left to my own devices I'm sure I'll eventuall hide them away of my own accord but if it becomes a power struggle I'll keep them all prominently displayed and play the "you want me to get rid of pictures of my DEAD ex-boyfriend?!?" card.

  23. In the words of Erykah Badu…the goddess of soul, creativity, and sexiness (fan waves face)…whew….had a flashback of Window Seat

    …."Pack light"


    …."All you must hold onto….is you….is you…is youuuu oooohhh….oooh"

    "Cuz one day…all them bags….gon' get in your way"

    My mother keeps most of my memorabilia. When I wanna take a blast to the past, I retract into my hermit position and I time travel. When I need a physical transmission….I go home to where it all started. Other than that, I pack light. My intuition retains all the information I need to live and survive. My memory helps me to relive the moments at will.

    I will admit, that I hold on to most of my digital information. I have emails tracing back to like 2005; my mom has my letters from beyond that. I agree with Milie about the emotional space. I tend to get very attached when my heart recognizes true love (I experience stable emotions often); but my hermit instincts keep me detached (FREEDOM!!! FREEDOM!! FREE-DOME…ahem).

    I feel like material possessions keeps you grounded and down to earth, however….it's difficult to escape the illusions of the physical reality when you give so much value to the material things, rather than the feelings you have in relation to them. It would be like keeping a piece of chewed gum after you sucked the flavor out of it…only to attempt to chew it again 10 years later to try and re-experience what was obviously a temporary experience. <<Bad analogy? (shrugs)

  24. I think that part of the process of women getting over men is getting rid of everything they associate with that man. Including pictures an all that. With men though, since 9 times out of 10, the relationship ends on our accord we keep all that sort of stuff the way we keep our highlight tapes from when we were athletes in high school. Just to remind ourselves that we were, at one point, great.

  25. Interesting post. I actually have a box myself, filled with mostly letters from middle school. I use to have TWO boxes, the other was filled with pictures but I finally sat down and put those into a few photo albums last year. Anyway, all of my girlfriends except for two have tried their damndest to get rid of that box. The irony is not lost on me that the box – and the stuff inside – has outlasted all of those relationships. Like yourself, I’ve wondered if I would get rid of this “crap” when I get married or if she would make me. Honestly, I’m not even sure why I hold on to it. It seems innocent enough. I don’t even talk to anyone from middle school anymore lol so it’s not like I’m going to run off with one of these girls. Readings/viewing those letters/notes/pics reminds me of when life was simple. Most of it’s funny now because of how ignorant I was, in terms of life experience.

    I also have a couple journals from High School. I don’t plan on ever getting rid of those and I haven’t been asked to. Lots of women have tried to read them but that hasn’t happened either, yet. Maybe the wife will get that opportunity.

    But I doubt it.

    1. I forgot to mention that I keep all the "inappropriate" pictures and videos stashed between my email and old computer. Now those I'll eventually get rid of….I think.

      Speaking of which, are we suppose to give our wifes to be our email passwords? I'm not sure if I'm on board with that. I would defeinitely need to do some "house cleaning" beforehand. lol

      1. "Speaking of which, are we suppose to give our wifes to be our email passwords?"

        I wouldn't. My husband does not have mine, and if he asked I might feel some kind of way. I don't have anything to hide, it's more about principle. People should be able to have something to themselves. I wouldn't want his either.

      2. I have my husband's email password and he has mine. I'm pretty transparent. I never go in his things though, only if he asks me to pull something for him.

    2. sweet post wisdom. apparantly the honor of old journal reading is pretty significant with guys, huh? my last love not only handed over his high school and college journals without any prompting from me – i was clueless that most guys even kept journals – but was a little hurt when i didn't get the significance of the offering. we'd already shared our hopes and dreams and played the 'member-when game so i didn't see the point of reading what he'd already shared with me by voice – again, i'm blues clueless at times. a little late in the game, but i know see his showing me his journals, letters and old pics was a sweet move – maybe i shouldn't have clowned that j-curl look he was sporting with old girl in the polaroid 🙂

      1. apparantly the honor of old journal reading is pretty significant with guys, huh? I’m sure it depends on the dude. In my case, yes. There’s a lot of personal stuff in their and I didn’t write with the expectation that it would ever be read. I’ve read certain parts from it to different women but I’ve never outright given it to a woman for her to read on her own.

        It would also depend on the woman. The LAST thing I feel like dealing with is my girl/wife mad at me because of someone or something I wrote about umpteenth years ago before we even knew each other. Lol and don’t act like women won’t do that and hold a grudge because I had the audacity to ever love someone besides her, before her.

        1. oh yeah, my mouth tugged sideways a bit when i read through it, and downright twisted during the steamy parts – steamy meaning goofy moments dotted with young passion. perish the thought that he was even attracted to another female before me, let alone like/love her. i know – silly, immature, [psycho] but stil when you're caught up …

          i/we've laughed about it since then. he got me over some hidden insecurities – and i got him to admit that j-curls always have been and always will be a big negatory and rightfully laughed at by all who witness them.

  26. I keep a lot of stuff… All types of random items. I think its great to look back and see your own personal time capsules of your past. Sometimes you gotta clean and be done. I used to have these old PWI wrestling mags I LOVED as a kid. I THINK I threw em out, but even thinking now, I hope I didnt. The memories are priceless!


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