Four hours and 46 minutes. That's how long it took me to divide a lifetime of memories between three small boxes and three very big rubbish bags.
I'm moving out of home. I have before but that was to travel and there was always a return ticket straight back to my comfy, familiar bedroom at some point. This feels more 'adult', more 'definitive', more like my bedroom may or may not be a bedroom the moment I move out, as my parents shift gear into phase two of life ft. no children in the family home (bike room anyone?). My drawers are empty, my bedside table is bare, my desk and shelves will soon be donated - a few clothes and books are all that remain.
I've been in this bedroom since I was five. It's gone through multiple makeovers. From white walls with fairy images and glow in the dark stars; to an ocean blue with seahorse wall-paper and tween posters of tween crushes; to a very sophisticated beige and brown for the latter years.
I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder, but I'm definitely not one to throw things away easily. I'm the friend who loves a photo montage. Cue slideshow with reminiscent music here.
I'm a selective hoarder. I like looking back on the little things - a book, a report card, an old gift, the dress from my 16th birthday party - each a small, intimate piece of the puzzle that's shaped the person I am now. I'm of the belief that the objects in your room can be one of the truest reflections of you, your personality - both past and present. Of course there are some possessions that have greater significance than others, but most have a unique ability to evoke a level of emotion.
My journal from when I was 15 reminded me of the laughs, the personal jokes, the dramas, the boys, the shopping, the life of a 15-year-old (and my terrible, terrible spelling). A thesaurus Mrs Lambert told me to buy in Year 3 is something I've decided I just can't part with as it is one of the earliest reminders of my studious self. Though clearly I didn't think too deeply into the thesaurus purchase at age eight, as it's also graffitied with 'Jackson 5 is so cool' in glitter pen.
I found birthday cards, Christmas cards, notes passed across a classroom. I read musings written by friends I haven't spoken to in years, but whose friendship is forever solidified, forever recalled through words on paper.
And then, there are the photos. The digital age never replacing the nostalgia produced by physically holding a photograph, staring longingly into the heart of a landscape you once admired, the eyes of the 16-year-old you once were (embrace those braces baby), the polkadot pants your mother used to dress you in.
I'm currently reading a book exploring themes of memories, love, home and family. Perhaps this is why I felt particularly sentimental as I seemingly performed my own personal rendition of This is Your Life right here in the bedroom. I wish that wasn't an exaggeration.
The first 24 years of my life are now stowed away in boxes in the attic, next to my brother's photos, our parent's photos, and some of their parent's photos. Three generations of memories gaining dust by the day, but none ever truly forgotten. Each box, each photo, each object a trigger to the past. A forever time-machine.
After four hours and 46 minutes I can't decide how I feel. I keep going to write and then re-write a profound statement on how it's good to get rid of the old, and in with the new. The next chapter begins now. Insert cliche here. But instead, I'm just content. I smiled, I laughed out loud, I remain concerned about how long some of my 90s glitter make-up had been leaking in the back of my cupboard for. Exploring the past made me happy and it did so because each little object we own represents a story of where we've been; some need to go, some definitely need to go, but a few - and there's always a few - will likely join us no matter where we are. And personally, I think that's kinda great.