By Mari-An Santos


One of our household traditions is to clean out the closets at least twice a year. This not only means taking out clothes that no longer fit us (whether it’s for the happy reason that one lost weight or the undesirable horror that one has gained so much), but also getting rid of scuffed shoes, peeling bags, unused cosmetics, and old magazines. We pile them in boxes, bring them out to the corridor, and whisked away to people who my parents think might need them.

The exercise is always cathartic. Going through pairs of jeans that used to fit snugly brings back memories of gimmicks with friends during more carefree times. Discarding old magazines elicits laughter over former crushes and fashion trends in the dusty, faded pages. Fishing out old receipts or photos and other memorabilia from the corners of boxes or at the bottom of bags is always nostalgic.

It feels like cobwebs are being cleared not only in my room, but also in the attic of my brain. Though not completely forgotten, things that remind us of the past, distant or not so distant they may be, bring about a wave of emotions.

In the process, we make room for new clothes and new magazines, and more space for our things to “breathe.” Unloading boxes full of memories does not diminish or erase the experiences related to them. In truth, they are made richer than if they had simply been left inside boxes unopened, fading away with time, and crumbling over age.