Emotional Baggage-Please Advise


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Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
Emotional baggage, I need to unload, this is a good place for it.

A long time ago I lived in south Georgia on the Florida frontier. We'd go to the beaches around Jacksonville a lot, as a result. This was like 1980 or something and I was a huge Jimmy Buffet fan, a parrot head. A1A was (and is) my favorite Buffet album and Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season has sorta been a lifelong process for me. I totally identified with the song, the sentiments and bhah blah blah

So I became enamoured with the eponymous highway, A1A which I drove all the way down the coast to Key West (the parts of it that are left, anyway)...

So like, I resolved to steal an A1A highway sign. And I did. Sounds easy but in reality, its not so easy to steal a sign next to a busy road like that, even at night. Particularly when you're drunk.

So I did it in stages, in between cars... shinny up the sign pole, loosen the bolts, get it all ready to go so I could knock it off the bolts, pick it up, toss it in the back of the truck and get the faq out of there!

So I in 3 or 4 quick dashes I removed the nuts from the two bolts holding the sign to the pole. All I had to do was knock the sign down.

As I shinnied back down from taking the last nut off? The pole jiggled enough that the faqing sign fell off the pole... and hit me square on top the head! Like, on the bottom edge of the sign, not broadside, more like a blade. Faqing sign cut the faq out of my scalp, blood everywhere hahahahahahaha!

So there I am with a bloody A1A sign, by buddies are howling at me and more cars were coming. Me and the sign ended up in the back of the truck. I eventually stopped bleeding and we, like, made our way home.

I had my A1A sign, and I gave blood for it. I have a scar on the top of me head, to this day, as a result.

So I ended up storing the sign in the basement of a house where I rented a room from a good friend of my brother's. When I moved out I sorta forgot about the sign. Faq! There it sat, in the basement.

Maybe 2-3 years passed and I saw the guy, Mark, the owner, at the store.

"Hey Mark, how about I come over and get my sign?"

"What sign."

"Why the A1A sign I left in your basement."

"Oh THAT! I threw that thing away like a couple of days after you moved out."


I was crushed by that sign all over again. My own fault both times, too.


Don't throw out your A1A signs, is all I can say. All I have left of mine is this scar on the top of my head, and a (lame assed) story.

There, I feel better now.



Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
Dear Mrs. E,

I know I'm a packrat, and I accept it. But as I long ago passed 50 and am crawling towards 60, I am SO GLAD I have a bunch of stuff -- the exact kind of stuff you are describing -- still around. My mom has been curating most of it. It's so much fun to read a note you wrote to the tooth fairy when you were 4 ("Dear, Tooth Fairy, my tooth fell out but I lost it so now I don't have it but can I have 25 cents anyway? Love, Bobby.") Apparently 25 cents was the going rate for a tooth in 1961.

If there is no big rush to toss stuff, then take your time. Because tossing it is an utterly irreversable decision. I already know that my kids want my old drawings and notes cards and scribbles and other autobigraphical ephemera, but that passing of the baton is still decades away. My Mom only hung on to the good stuff, so there's not too much to weed out. Don't you have an attic or crawlspace or some rafters where you can just stick the stuff and forget it?

My High School report cards just KILL my daughter. D's, C's, and F's with a couple of A+'s (English, Social Studies.) Of course I was climbing 5.11 by then so f*#k 'em!

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
have you asked Tony?

before you do, calculate the actual cubic feet of space this material occupies

re-arrange it so that it occupies less

then post the number here

don't ask locker

once the number is determined, then the solution will appear

John M

Jan 24, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
My 10 box theory.

Goal.. reduce to 4 boxes.

Take one box a week and go through it. Keep examples, but throw out the Majority with the goal of reducing to 4 boxes. Whatever the local museums want, give them.

Once you are down to 4 boxes, you start keeping again. When you get back to 10 boxes. you start the process again.

Or.. do like my uncle and keep everything. aaaack.. some cool stuff, but do I really need to see all 400 pieces of kindergarten art? Keep one or two and toss the rest. If some day they are worth money, well, thats the way it goes. It means you became famous and are probably dead so you wont benefit from it anyway. Are you really keeping stuff so that if you become famous someone else will have some piece of you? come on. Dump it.

Social climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
I'm the opposite-- I have almost nothing from when I was a kid and our kids' stuff generally goes right in the trash once they move on to the next project. I hate boxes of stuff I don't use.

But anyway, there are companies that will scan stuff. You might try a legal documents service- they are used to dealing with large quantities (as opposed to something like kinkos) and may give you a deal if you tell them there is no rush.

Social climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Keep it. Honestly. Photos of pieces of art are kinda lame when you look through em later, especially on a screen/monitor. Being able to hold something in your hand, years later, can be a true treasue. And think of the generations who will follow.

But it's good to have a record of what there is before you store it all in a box and (inevitably) forget.

A flatbed scanner and some time can help (Vuescan is good, basic scanning software with many options on size/quality of image etc, works with almost any scanner you can lay hands on etc).

For bulk scanning, scancafe is about the cheapest. They send originals to India, so it's slow (3 months or so) but they seem to do a good job of keeping track, not losing anything (My wife's scanned many hundreds of images, maybe ten separate batches, mostly sides, many old prints, too, not one image lost). I've started sending slides to them, too (I'm picky and don't always care for their color correction on old, faded, climbing slides, so go for their premium service, costs a bit more. Old family pics you should get fine results with the basic service.

Scancafe specializes in slides but also scan photos and negatives.

Wade Icey

Trad climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
lose the clothes
strike the match

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
"Emotional Baggage-Please Advise"

I know someone you could ask...


I'm not the someone you should ask, but IMO,
you should keep it.
Once history is discarded or destroyed, it's hard to recover.
Then history could be subjected to rewriting which isn't always accurate.

But then, a huge Bonfire is cool to stand around.


Jan 24, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
scan cafe will scan photos for you:

I'd keep the art or try to sell it. I have a big flat file that I bought off of craigs list that holds current projects, the art archives, and my watercolor paper.

Lake Tahoe
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
Have you every looked at any of it in the last year or two? If yes then keep it. If no then do you plan on giving it to someone who will look at it once or twice? If yes then keep it. If no then will throwing it out give you more guilt than ignoring it? Because you ignore it as if it's not there and you should feel bad about that. It's important.

Really, it's just stuff. A lot of unused stuff makes you a hoarder. Use it or get rid of it.


P.S. I have no idea what they call someone with an excessive amount of stuff that all gets used. Maybe a workaholic or something worse.

Social climber
Jan 24, 2013 - 03:36pm PT
And think of the generations who will follow.

Micronut - there are none of these. We are both only children without children.

I'm in Rectorsquid's camp on this one for the most part; if you don't use it or look at it occasionally, then is is emotional baggage.

I did a purge a few years back, and my only regret was not scanning the pictures, YMMV.

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Jan 24, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
EB #1: Photographs (the easier problem): Dear 'ol Grandma passed a couple years ago leaving me with like 10 boxes of family photos dating back to the 1800's. There's only so much you can put in albums and space is limited.

EB #2: The bigger problem. Artwork.. lots of it. Kindergarten through college. Scanning larger stuff seems like a pain. I started just photographing it, but it's time-consuming and a PIA. Throwing away originals afterwards seems kinda dirty and wrong but who really wants my kid-art? Now that I'm a world renown stained glass artist this crap could be worth bucks when I croak BTW ;)

If you have attic, basement or garage space that you don't need for anything else, just keep it.

Whatever you throw out, photograph it first. Digital photos don't take any room to store.

Stuff that doesn't have any meaning to you know, might mean more to you some years from now.

A pile of dirt.
Jan 24, 2013 - 04:18pm PT

Not sure on the art, but for photos, if you don't mind throwing $ at the problem, you can get slides, negs, and prints scanned. Try scancafe.com

I'd still keep a few beat up old photos though...They've got more character.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 24, 2013 - 04:48pm PT
Scan the photos, including the backs with notes on who is who.
If they are like the ones at my mom's house, many are in frames and it will take some time to get them out, scan and back in.
Send copies to grandma's descendants on USB flash drives.
Keep a few, offer the rest to descendants, toss the remainder.

Your old artwork - photograph the highlights and hopefully you will get into a mood to toss most of it afterwards.

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
Jan 24, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
Scancafe does a good job. You can probably also find local services. An inexpensive scanner does a good job on black and white prints.

To photograph the artwork, you'd want to mount the camera above a flat table, make sure the lens is really flat, and set up very even lighting. You'll probably be too close to get good results with on-camera lighting. With a little care, I've gotten good results photographing my sister's paintings for her (she wanted to make full-size prints). You could rent a good camera and lens from BorrowLenses.com, or someone similar, for a few days, plus some lights, and crank through it.

My house burned down last month, and we thought we'd lost all pre-digital photos. I was feeling very happy that I'd scanned a bunch of photos from my father's childhood and years in WWII and the Korean War, to share with family. We just discovered that my wife's photos of her ancestors hadn't been with the rest of the photos, and they survived. She'd been pretty upset about it. She hadn't looked at them in years, but she felt she'd lost one of her remaining ties with the past. I'd strongly urge you to scan any photos that mean a lot to you.


Jim Henson's Basement
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 24, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
Well, food for thought. It's true.. once you toss it.. you can never get it back. I just don't need to keep every frikin' scrap of paper.

With the photos... A company like Scancafe sounds like the ticket. Thanks for the suggestion. I was sure there were probably companies out there that did that.

Like I said.. I had intended to keep some of the b&w and a few good pics of immediate relatives and probably pawn the rest off on the cousins. My mother informs me there are MORE pictures in albums at her house that will invariably end up at my house at some point BTW. Meh...

The artwork is harder. Whittle it down. Dedicate a weekend to photographing everything. (sounds excruciating). Keep some.

Maybe start mailing the really bad art to Super Topo members who misbehave as punishment or give it to Neebee to decoupage her new shed with.

PS I actually created a joke Etsy shop called "BuyMyEmotionalBagage" to sell off the antiques and vintage clothing. The shop got more hits and sales than my real shop LOL.
A la Tony... Everything but the artwork sold.

@John.. I'm being totally facetious about any value my crappy kid art might hold BTW.

@Frank pg 1.. the Kansas relatives.. German. Last name Fikan

@Dingus.. yup.. I've got a couple highway signs sitting in my garage as we speak. Want one? We can just spray paint "A1A" on it and you can pretend.


Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 24, 2013 - 08:42pm PT
For the photo scans you really care about, create an Amazon Web Services account and throw them in an S3 bucket (first year up to 5GB is free, stupid cheap after that) so that when the optical media the scan company sends back eventually goes bad you won't loose them.


Jim Henson's Basement
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 24, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
I'll check that out Frood. This is all new to me so I'm compiling ideas to work with.

Just had to share the only two Grandma paintings I kept. These were the only ones that seemed totally unique.. a break from the bowls of fruit and bad landscape paintings ...sorry Gramma.. they were really bad :(

With this one she won a contest to get your artwork on a greeting card:

Credit: justthemaid

and this one.. her only figural and piece de resistance...

wait for it.....

Victorian boudoir-Barbie on a chamber pot LOL

Credit: justthemaid

when I was a little kid I couldn't for the life of me figure out why that girl was sitting on giant eggs LOL.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 24, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
jtm... thanks but you know, its just not the same?

I BLED for that sign!

Could sold it to those two picker dudes....


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 25, 2013 - 12:06am PT
You are really lucky to have photos with notes on them. A distant cousin and I once spent one whole summer scanning, emailing, and trying to identify various old photographs that his grandmother had put in a box unlabeled. If you get them scanned now, you can always work on the scrapbooks (digital preferably) sometime in the future. You can also take some of the best ones and share them with the world on Find a Grave or Ancestry.com sites.
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