But surely not the stuffies? Not the well-loved ones, with their bald patches and button eyes, all smelling vaguely of saliva and dust? They have to stay.
The older a thing is, the harder it is to lose.
Stuff from the 90s is easier to part with. The Soul Asylum cassette I bought when I was 13 because I heard some "cool" girls discussing the song "The Sun Maid" -- this can go. Also easy to leave behind is the double cassette version of Smashing Pumpkin's mid-90s epic Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I can hold the memory of listening to "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" over and over again in my closet in the dark, rewinding obsessively between plays without a physical reminder.
But what this purge has shown me is what a magpie I used to be. Once upon a time, I kept everything. It all seemed so necessary. And that hoarding tendency seeped into my relationships and my work. I couldn't let go. I was afraid of loss.
Some talismans will stay: My great grandmother's pink marble egg; my collection of 1967 centennial pennies (an early indication of my love of birds); my wedding ring, which was my grandmother's and her mother's before her, my bronze cross, the strange little velvet sombrero Patty brought me from Mexico when we were six.