The memory box
The memory box is a concept I came up with after doing the box method for the first time. I was left with a few items I knew I wouldn’t wear anymore, yet was finding hard to donate because of the good memories I associated to them.
So I created a little exception to the rule. I don’t think it is necessary to get rid of absolutely everything, especially if you are a sentimental person like me, you may want to save some special clothes.
When I started, I owned tops I had worn to fun nights out and jeans that had once been my favourite pair but didn’t fit me anymore. Dresses I had proudly carried to school events and to black tie disco at summer camp.
The truth was that I had good memories associated to all of these clothes. I quickly realised, for the memory box to work, I would need to define special clothes.
Since starting my wardrobe cleanse, I have often been surprised at how ruthless I can be when it comes to getting rid of the things I own. I have found this can come in handy if you are trying to be a minimalist, but not so handy if you are suddenly invited to a 80s themed disco.
If you have somewhat hoarder tendencies, you will try to associate a special memory to every single item you own in order to keep it. However, for the whole thing to work we will have to avoid this thinking pattern and really think about what special clothes mean to us.
The memory box is about being able to distinguish the top you wore once on a great night out, from the really special stuff. The winning question that always seems to help me break a tie is whether I will care about this memory in 20 years. If I don’t think I will care about it in the long term, there is no point saving as it will only lose value along the way (see, ruthless).
Like any other of my boxes, I keep it dynamic. I have saved items I thought were really special, only to find myself one year onwards wondering why I had saved them in the first place. If this is the case, then it is time to donate and make room for new memories.
In order to explain this concept a little bit better, let me tell you what is inside my memory box at the moment:
The white dress
Before our wedding in Lisbon, Tom and I were already married. We got officially married a few weeks beforehand, at the Council Hall in Reading with only our parents present and a handful of our close friends.
At the time, our focus was on the Lisbon wedding as this was undoubtedly going to be our special day. So, without giving it much thought, I wore a white Topshop dress that I already owned.
This dress is a bit fiddly because the back is open, meaning that the bra situation is not so straight forward and I don’t really wear it much.
Even though I also own the long wedding gown that I wore in Lisbon, this is the dress I had on the day I became a married woman. It is a no brainer that it belongs in the memory box and I don’t see myself ever being able to get rid of it
The Pat Field dress
I can’t even recall the first time I wore this dress, since I was 17 that it has attended weddings, summer schools and other parties. I have worn it so much that it would be hard to pick my favourite.
But the most important thing about this dress is that it reminds me of my first visit to New York, the road trip we took with my parents along the East Coast was one of the best family trips we had before we got real jobs or husbands. It was so much fun.
Knowing how much I loved SATC, my Mum planned a visit to Carrie’s famous doorsteps in Greenwich Village and to the Patricia Field’s store, where she bought me this dress.
I absolutely love New York and it has been a fantasy of mine to live there ever since.
The Marc Jacobs skirt
Oh my god how I wish this skirt still fit me!
I bought this with my first salary from the first job I ever had. I was an intern at a Bank in Lisbon just straight out of university and this skirt cost about half of my pay check! This was also one of my first lessons regarding the importance of budget and planning my earnings.
I keep this skirt because I love it. I bought it such a long time ago and I don’t think it ever went out of style, hopefully one day I can pass it on to a daughter or granddaughter.