Some things should never be tossed

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking45 Comments

I recently took on an exceptionally challenging domestic task and began working in one of the most neglected and feared zones in all of my humble surroundings: Cole's closet.

You know how you go along, happily piling and stashing and rearranging until one day you wake up and there's a team from A&E's Hoarder's at your front door? (Well, I wouldn't personally know how that would go, but let me tell you, the people I live with may as well audition today!)

I hit that point last week, and kept telling Cole, "Okay, today is the day! I'm emptying out your closet!"

Never mind that I repeated that phrase for five days until yesterday, when I finally made good on my threats.

Long story short: I'm not even close to seeing carpet in there, but I am having little rewarding moments of sweetness, because I'm finding stuff like this:


Be still my heart. Cole's old Woody costume.

This costume represents so much about who my son was, is and continues to become. He wore this costume on a regular basis for YEARS. It speaks to me about his need to create alternate realities for the best possible kind of play, involving more imagination that I can ever remember being in possession of.

The way he dives into things headlong and with zero reservations. The way he lives his life: out loud with few if any apologies.

I had to dig out a layout I did back in Clean&Simple Scrapbooking. Love that I have this story saved. 


Here's to sentimental treasures found in the midst of a hoarder's paradise. And to the simple and fine art of saving our stories.

Cathy ZielskeSome things should never be tossed

45 Comments on “Some things should never be tossed”

  1. #1

    Aww he is so sweet! I’m a hoarder too, but as you say, it is sentimental more than hoarding! Good luck finding that carpet!

  2. #2
    Nancy M

    I remember seeing this layout, really nice. And boy does he look like your husband in that lower left pic!

  3. #4

    Here’s to you Cathy!

    From a sentimental hoarder who also needs to spend some time in the closets.

    What a cutie!!!


  4. #6

    I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and clearing out lately and I’ve ran into some treasures…love it!! My 15 year old son Jackson was a Woody fan, too. I found his Woody doll last year and it melted my heart!!

  5. #7

    Leslie, i recently came across my daughter’s Jessie doll from Toy Story. OH, how she loved that doll. Called her Chessie, because that’s what she thought her name was.

  6. #8
    Sandi M

    That is downright adorable! I still have a Baby Bop Halloween costume that my daughter wore when she was almost 3. It’s great to tease her the she was a “Barney lover” now that she’s much older ; )

  7. #9

    I can totally relate. I never had buyers remorse for buying those “special” costumes at Target. I need to make a layout like this.

    Thanks for the reminder to get those memories documented and for sharing your sweet memory!

  8. #11

    I have scrapbooking issues because the first thing that popped into my head was… oooh, I wonder if that is small enough to take apart at the seams and attach to a 12 x 12 layout. I know, sad, isn’t it? It is definitely a keeper! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. #13

    My son had a Spiderman Halloween costume – $10 – that he wore until it split at the seams. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also have a problem with keeping too much stuff but I’m working on it! LOL

  10. #14
    Andi Sexton

    Love this! My son is the same way.. We have had skeleton costumes, and he has a collection of capes that he has lived in off and on for the last 5 or 6 years… The cape is essential to any character he makes… He will be 11 in May… Oh I loved reading this today!

  11. #15
    Cynthia Friese-Hassanein

    This is one of my favorite lay-outs of yours. Pure genius in that title and capturing the moment:) And Clean and simple scrapbooking changed my creative life forever:) Please write another book someday:)

  12. #16
    Joy M.

    Can you say cedar chest? That’s exactly what a cedar chest is for, in my mind. There are a few things from my child’s early days that I just can’t part with, and I will make no apology for having them stored where I can uncover them from time to time. If you think that costume brings tears to your eyes NOW, Cathy, just wait till Cole is leaving for college!!

  13. #17

    I recently cleaned out my kids room (and then did a layout about it, and blogged about it.) As we worked our way through the boxes of action figures, my husband, kids, and I agreed that the toy story figures must stay. Those were the first action figures my older son had, the beginning of years of dramatic play. Oh, the stories told with those guys.

  14. #21

    Oh yeah, we’ve saved all the Rescue Heroes in our attic. And the legos? Heck, he plays with them everyday. They are NEVER leaving. (Too large a financial investment!)

  15. #22
    judy in huntsville [al]

    I think you should get a shadow box and frame the costume with some of those precious photos – I did this for one of my nephews and a hand-made clown costume he wore when he was two – very cute….

  16. #23

    I like to save things, but I’ve watched 2 weeks of Hoarders and now I’m purging. I just tossed out over 10 yrs. of greeting cards. I have toys from when I was a kid because my mom never threw anything out either.

  17. #24

    In further praise of lego: They are like a sedative. I have 2 boys, and there have been times when they each had a friend or 2 over. And when me and my furniture could not handle another moment of boy play, out come the legos, and peace and quiet descends for hours. Until more than one person needs the same tiny, specialized piece..

  18. #25
    dan zielske

    Excellent observations of who Cole was and isโ€“reminded me of Kelly Murphy at that party some years back congratulating us for allowing him to be himself. Or as she put it after a glass or two, “Thank you for not wrecking your kid!”

  19. #26

    Boy, this hit a spot–my almost 15 y.o.’s second, but favorite costume was Woody and did he love that costume! Unfortunately, my little guy was sick on Halloween that year (received a “Chinese Dragon Thomas Train” to make up for it. Thank you for bringing back such great (weep, weep) memories Kathy!


  20. #27

    This is just too sweet! Love it. . .and the reminder that memories can take less space when they are photographed and journaled. We just lost mom in November and her house is overwhelming us rignt now. I want to keep everything for the memories, but don’t want to add 12 rooms to my house! currently looking for a support group ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. #28

    Beautiful. Last night I happened upon the TLC show about hoarders, and oh-my-goodness, I am sure you all are not even close—but…I get your point, for sure. I have some “closet work” (LOL) I need to do myself.
    Love this story, this little outfit, and this layout.

  22. #29
    Heather H.

    I LOVE this. My son has a Buzz costume that he wears frequently. It’s a hand-me-down from my nephews. 3 nephews. So my son is the 4th boy in my husband’s family to have it. My oldest nephew who wore it first WAS Buzz when he had the costume on. For almost a year he WAS Buzz. And no one called him by anything else because he wouldn’t respond. My son isn’t quite so attached but the memories that go with the costume are priceless!

  23. #31
    Deb J

    What fun. I love organizing things and one of the fun parts is all the neat memories you find. I’m good at passing things along but I’m also good at recognizing those things that are keepers.

  24. #32
    the girls

    Ah, I love this layout! I first saw it upside down on an open page in a book when I was at one of the first crops I ever visited as a very newbie scrapbooker. I asked if I might take a closer look at the book which was – yep – Clean and Simple p. 88. “It’s lovely stuff” the book owner said, “but very hard to do well”. And she was right, but boy, is it worth the effort to learn!

  25. #33

    … like cookies.

    (OK, so I’m weird but that was my thought when I read the title!)

    Have a great rest of the week!

  26. #34

    Oh how I hope this comment posts as the other day I spent a long time on the music post and POOF it was gone. I love this post and here is why. My son had a green power ranger suit that he lived in when he was a little boy. Day, night, forever he wore that outfit. My friend had a costume shop in Indonesia and it was made to the tee with a ton of detail. I had not thought of that until the you wrote this. He is about to turn 15. The second reason is OMG the other night I fell asleep and woke up to a show on TLC about people that are hoarders. It was about 11 PM. I stayed up til 4 am – put away every bit of Christmas (work and Epiphany always delays me) and then started to go through everything and pitched left and right. It continued all of the way until Sun night. I hit every room except my scrap area. OH MY!!!! Guess it is just easier to get rid of the rest. Now the kids rooms are clean along with many other rooms in the house. I cannot believe how much that show hit me.

  27. #35
    Whitney P.

    You crack me up!I know it sounds strange, but I love that Hoarders show. It makes me realize that my house isn’t quite the hot mess I fear that it looks like at times! Oh, and Clean House…as Miss Niecy would say, my scrap room is mayhem and foolishness. And that’s how I like it. If it’s clean, then I’m not scrappin’! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. #36

    Love that! What you said about his imagination sounds so much like my younger son who is now 8. He still dresses in costume all the time – many of them made up of his regular clothes and imagination. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. #37

    Ah, yes Miss Cathy, I remember it well – only my piece of sweetness was a Spiderman outfit, proudly worn day and yes, sometimes at night. Oh to have those days back again.

  30. #38
    Kimberly Marcus

    Great post and pics..I love dress-up, my boys love to dress up in various outfits all the time..sometimes I’m having dinner with a pirate and iron man other times Darth Vador and an army man come out to play. Love this…I need to take more pics and document this precious memory.

  31. #40
    Sherri P eh

    That single photo of the Woody costume (or ‘Voody’, as my son used to say) brought back a flood of memories. He’s almost 15 now, but that was the costume he wor for Halloween when he was 2 1/2. Purchased at the end of the summer, he had plenty of time to wear it to the library, McDonald’s, food shopping, wherever our travels took us. He lived in that costume, wearing it through to the next summer. That June, we flew from Philly to Winnipeg, and he wore it both ways, so Grandma and Grandpa could see, in person, what he looked like for Halloween!
    That costume, and all of the rest of the costumes worn over the years, are carefully packed in a large rubbermaid container in the attic. Will pass them down to the next generation, but will never truly part with them.
    Oh, and on the weekend, I was carefully wrapping porcelain Woody and Buzz ornaments, and another that is in the shape of a Sherriff’s badge. More memories of that innocent and wonderous time!

  32. #41

    A great story Cathy! And so cute! Wouldn’t it be sweet to make somthing out of these old costumes… T-shirts and memories? A quilt maybe? I saw something similar on a Blog last week… cannot remember…

  33. #43

    Oh My! I saw this costume and before I even scrolled down I remembered the layout! I’ll never forget how much I loved your title…The best $14.95…that’s way too cool! I think I’ve been stalking you too long if I remember that!

  34. #45

    Thank you for the reminder on WHY i capturing all these moments of my little ones …. because one day they won’t all be so little anymore.

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