Time to spring clean

Some people might have started their spring cleaning weeks ago but for me it is this  week. This is the annual year-end cleaning and we are less than two weeks to the new year.

Spring cleaning is a tiring chore for me because of the big amount of clutter I need to get rid of. Why didn’t I throw this outdated stuff away earlier, I would always chide myself. Regret! Regret! A stich in time saves nine…all this ‘wisdom’ on hindsight!

Unless you are not a hoarder, it is a real challenge when it comes to spring cleaning and throwing stuff away.  Many of us are hoarders to some degree and  it is normal to be a small-time hoarder if there’s such a thing – just hoard some personal stuff for sentimental reason or things to bequeath to loved ones.  I’m a 50% hoarder trying to be 10% , so that’s why throwing out white elephants is quite stressful for me.

This year one of my resolutions was to declutter and work towards minimalism. Paiseh to say I’ve only achieved about 20% .  The things I find most difficult to discard are the hundreds of old photographs and tens of photo albums. My friend told me she reorganized her photos and kept four albums; the rest of her photographs she cut up and threw away.  I have been gearing up for this scary action – cut up and throw photographs .

Wishing all happy sprng cleaning!

spring cleaning

Author: Jassmine Teo

I came to know about the SHC from eNN (Seng Kang). My interests are varied. I write on the forum regularly to improve my writing. In my autumn years, my priority is voluntary service. Hope to meet like-minded people and help initiate a programme/project for the disabled like the hearing impaired.

15 thoughts on “Time to spring clean”

  1. Heehee! Jassmine…we are all hoarders…

    You don’t have to feel bad or depressed; just do the normal house-keeping and throw away items like old bills, bank statements, brochures, receipts, and the sales mailers that stuff our mailboxes.

    I just want to say that you shouldn’t throw away your old photos: these can be precious memories and records of your life and loved ones. What you should do is to take digital pictures of them and store them on a CD or hard disk. There is nothing like taking out an old album and recalling the happy events and people that have crossed your path. (Hew Lee: maybe a course on this?)

  2. I have scanned some of (and will eventually scan all) my pictures (7 albums x 300 prints approx) and stored them in the “cloud”. They are black-and-white, yellowish, brownish and multi-colour prints. Some needed “touch up” to make them discernible. I created several folders to classify them, namely family, relatives, school-mates, work-mates, friends, old flames, new sparks etc.

    When all are done, people will have access to my storage, only to relevant folders of course. Hmmm…I still have the prints. How leh?


  3. Hi Daniel…good to hear about your scanning your photos.
    I have looked at scanning and it might be a fast way to store our many photos.
    But if the photos are torn or jagged-edged, they might catch on the scanner feeder or be difficult to position on the platen; then there’s the tedious process of correcting or improving the colour or faded images: a daunting task for me…with poor eyesight and aversion for complicated, time-draining programs.

    Anyway, I just watched “Lost and Found” on Okto where survivors of a tornado which tore through the town of Joplin, MO were reunited through the pictures which were recovered from the wreckage of houses. The lady who started the project to retrieve, catalog and restore the photos, was responsible for the museum, local bank and community joining in and ultimately holding an exhibition. It was touching to see families and individuals coming across their photos and triggering memories and experiences of the tragedy… They were allowed to claim their pictures and thousands of pictures were reunited with their owners.

    The program was a timely reminder of the value of photographs in capturing our life memories and experiences; especially if everything else is destroyed and they are all you have left.

    So, do keep your photos!

  4. My thinking regarding keeping old photographs is a little different. I am concerned about leaving behind stuff for survivors to dispose of. I feel I should not burden them with the work of disposing my stuff which to them would be mainly junk.

    A relative in his eighties said he would not care about what his survivors do to the thousands of photographs he has in his computer when he is gone. He is still actively taking pictures. But I am not comfortable with the idea.

    I now take pictures of sceneries and objects. These will be easier to cut up in, say, ten years’ time. And one of my new year resolutions is to dispose at least 10% of my old photographs!

    Thanks for sharing Kenneth and DC.

  5. Next year, a group of my ex-colleaques who had been working in the old Times House at Kim Seng Road, invited all old staff to come together while we are all still alive and kicking.

    One of the activities was to bring up old photos during our memorable working days. This brings to mind my old photos which Jassmine, Daniel and Kenneth talk about. Most of our old photographs are still around and valuable., For me, I wanted to categorise them neatly but then the time to sort them out puts me off. I finally decided to just pick a few which I can share with my son, wife and some close friends.

    Perhaps, one day, we can all share a few of our old old photos which even we ourselves find difficulty recognising.

    Terence Seah

  6. I have a BIG cupboard full of print photos plus CDs and DVDs. I’m not too concerned about what my children do with them. When I’m gone, they can do what they want with them. It’s full of memories of them from the time they were born. I have some photos of myself in my childhood, my parents, grand parents and great grand parents, very few. I’ve tried to compile a small family tree on CD and it’s up to them to continue if they want to.
    We do what we think is interesting but if they don’t want to know about their roots, it’s up to them.
    We should continue to take photos of our family and surroundings and hope that our children will see some historical value in them in time to come as THEIR children grow up. If they don’t, then too bad lor.
    Cheers and a Happy New Year to all!

  7. It is indeed so sad that old pictures are not valued anymore in our present time. Yet these are precious memories captured and preserved for us to recall the good and bad times, our personal journey through life and the significant events in our life…like Mary says: “the memories of childhood, parents, grandparents…”

    I am fortunate to trace my family tree back through six generations in Singapore, and back in China for another 13… although I feel insignificant compared to what my ancestors contributed to early Singapore, I stand proud of being descended from such an illustrious family.

    Back to what we are talking about: photos are records of family and roots. I was disappointed not to have photos of my grandparents and great grandparents. Compared to my relatives from the other branches of the family who not only had their records, we were sadly paltry in our record.
    (To be continued)

  8. I did not know my father’s parents (my grandparents) as they had both passed on before I was born. And to my knowledge there is no existing photo of either…this is sad.

    I also do not have any photo of my father’s sister (my aunt) who also died tragically before I was born. Only my aunt’s husband, who remarried shortly after, lived to a ripe old age.

    Unfortunately, too, there is no photo or portrait existing of my great-great grandfather who was the second son of Tan Tock Seng. I suspect he was very wealthy and did pass on his worldly fortunes to his son, my great grandfather. There remains a photo portrait of him, but unfortunately again, only that remains of or from him: His entire inheritance was squandered by a profligate son, (no, not my grandfather who died young) but my grand uncle who never really worked a day in his life and survived to a ripe old age!

    Enough of old grandfather stories; just wish to impress that we should treasure our photos, make every effort to preserve our personal life story, and help our younger ones appreciate their heritage and history.

  9. Interesting grandfather stories, Kenneth. My salute to the late honourable Mr Tan Tock Seng. Good to know that you are one of his direct descendants.

    I share Jassmine’s sentiments. De-cluttering is a relatively easy job when disposing some old furniture or equipment. It can be heart-wrenching when deciding what photographs to get rid of. They show the good old days that can never be repeated. They bring back fond memories. They bring tears seeing those who were once with us. In short, a photograph may be a piece of junk to others but a very precious commodity to the person concerned.

    Thanks to technology however, most if not all photographs now are digital. Unlike the days when we have albums and albums of printed pictures, digital images are stored in cards or drives. Perhaps, after our generation, there will be no photo album. Yes, we should keep on “shooting”. A micro SD card of 8GB can store about 8000 high resolution pictures. I would be very sad if my children were to tell me they could not have space to keep a card the size of a thumb nail.

    Our task now is to convert our existing prints to digital storage before they fade away. It is a very tedious job and as I am doing it, I sometimes ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”

    Yes, Terence. It is a good idea for us to come together to share photographs – digital or print – and laugh at ourselves. By the way, the Times House is one place that has seen the transformation of picture-taking from “stone age” to “cloud era”. They should have the most fantastic equipment to convert prints to digital.

    Happy New Year, all.

  10. Hi Eleanor,

    Very nice you offer to give away your rose table. It is timely and I hope an interested member will pick it up from you.

    I hope members will take this occasion to give away some nice furnitures and stuff which another fellow member may like.

    Have a prosperous Lunar New Year Folks.

    Terence Seah

  11. Dear Eleanor,
    May I know, please: what size is the rosewood table (length, breadth, height)? Just want to know if it will fit in a car.
    Also, what is a good time to pick up, and from what location, please?
    My email is yst27@hotmail.com
    Thank you, Eleanor. :-)

Leave a Reply