Nicole Presley mug

Nicole Presley 

At least once a year I like to go through my apartment to do a little spring cleaning. It lessens the amount of junk that's accumulated and it allows me to donate the things I may not need anymore.

I developed this habit during college. I moved in and out of dorms and apartments at the beginning and end of every year. When I moved home, I've moved in and out of my parent's house and a rented apartment.

I discovered it's a heck of a lot easier to move when you have less stuff–or at least when you lessen the amount of things you own.

I plan on finishing that spring cleaning this weekend now that a majority of school activities are winding down.

As I've gone through some of the things I'll donate, I'm also reminded of the memories behind them.

I found t-shirts from college activities that I can probably stand to part with. My Dance Marathon shirts reminded me of the hours I spent playing and standing for the kids who receive medical care from the University of Iowa's Children's Hospital. 

I found coffee cups in the back of my cupboard that I had collected, or someone had collected for me, from various events. One mug I gained after taking photos for a college assignment. Another I had made when there was a Pinterest fad to doodle on coffee cups and bake the design onto the mug in the oven. 

They'll make another coffee lover happy as I create room in my cupboard. 

I also found a few leftover sewing projects from 4H. I had sewed a purple gym bag when I was in middle school. I remember feeling frustrated when I learned that sewing is harder than it looks. But I also remember feeling accomplished that I'd completed the simple bag.

I also found various things that I'll be sending with my boyfriend's sister and my brother as they attend college this fall.

One item, a collapsible chair, reminded me of the hours my sophomore roommate and I spent in them completing homework or eating junk food during movie nights.

When I find the items I've determined I no longer have use for, I'm surprised to realize how much I remember from the times I used them. Some of them spark the, “Oh yeah. Now I remember why I kept that.” Others simply take me down a recent memory lane.

As my spring cleaning continues this weekend, and as my donate pile continues to grow, I'm looking forward the memories they will continue to bring.

Nicole Presley is the managing editor of the Pella Chronicle. She can be reached in the newsroom at 641-628-3882, or by email at

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