The buzz over the recent opening of one of Andy Warhol’s mysterious Time Capsules has been intense, but the revelation of what lies inside the last of these thirty year old boxes is enough to make many of us think about more than just art. We all have our own time capsules, of sorts, shut away in attics and cellars to gather dust. Their contents can become just as mysterious to us as the insides of Warhol’s artworks, but it is important that we don’t just leave our memories there to gather dust.
Warhol’s project has provided a unique doorway back into the past, revealing myriad items that Warhol chose to preserve, from old junk mail and invitations to photos and original artworks, packed away and until now, unseen. We can experience a similar, more personal, time shift when we look back at the items that we, or our relatives, chose to pack away, often many years ago. The fun of finding out what has been preserved is a good reason to start clearing out those parts of the house that you keep meaning to organize, but there are also some more practical reasons to look through those old boxes.
An unopened box is not just a waste of space or a cause of ugly clutter. It could also be a treasure chest, hiding memories that need to be brought out into the light, enjoyed, and preserved properly. When we leave our old family photos, letters, and other memorabilia tucked away in dusty boxes, we risk not only forgetting what we have kept, but also losing them to damp, mould and other forms of damage. Unless we are to lose these memories forever, we need to make the time to sort through the boxes and make sure that our most precious items are properly stored. Once the unwanted junk is out of the way, we can make sure that the items we want to keep are put away carefully into safe, dry homes where they will be preserved. The hard work will be worth it if it ensures that those old love letters or childhood photos will still be there to enjoy for many years to come.
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