Silver Conversationalist

Tidying up my career artifacts after I retire ?

*** In a nutshell, will I later regret discharging (somehow disposing of) personal mementos of my working career? Or is this just going to be useless clutter? ***


So, I am a new retiree. Not quite 4 months. Now I am presented with the rest of my life.


I'm wondering how ruthless I should be in jettisoning a lot of textbooks and reference books accumulated over my education and professional career. Mostly these are engineering and mathematics texts.


I gave a handful of texts still relevant on a daily basis to my esteemed coworkers before leaving (a personal gift to each). A number of references I simply left behind as I knew that I would not be using those.


I wanted to hang on to some for sentimental reasons (I could probably articulate 3-5 distinct reasons...that may not be of real justification). Particularly those related to advanced mathematics and advanced engineering analysis. But it is still a big box and I have little/no space to keep this stuff. I generally try to keep free of paper clutter and other clutter. I'm thinking these books will simply become clutter. Realistically I will probably not be getting involved in advanced mathematics any time in my remaining future. 


Will I regret it later if I get rid of this stuff?

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Regular Contributor

I'm new to retirement myself, 4 months now.  For me I will hold on to some things to pass on to my Son whom followed in my footsteps in the same career.  They have value in that sense.  If they were books and what have you I would get rid of them myself.


I have other clutter to get rid of and is on the to-do list for 2019.  I'm sure there will be some items related to my career that I have that will get the old heave in trash because they will not matter to either me nor my son.


I worked for 45 years in the same career and feel lucky that I have no ties to it!  That probably sounds strange to some but trust me when I say that the changes that came with time did not bring me any closer to my work nor those I worked with. 

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Silver Conversationalist

The Atlantic magazine has an article this month that I think captures my feelings quite well. My feelings of jettisoning old artifacts that were once valuable to me (as this thread was about) as well as the wondering "what's up now?"


Article by Arthur C Brooks, former president of the think tank American Enterprise Institute, writes "Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think (Here’s how to make the most of it." Describes the almost invariable and inevitable decline in one's professional ability and status. How some people cling to past glories while others move on. A long article but full of insight.

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Honored Social Butterfly

I did not regret giving away/recycling all my old notes, papers, books. I was very happy to retire (meaning I could not wait to quit working), and do not miss any reminders of 'the old days'.

"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
Silver Conversationalist

Thank you for your experienced insights. Much appreciated.


I really don't miss my job or company ...even having spent 20 years there. Do miss a few folks. But time's a-wasting, I have much to do and the clock is running out. I want to eliminate so much "clutter". haha, I remember my mom only 10 years ago talking about that...getting rid of clutter.

Honored Social Butterfly

"....I want to eliminate so much "clutter". haha, I remember my mom only 10 years ago talking about that...getting rid of clutter....".


   As far as the entire 'retirement thing' goes, there is no one-size-fits-all. I can only state what was fine for me. But there are so many retirees whose lives revolved around work (beyond the 8 hour day), or who defined themselves by their work. Then, they retire, and are unhappy, bored, sad, etc.

   What we consider 'clutter' from our working lives are momentos/reminders to others. I've never lived in the past as so many people do. I constantly plan for projects around the house/yard, travel, events, volunteer work, for the next year.

   Doesn't work for everyone. We're all in different places. 

"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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