You know how an old song can conjure up images of where you were in the past when that song was popular? I have the same memories when I see old TV programs. I was an entertainment journalist from the 1980s to the 2000s, and browsing through my clippings file is like a walk through the history of Australian and New Zealand television and associated events in my own life.
I worked for Australia’s then-most popular entertainment magazine, TV Week, from 1989-1990 and from 1993-1997, becoming assistant editor in 1994. I kept all my clippings—probably about 1000 articles—from that time, and a fair few of the magazines intact, particularly the editions for which I was acting editor.
After my father died in 2006, my mother gave me their collection of seven years’ worth of TV Weeks that I had written for. This collection took up eight drawers in my home office.
Recently, I’ve been trying to streamline my household and get rid of stuff I don’t wear, don’t read, don’t look at, don’t need. As the Canadian writer Fransi Weinstein said in her blog Three Hundred Sixty-Five this month, it’s about “living simpler”.
So, some of those old TV Week magazines had to go. As journalists, we were taught from the beginning to keep all our clippings. They are a record of your work and you need them when you apply for a new job.
Today, however, no one would be interested in my clippings from so long ago. And if I need clippings for a job application, I have more recent ones that I can simply provide a website link to.
I don’t have children, so there’s no sense that I would need to keep something for posterity. Yet, always before when I’ve tried to cull this collection, I’ve become lost in sentimentality and nostalgia, and have ended up putting the mags back in the drawers.
Not this time, though. Last weekend, I got rid of 60% of the magazines in the eight drawers, plus about half of my clippings, keeping only the more notable among them. I also threw out lots of clippings from my work as a news reporter in the 1980s, again keeping only the important ones.
Now I have extra storage space in which I can accrue more stuff.