A guest post by Cindy Bogard
I subscribe to Real Simple magazine. I enjoy it, especially the section “New Uses for Everyday Things” which gives alternate uses for common objects. (Newspaper can deodorize food odors. Who knew?)
The December 2010 issue had an article called “Five Things to Save for Your Kids.” “That sounds good,” I thought. Well, think again, Real Simple. For once, I think your advice stinks.
The five experts and their “must keep” items are:
- Eric Silver, an antique gallery owner and appraiser on Antiques Roadshow: Insignificant objects from significant occasions, such as a souvenir program from a concert or postcards from vacation.
- Mike Bender, founder of the website AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com: Something mortifying from your childhood. Mr. Bender believes that we will whip this object out at the crucial moment and show our children how we can relate to their current, awkward situation in life.
- Rafael Guber, genealogist: Practical, high-quality household items, such as soup ladles, candlesticks, rosary beads, and other items which can be used by the recipient to create a feeling of closeness to the item-giving loved one.
- Jennie Eisenhower, great-granddaughter and granddaughter of two U.S. presidents: Something your descendants can re-purpose. Her example is a sugar bowl from her grandmother Pat Nixon, which she uses as a spare change bowl on her dresser.
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, history professor and author: What you wore to work Monday. Dr. Ulrich says that wedding dress are “a dime a dozen” because everyone saves those. Something really valuable is common, daily clothing, which few people save.
Wow, decluttering expert Cindy Bogard, blogger from Austin, Texas, thinks these people, with the possible exception of Jennie Eisenhower, have it all wrong.
Here’s how I break it down:
- Insignificant objects from significant occasions – Significant to whom? Why? Mr. Silver’s example is a playbill from a concert by The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, now valued at $1000. Unless my father was a professional rock musician, if he gave this to me, I would say, “Thanks Dad” and sell it promptly.
- Something mortifying from my childhood – Frankly, I have tried to rid myself of these things. I don’t think a ghastly photo of me wearing a now deeply unstylish outfit with a bad hair do and unflattering glasses is going to convince my children that I can relate to them. If anything, it could make me seems more out-of-touch.
- Your practical, high quality household items – Hmm. While I don’t disagree with this bit of expert advice in principle, the items that Mr. Guber mentions (candlesticks, soup ladles) are not valuable to me. I like my grandmother’s kitchen knife that my grandfather sharpened so many times that it has an oddly curved blade and the handle is worn silky smooth. Hardly a “high-quality item,” but dear.
- Something your descendants can re-purpose – This is the only one I like, because I like Ms. Eisenhower’s flexibility in re-purposing. I like that she feels free to enjoy her grandmother sugar bowl as a knick-knack collector on her dresser. I hope her grandmother likes it too.
- What you wore to work on Monday – I’m sure historians would love to find a fantastic handmade, everyday outfit from the Colonial times, but it will be hundreds of years before someone will value the mass produced jeans and school t-shirt I am wearing right now.
Item 340 of 365 less things
Something I picked up at a garage sale back in the States because my hubby is a Pirates fan. Is has never seen the light of day since I bought it. It would be a miracle if someone spots it at the thrift shop and think “Wow a Pirates bag I have to have that”. Ha Ha
5 things I am grateful for today
- Another beautiful day – Not to hot and a nice breeze and a few clouds around.
- Skip-Bo – A card game that Liam, his grandma and I have been playing everyday for a week. I love to play games with family and friends. I don’t even care if I lose I just love to play.
- Fred’s garden – I needed some chives for something I was cooking for dinner and my neighbour Fred has a great garden and loves to share. He actually thanks me for making him feel useful by using his stuff. What a guy!
- Cindy – For saving the day yet again. With a visitor in the house and a busy week-end I went blank when trying to come up with a post today so I used one of Cindy’s efficiently written ahead of time posts. I will try not to make too much of a habit of it.
- Pancake shakers – Went there is only enough milk in the fridge for a morning coffee and there isn’t enough bread for toast it is great to be able to whip up a quick brecky (that’s breakfast for you non-Australians) of pancakes and syrup. No effort involved.