Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Your Input

Deb J

Deb J

So you are ready to declutter but you have some issues. There are problems with decluttering some things in your home. What would you do in the following cases?

You have over one hundred rolls or pieces of ribbon. They are black, white, reds, yellow, greens, blues, pinks, purples, gold and silver. They are of various types but all are for sewing or crafts. They hang on the wall in a well made, wood cassette tape holder with room for 100 tapes. You haven’t used any of this ribbon in almost a year. Much of it has never been opened. You want to get rid of it. Someone in the family doesn’t want you to.

Someone in your family at one time collected stamps from all over the world. Now you have a package of about 1000 and no one has done anything with them but collect them. They aren’t in an album. They aren’t properly mounted. You don’t know if they are worth anything. The collector no longer wants them.

Your father collected coins. Not the kind that came all nicely packaged but just circulated coins received in change at the store. Do you spend them, try to sell them or pass them to someone in the family?

Your grandparent died 20 years ago and left you a beautiful antique dresser with a marble inset. You have kept this dresser and carried it with you through several moves. It doesn’t go with your “style” so it is always kept back in a room where it seldom is seen. What do you do with it?

All of these scenarios are real. All of them have potential problems attached to them. Give us some input on how you would handle one to all of them.

Today’s Mini Mission

 Declutter a clothing or footwear item.

Eco Tip for the Day

As adults it is our job to teach our children to conserve power and water. If you raise your children with good habits now conservation will come naturally to them when they become the adults themselves.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Thursdays with Deb J ~ Leaving My Comfort Zone All of us have varying comfort zones. There are just some items, people, ideas, and/or places that mean home to us. That doesn’t mean that home can’t be moved but when that happens there […]
  • Thursdays with Deb J ~ Attachments I have never been very sentimental toward things. I have had a few collections over the years and they kept mostly because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who had given them […]
  • Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Sorting You have decided to declutter and then get organized so living life is easier. You then ask, “Help, how am I supposed to go about this? “ Sorting is the answer. Sorting by how you use […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. For inherited things that are of no practical use to you, it is helpful to think of it this way. When you look around your home, would you want to your children to have all that you see in your home in their own home with their own things. Most would say, “of course not.” If that is true for you and your own children, could you see it to be true of your parents, grandparents, etc.. for you? Take a picture of it. Jot down a memory to go along with the photo and let it go where it can be of some use for someone else.

    • Kathi, I like your “Take a picture of it. Jot down a memory to go along with the photo and let it go where it can be of some use for someone else.” This is what I prefer to do. But again like I told someone else I place no sentiment on things.

  2. 1 the ribbons) Do they belong to you, rather than the person who doesn’t want you to get rid of them? If they are solely yours, I would try and get the family member to explain why they didn’t want you to get rid of them, what fear of loss are they projecting on to the ribbons: what does you getting rid of them mean to them?
    I’d then explain to them why you needed them to go, how hanging onto them affected you.
    As a result of that conversation I would either give notice that you would keep them for another 2 months and then put them up for sale as a job lot on ebay. I would advise them a week before they go you were writing the advert. So they have plenty of warning and a fear of things disappearing they don’t know about isn’t fed.

    2 the stamps) I’d check with a specialist to get them valued – I’d find my nearest one through a internet search and then sell them. If they are worth very little, I’d advertise through our local freecycle for a fellow stamp collector to enjoy them

    3 Coins) It’s not clear if the coins are current currency. If not, I would see if a family member wanted them. If not I would look for a specialist coin seller (online search for nearest one) and sell them through them. If they are current currency and nothing special about the coins other than your father put them in a saving piggy bank then I would spend them (if large amount, I would ensure other family members in line to ‘inherit’ had equal share).

    4 Dresser) this is a hard one, but I like to think I would sell it. Again, I’d either use ebay or through an auction house. I probably would check to see if any family members wanted it first, as I personally can find it easier to let such things go if I know it is going somewhere it is wanted that I can see it again if I want to. If I couldn’t face selling it, I would donate it to our local hospice 2nd hand furniture shop, as again, I can find that giving to such a good cause helps me let go of things I have an emotional attachment to, even when I don’t want or like the item concerned.

    Very interesting post DebJ

  3. Hi Deb J!

    These are fun questions. 😉

    First of all, I don’t declutter anything that belongs to a family member – that’s their decision. However, I will just assume that the ribbons are mine and the family member just doesn’t want that I declutter them although both the holder and the ribbons are actually my belongings.

    Ribbon: I’d get rid of all of it. I imagine they’d be a pain to dust and obviously not needed. First I’d take that holder down and decorate the room in another way (maybe mount a picture) – now those ribbons have lost their “decorational value” maybe they will be easier to part with for the family member. I think, I’d first try to sell or donate the whole thing to a place that might need it (maybe a seamstress or a workplace for mentally handicapped?), if it isn’t possible, I’d sell small bunches via ebay (about 5 rolls of ribbon and some scraps each) and donate the ribbon holder to a charity shop (or mabe a craft shop has a use for it?). If nothing works, I’d just donate the whole lot to goodwill.

    Stamps: I’d sell packages of about 100 stamps via ebay or donate in small packages. If you have a shop that trades used stamps nearby, I’d just sell the whole lot there. If those stamps are rather recent (not older than 50-60 years) chances that they are worth much are very small. And, oh well, I wouldn’t mind that small chance of bad luck. You don’t know that you own a treasure, so it doesn’t hurt to give it away. By the way, to be true, I’d just give them all to my brother-in-law who is an avid collector and often trades and swaps with other collectors.

    Coins: I’d just spend them. Chances that they are worth anything are very small.

    Dresser: If that dresser is nice, that means if I like using it and like the look of it, I’d definitely keep it and try to make it shine. Maybe it could go well with my decor, if I adjusted a little (paint the wall to bring things together, put it in a different room, get rid of meaningless and less beautiful furniture that clashes). If on the other hand, when I’m true to myself, I find that I actually don’t like it very much as an object in itself, I’d ask family if they’re interested in it and if not sell it to an antique dealer (or find a private buyer). There are probably better ways to remember my grandparents than a big dresser I don’t really like and always hide in a dark corner.

    All in all, my advise would always be to get rid of things that bother you that much. Even if you “loose” 500$ by not selling them or selling them cheaply (and I doubt you would make 500$), it isn’t really losing money in my opinion. It’s getting rid of all the headaches these items give you now and possibly in the future and if that isn’t worth the money, I don’t know what is? You don’t really “own” the money while those items are still in your closets anyway.

    Once again about the ribbons: I don’t let family members interfere with MY possessions, on the other hand, I wouldn’t interfere with theirs – but I would also make that family member dust those ribbons herself, so that I can eventually really ignore them and chances grow that for her the annoyance will outweigh the wish to keep them eventually as well.

    • I like your advice Sanna! Getting rid of stuff saves a lot of mental pain, if you get money for the stuff, that’s a bonus!
      Cheers

    • Good advice Sanna. See below for my longer response to everyone.

  4. 1. The ribbon- if they belong to another family item then it is theirs to decide on, but if it were in my space or in my way I’d ask them to move it to their space.

    2. The stamps- I am not one to spend a lot of time selling things so I’d see if there were a stamp collectors group in my city and if so, email the group and ask if they’d like the lot

    3. Coins- I’d spend them or take them to the bank and deposit them in my account for a rainy day.

    4. The dresser- I’d see if another family member likes it enough to use it in their home. If not, I’d probably give it to a friend who liked it enough to use it. Like I said, I’m not one to spend a lot of time selling things so I give most things away if I can’t use them.

    • Melissa, I am with you on your decisions. I don’t have much time in my life as my job is extremely time and energy consuming, so doing the selling thing will waste the most valuable thing I have: time. Also, I think I never bought my things with the plan of making money, so I haven’t lost anything.

      The stamp collection is my issue! As I child I collected stamps. And the collection has moved with me through many houses. I don’t collect anymore. I don’t look at the collection. I don’t know why I hang onto the collection! Some in an album, many in a little box. I think what is stopping me toss the lot is holding onto the child me; the thought there might be something of value (not just so I make money, but what if I toss something that will never exist again – a rare stamp?); and that value imbued in an item by virtue of it being part of your life for a long time.

      OK, it is extremely unlikely I have a rare stamp. I collected stamps removed from letters sent in the 70s.

      Now to find a recipient of my largesse!

      • Hi Lucinda,
        That’s a good point you make about never having bought anything with the intent of making money. I’m the same way! Even with a house purchase I view it as my home, not an investment.

        I think most of us have some item that we are reluctant to get rid of because of emotional/sentimental reasons. I too have a few things that I’m working on parting with because they really have no place in my current life- even if they did used to be part of it for a long time. It sounds like with enough time you’ll probably decide to part with your stamp collection as soon as you find someone to give it to. I have only one collection left that hasn’t left my home yet and it too is from my childhood. It’s these little animal figurines that I used to collect that came in a brand of tea my grandmother used to drink. I don’t have them out, I certainly don’t look at them anymore, and yet I’m reluctant to send them packing. I think I’m just about ready to part with them, but I’m not sure what to do with the little things. I know people sell them because I see them listed on Ebay, but that’s just not something I will do. Looks like I’m in the same boat you are! lol. I need to find a recipient for my collection. lol.

        • Wade figurines? I have about 50 of those. I display them neatly in an old printers tray. Most of them were collected for me from toothpaste (we didn’t get them with the tea like other places) by my Grandmother. The animals are worth about $5-10 each but the nursery rhyme characters ARE worth often a fair bit more. I know you said you didn’t want to sell but why not make a bit of cash? A dealer would snap them up from a thrift store. I am very happy to keep mine but I can understand that they are very nick nack-y clutter and dust catchers.

      • Now that i know the specifics in this situation, i would keep ONE really nice stamp but not all the collection. I’ve done that with my postcard collection and havent regret it.

    • Good response Melissa. See below for my longer resoponce to everyone.

  5. I have a similar problem with wanting to get rid of things but family members not wanting me to get rid of them. I either offer to donate the item to that family member or get rid of it quietly. (My parents have taken on many, many toys I’ve decluttered from my daughter’s room!) Same goes with anything related to family, history, etc: Offer it to other relatives, and it they don’t want it, I feel free to get rid of it as I see fit. Some things I still keep out of obligation, but they are small (earrings, for example, rather than furniture).

    • I find it interesting how so many times family doesn’t want you to get rid of something but they don’t want it either. They just want someone to still have it. I am thankful that my brother isn’t like that so it can all go as far as he is concerned. When my father died we asked him what he wanted and sent it to him. Mom decided to do the same with her stuff now rather than me having to do it when she is gone. So we know there is little that he wants. That frees us to do as we wish.

  6. You have received great replies for your scenarios. The only thing I have to add is with regard to the antique dresser – with items that are ‘family’ pieces, I have a few times found that other family members really like a piece that I received from a parent or grandparent, and would like to have it – while they have inherited family pieces they don’t care about much, but I really like. So I offer to trade with them, and we both end up with a family heirloom or memento that we are happy to own.

    • Megan V, your idea of trading is great. I wish I could have done that but there was no one who wanted it. I used it for 20 years before I sold it. By then both my father and my aunt on that side of the family were gone. My brother didn’t want it and my aunts 9 kids didn’t either. They were all into more modern stuff.

  7. I have made a new plan of campaing in decluttering. I have made my priorities (re-enactment; which is my hobby and second, living – as in, not much stuff). If I come across something, it either has to fit in one of those two catagories, or either means a lot to me, because otherwise I am not keeping it. I really want to have a smooth move – it’s my first, so there already be a lot of stress anyway. Also, I’m going for quality this round. I’m fearing that my hair brush isn’t going to last long anymore. Is it me, or is everything breaking up everything at the same second?

    I actually can be quite ruthless, except for books. I hope my priority-method works for books as well.

    • Oh, I forgot to add, if I do declutter something, I check if it is worth something. Most goods from my room are not, but there are some books which probably can redeem most of its value. However, I don’t want to deal with all the hassle of selling, so I end up donating the majority of my stuff.

    • I like your idea Dumphy. See below for my longer response to everyone.

  8. 1. I would keep a handful of ribbon suitable to be used for tying presents and for Christmas gifts. The rest sell as a single batch on Ebay OR more likely I would donate it to a kindergarten or preschool for craft where they will love using them up and will do so FAST!

    2. I would take your stamps! I currently use them for decoupage (I get them from Freecycle) I have totally got over the “this might be worth something” mentality and enjoy them as tiny pieces of art. It is fun and they look great en masse on a mirror or tabletop. If you’re not crafty then give away or sell. People sell big bags of stamps for a couple of dollars so yours are most likely the common sorts.

    3. Take a photo of the collection then cash it all up and take the family out for a nice meal in memory of your father.

    4. This is harder. If it was really beautiful and you truly loved it you would display it better – let it go to someone who loves the style better. It is now costing you money to shift each time and mental space worrying about caring for it. Take pictures and do something nice with the money in memory of your grandparents. This is the hardest question for me – I have my Grandmother’s two bedroom dressers which I kinda like but don’t fit anywhere easily. I will ponder my answer to you more thoroughly myself!

    • Joanne, I had not thought of giving the ribbon to a school. We already have some we have saved for presents. I wish I had known about you liking the stamps before I gave them away. I love seeing people use things like that for crafts. I’ve also seen people use coins to top a table or decorate the edge of a lamp shade.

  9. Hi Deb J
    Well for starters, I have that ribbon. Perhaps not 100 in variety but a shoe box full. And I really want to condense my craft room down a little more. I think I will go through it again and try to either devise a way to reduce the space they take up or choose some to declutter. If I do let some go I will just donate them to the thrift shop where I work. People usually buy any craft stuff I donate. To the issue of someone not wanting you to part with them ~ Have a rational discussion together as to why they want you to keep them. Deliver your argument as to why you want to let them go and together work out a compromise. Ultimately though, they are yours to do what you want with.

    The stamps ~ Funny you should ask that question. Just the other day when I was doing my thrift store shift a regular customer came in. The store manager, on seeing him, said “I have something for you.” She dashed out the back and returned with a little antique box the contained some stamps. She had thought of him when she spied this box for $3 at a garage sail and bought it as him for a gift. He is an avid stamp collector and we rarely get stamps donated to our store. All that being said, I would google for a local philatelic group in your area and donate the stamps to them. There is also a charity in America who collects stamps or you could just donate the stamps to a thrift shop, like I did with mine. Judging by the story above, people do go in there looking for things like this.

    As for the coins ~ If they aren’t worth more than face value then take them to the bank and cash them in. Finding values is easy enough with a computer these days. I do have a collection of USA State Quarters that I must ask my kids if they really want. I will get some mat board cut to mount them in and frame them, if they do want them, so they don’t end up buried in a drawer somewhere.

    As for that beautiful antique dresser ~ To borrow a line from a famous song, if you love it let it be, if you don’t then set it free. Basically, if you don’t care for it then sell it to the highest bidder, or, if it is a family heirloom, pass it on to another family member who might want it. If that is feasible of course.

  10. Here are two responses I received via email ~

    Hello!
    Oh, your call for input couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Nine years ago I “inherited” my father’s huge & completely disorganized coin and stamp collections, which he accumulated over 70 years and kept in odd boxes and suitcases. Based on my on-again-off-again research, I know they contain valuable items (especially the coins), but everything is such a scattered, jumbled mess that organizing it all, never mind researching values has been totally overwhelming. The stamps are especially daunting.
    I’ve hesitated going to any “professional” collectors for help, as I don’t know how to determine who is on the up and up (the reviews I’ve seen run the love-hate gamut, so it’s hard to know whom to trust). I would like to sell a lot of what I have, but I do not want to be taken advantage of for my ignorance. I would so appreciate any advice your readers provide.
    Thanks!
    Stephanie V.

    **********************************
    There are Catholic Missions that collect used stamps………they would be happy to get
    any stamps…..used or unused………..it helps feed the hungry and take care of poor families.
    Jan

  11. These are interesting scenarios Deb but my response to all would be much the same. If all these items were mine I would investigate the possibility of donating the ribbons to a local craft group, the stamps and coins to other collectors and the dresser to a charity that helps families in need.
    In my decluttering journey I have always donated items. It makes me feel better to think these things might bring joy to someone else who may not be able to afford them – and is a salve to my conscience if they were items that I had actually bought myself 🙂

    • I agree with you Megan S, bringing joy to someone else always relieves me of any bad feelings I might have donating stuff.
      Cheers

    • Good way to go Megan S and Wendy F. See below for a longer response to everyone..

  12. I don’t have an answer for everything. If there are children in the family, they might make great investgators for the coins and stamps and they’d learn something along the way. I went through coins left from my parents and found nothing of great value, but I enjoyed sorting them and looking them up. I have a collection of ribbons, not stored as neatly as described. It’s going nowhere fast. The marble top table: I take a picture of it and sell it, giving family the first chance at it.

  13. Ribbons to charity thrift store. I can always buy ONE roll of new ribbon in correct color, width, sheen if and when need arises.
    Ebay the stamps and coins. Give portion of proceeds to a charity my father would have liked.
    Craigslist the dresser. I know grandparents wanted me to actually live well, tied to my future, not their past.
    I have my family’s history in my heart, in my memory from their stories, and the techinical stuff on a family tree flow chart.

  14. This is quite the dilemma. I think for the ribbons, I would have the person who wants to keep them, select a few at a time that they are willing to part with and donate them. I am sure places like assisted living homes or other facilities could use them to do arts and crafts. Passing it on lets you know that it will be put to good use before they lose their luster or worse, dry rot could set in over time. It would take a long time to use up 100 rolls of ribbon after all. As for the stamps, if you don’t care if they are worth anything, give them to someone who would appreciate them. Maybe you could find out if anyone you know has a child or grandchild who collects. As for the coins, offer them to family and if no one wants them, perhaps you could find out if they are worth anything. If they are, sell them, and use the money to do something that you and your mom both would enjoy. If no one in your family wants the dresser, I would also attempt to sell it. You could take a picture of the dresser and send it via email to any reputable antique dealer in your area. If that is too much hassle, then you could give it to someone that you know who would have a need for such an item. Ultimately, it all comes down to how much effort you would like to put into making sure these items find new homes (thru selling or give away). You have shown many years of respect to these items by keeping them, so no need to feel guilty about letting them go, it is just time because they have outstayed their welcome :). Along with the fact that you no longer find them useful or enjoyable anymore for your taste. Of course, as mentioned by many people, the thrift store is always a good option too.

  15. I was really pleased with all of the responses. I think it is fun to see what everyone would do. I know more will respond as the days go by but wanted to put this out for everyone. The issues are all things that we could have to deal with and there are many variables. Jeri B mentions children and I never even though of that because I have none. Yes, among my cousins there are some children but I know that their parents would not want me sending anything their way. They are all trying to cut back not add to.

    The ribbon is an actual problem right now for me. It is mine for the most part but you have to understand that once it comes in the house it is OURS and Mom thinks she should be able to tell me what to do about it. I’ve been putting off the argument until I have found an actual good way to get rid of it. Mom would think I should sell it but I don’t want to have to take the time and effort. I would rather find someone/organization to give it to.

    I do know that in the US you can contact the American Philatelic Society chapter in your area and they will give you the names of trusted stamp dealers. Some even offer a service of looking them over and letting you know which ones have value. When my cousin’s two girls stopped collecting them I packed up those I had been saving and gave them to charity.

    With the coins I looked them all up to see what they were worth and went to the US mint site to see how many had been made. That can tell you a lot about them. I ended up just spending mine except for a few that I knew a friend hadn’t found yet.

    Lucinda, I would have to give it a lot of thought if the stamps were from a childhood collection. Knowing me I would probably lay them all out, take a picture of them, and write up a story about why I collected them and what special meaning they may have had. Then I would only hang on to those with monetary value until I could sell them, get rid of the rest and just have the pictures and story about them. But that’s me and many people are different. Good luck deciding what to do.

    Melissa, I can imagine how fun collecting those little animals once was. I hate putting out the effort for trying to sell anything so would probably try to find a family with children that might like them. I once had a collection of all sorts of small animals and birds. I gradually gave them away to people who liked a particular animal. I hope you are able to figure out what you want to do with them.

    Stephanie V, I’m sorry the collections you inherited are in such disarray. Like you I would find it hard to get them in order so that I even knew what I had. Two things I would advise: 1. ask around to find someone who can help you with each collection as far as giving you advise on the value of things. I would suggest your national philatelic and coin societies. Usually they can give you good advice about who to trust. 2. I would get this done quickly and then get insurance for any that are of value if the value is very much. My uncle had a huge coin collection and it was stolen from his home. He didn’t have it insured so lost it all. His had quite a bit of worth too.

    Oh, the antique dresser we had years ago and we did sell it. No one in the family wanted it so we got a good amount of money for it by selling it.

    You all have had such good thoughts on all of the scenarios. I am enjoying it and I know that others will obtain some good ideas for these types of items.

    Like Dumphy, I have come to the point where I just want to get rid of as much as I can, as quickly and as easy as I can.

    • I’m happy to read that you already decided about most of these!
      I see that you don’t want to make the decision about the ribbons without your mother. However, what I do in such cases is, to make clear to the other person that I would declutter it right away and it is purely because of them that we are keeping it. This usually doesn’t immediately result in decluttering, but sometimes it does eventually. Sometimes the resistance is just that “you can’t do that!” of parents who didn’t quite realize that their child is really done with playing with their former favourite toy instead of a real interest in the thing. Or the person just starts questioning the usefulness for him-/herself when he/she starts seeing it as something that should be useful to him/her instead of just taking it as a given that it is there, because it’s originally mine and he/she assumes I use it after all. Still, if dusting is an issue, I would suggest to get rid of the holder and keep the ribbons at first. Make your point that you use the things so rarely anyway that you don’t need them at hand all the time and needing to dust them, but would be okay putting them in a box. If it’s on the other hand rather the holder your mother is sentimental about, suggest giving away at least a few ribbons.

      • Sanna, you have some good ideas here. For Mom it is that there is money tied up in the ribbon and she has a hard time getting rid of anything we put money into. She seems to forget that much of it was either bought for pennies on the dollar or was given to me. Very little of it was bought at full price.

  16. Deb J – I pretty much agree with all the above. I hear what you’re saying that you pay for something but it becomes ‘ours’ when it arrives in the house. Stamp collections. My grandmother tried to start one for me when I was a girl – she also tried to leave me her teaspoon collection – I dodged the bullet on both of them. I think stamp collections are a bit of an urban myth that they’ll be worth something someday. Sure there are probably some really old ones which are worth a lot but they’d have to be really old and unused. Actually as defeatist as it sounds, I have come to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that anything in my lifetime will ever increase in value over a long time, and so I’m going to go with the bird in the hand theory.

    I think you were right to sell the dresser. Its up to you what you choose to be owner of and therefore responsible for. Sometimes something that we really like just outlives its time with us and suddenly we’re ok for it not to be part of our everyday lives anymore. My cat seems to think he owns me, darned if the dinning room table is getting dibs on me too! 🙂

    You could always try selling the ribbons with the holder on ebay and then use the money to do something nice for you and your mum. LOL have often heard of parents using this technique on their young children, ie if we sell these old toys we can have the money to buy XYZ. Seems to work on the young, why not dange that option to your mum? “With the money we get from these ribbons…..we can go out for dinner or morning tea or (insert whatever treat you think might snag your mum’s attention)”

    • Moni, you are right about the stamp collection. The ones worth something are the ones that have never been circulated, didn’t have a perforation, you have an entire block of them, etc. We have the envelope with stamp from the first air mail stamp and it’s not worth much because they sent out so many. Like you said, there are few things worth much any more. after WWII they glutted the market with merchandise as a way to pay for the war and now we have lots of things out there and they aren’t worth much.

      I have decided to put the ribbon up for sale on our church FB page and see what happens. If my Mom agrees. We can put the money in our chair fund for new dining chairs that are comfortable.

  17. The dresser scenario sounds familiar to me. My Mom gave me her mother’s rocking chair. The chair is broken and was stored in a hot attic for years, so I don’t think there’s any way to save it. I can’t seem to part with it though. I’m not taking care of it – we have it in our crawlspace. I think it’s difficult for me because I was never lucky enough to meet her; she passed away before I was born. It seems disrespectful to just throw it away, but it is ruined. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and think soon I will be able to let it go. I will release the easier items first. I realize this sounds ridiculous. How could I be so attached to a broken chair that’s not even my taste, and was owned by someone I never met???
    I also have 3 of her cake pans and use them often. I would never part with them.

    • Hi, June – Three thoughts came to mind when you described your grandmother’s rocking chair. One, I have had success in parting with things like that (a) if I picture them in the form of the original raw material – for your chair, for example, I would picture the wood or even the tree the wood came from; or (b) if I take them apart. I don’t know why, but these methods take away the mystique that that the item seems to have in its present form. Second, if there is a usable piece of it (for example, the top of the back, where your back or head would rest, or maybe the seat), have it made into something like a key rack or tray for your jewellery, but only if you actually want something like that. The third thing I wanted to suggest is that if you have made the decision to get rid of it but it’s hard for you to do it yourself, ask someone else to take it away and dispose of it. You never need to know the “how” or “where” but only have the relief of it being disposed of. Good luck – sentimental items can be very, VERY hard to deal with!

      • June, Jo H has some really good ideas here. I think what made it easier for me to sell the dresser was that I have other things from the grandmother it came from. Plus I had lots of pictures for made some good scrapbook layouts about her and grandpa.

        My mother has kept a few things from her mother becuase she says they really remind Mom of her. Mom’s mother was one of 10 kids and even into Mom’s early teens never had much of anything. So these few pieces have good memories for Mom. That’s okay with me.

        • Thank you both for your advice. It is good to know I am not the only one that has a hard time with sentimental items. I actually think my Mom gave me the chair because she knows I’m the sentimental one in the family and I would hang on to it. My Dad wanted it out of their house, so Mom passed it on to her sentimental daughter! I especially like the ideas about thinking of it as only wood and considering making something out of a small piece of it. Probably if I take it apart to turn it into something useful, I will see how damaged the wood is and let it go. My husband has offered to take care of getting it out of here so I don’t have to witness the chair’s final demise.

  18. I’ve collected stamps for about 40 years and for me it is just fun. I know I have a few that are worth a few dollars but that isn’t the point. I’m about to start going through and reducing the collection so that I have ones I like or that have meaning (I’m a bird-watcher so I will have a separate collection of bird stamps). Those I don’t want will go to a charity that sells stamps to raise money. On the other hand, my brother-in-law has yet to finish the estate of his father, who died 13 years ago, because he can’t deal with getting rid of the stamp and coin collections. He’s so afraid of losing money by selling them……he’s getting NO money by keeping them. Sad….

    • Wendy B, if you like your collection then I say keep it. It is the collections what were either started for you, willed to you or that you were helping someone else with that can be a real problem. Or if you were only collection them to sell at some point. I know people who have collected stamps they knew would be worth something as a way to have money for their kids college or for a retirement home or some such thing. That’s another good reason to have a collection but you have to know what you are doing.

      It’s too bad your brother-in-law won’t take the collections to reputable dealers and find out what he has. Like you said, he could be sitting on some good money.

  19. Hi Deb! That’s what i would do:
    1 – Ribbons – I’d ask the person who doesn’t want me to donate the ribbons is he/she wants ir and if this person does want it then they have to take it out of this room and keep it on heir own home or space (if it is someone who lives with you). Sometimes people want us yo keep stuff just because. They feel its a waste donating something beautiful or useful; i usually solve this when the person is away or eithout even asking them in the fisrt place if the object in mine.
    2 – Stamps – It may be lazy of me, but i would possibly donate them without having contacted a stamp dealer. Sometimes i feel like i have to go to so much trouble to get rid of something old that may be valuable that i will just donate it so i dont feel overwhelmed.
    3 – Coins – If my father had passed i’d probably choose one really nice coin that was his favorite or that i like better than the others and have it framed. It would be nice to treasure this item and it would take just a small space on the wall. The rest of it i would spend.
    4 – Dresser – This one is tough! If i liked it i would have it modernized so icoukd use it in my bedroom or in a guest room. If i didnt like it and i had children (i dont) i would ask them if they want it for themselves. My point is i would try to keep it in the family if it was possible and i knew it would cherised by the person who kept it. If it wanst wanted,then ii’d sell it.

    Sorry for possible mistakes, my english is not that good.

    • Marina, I think your English is very good. You do better with it that you think. I like your ideas. The one about framing a special coin I never thought of. I made a shadow box of my dad and there is just the right place in it to put a coin. I’m going to do that. Thanks for the idea.

  20. Here is another comment that came via email.

    I would give the ribbons to my local primary school, the stamps to my local library or a second hand bookseller and the coins – I would give to a bank that collects up old/foreign coins for charity or again a primary school. The antique dresser – I would tell family that I was getting rid of it and if anyone wants it they should come and pick it up. Otherwise I would donate it to the Salvation Army or similar charity shop.
    This probably seems a bit brutal but I am getting quite black and white about clutter as I get older and my mantra is to let things go as often as possible 🙂
    Tammy

    • Tammy, I am brutal too. That’s why I sometimes have to give more time to thinking about some things. I don’t usually attach sentimentality to things and that means very little has value to me. It’s all just stuff and I keep only what I need to live. Because of that my mother can get upset easily about some things so I have to take it slow.

  21. Here is another comment that arrived via email.

    Happy to give my input!

    Ribbon and Craft Supply collections:
    I am a seamstress, and when I was just opening up my studio, I gave a discount on repairs and alterations for donations to my supplies. Research local seamstresses and tailors and find out if they will take the items. And maybe while you are there you can get an item of clothing fixed! In my book, making something that was useless useful is just as good as getting rid of trash. Other resources are local theatres and their costume and prop shops – they will often happily take donations in kind and give you a tax receipt. Finally, my mom belongs to a quilting group that keeps a collection for members to use. Find or form a crafting group where you all can pool your collections – the more people who have access to them, the more likely they are to get used!

    Inherited Furniture or Antiques that aren’t your style:
    I’ve talked this over with my mom quite a bit since my sister and I have no first cousins and stand to inherit quite a number of antiques that aren’t really our style. I went through the house with my mom and took pictures of everything that is old enough to be of value. She labelled the photos with origin and identifying information, and is putting together a list of extended family members who may be descendents of the original owners. We have one oil portrait of an ancestor that is done by a famous American painter. It’s valuable but no one has ever really liked it – we’ve determined to give it to the historical society of the city in which the woman in the portrait lived – they have a small museum and gallery and it would be a good addition to their collection. When it comes to furnishings, there are many historical houses that depend on donations in order to restore, furnish, and decorate them for visitors. If you have anything historical, find out if there is a historical society that operates a museum or restored building in your area.

    -Julia

    • Julia, thank you for your good ideas. I have one person who might want the ribbon and if she doesn’t I will try out your idea of looking for a seamstress. My grandmother never told us anything about the dresser we had. My father didn’t remember them having it when he was younger. Because of that we didn’t seek out anyone other than my cousins. Your idea is a good one though. I’m sure there are many local museums that would love to have things like this.