“Our minds tend to exaggerate the value of things related to remembrance.” ~ Juhli
The quote above is from a comment I received from one of our readers, Juhli, a while back and wow never a truer word has been written. Do you own lots of items that hold some sort of personal historical sentimental value to you? This is normal for most people so don’t think you are strange if you do, but that is the point. We collect these things because it is the norm of our society. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with preserving history but, if you are serious about decluttering, this is a practice best limited to items of significant value not every little souvenir collected on vacation, programs from every choir concert your children have ever been involved in or every item acquired at the passing of a loved one.
When on my recent vacation I took some time out one day to pamper myself with a wash, cut and straighten of my hair. The trainee hairdresser was very nice and we chatted about lots of things. After telling her I was on vacation in Texas from Australia she asked what I had bought in the way of souvenirs while there. She was almost mortified when I told I would be leaving with none. “Oh, but you have to have a souvenir to remind you of your time in Texas!” she insisted. “No I really don’t.” was my reply and I went on to tell her about my blog and explain that is why I don’t buy souvenirs. I think she was still not convinced of my conviction but she liked the idea of my blog nevertheless.
This story just goes to show that buying and saving items to remind us of good times is not just the norm but if ones doesn’t conform to this behaviour you risk appearing strange to the “normal” people out there. My response to this is ~ once upon a time this wasn’t the norm. The norm used to be that only significant items were valued and handed down through the generations within a family. It is partly consumerism and merchandising that has suckered us into conforming to this new habit. And you are playing right into the manufacturers and retailers hands when you participate.
Also these days people own so much that when loved ones pass the generation next in line ends up with loads of items of little value except that they belonged to the now passed loved one. We then feel either obliged to keep these items or overly sentimental about them. Once again, if you are serious about decluttering it is best to limit the number of these kinds of items. Keep the best and declutter the rest. It isn’t betrayal it is just sensible. The person who used to own them would likely wonder why, were they up there looking down on us.
Then there are those programs from the choir concerts of our children, their cute drawings and examples of school work etc. Sure keep the significant ones to share with the kids when they are older but don’t be keeping boxes and boxes of them. I am sure your children wouldn’t thank you for it. They will enjoy the ones with funny stories you can relate to them and perhaps a sample of their scholastic talents through the years but they don’t want to plough through pages and pages of this stuff. You don’t need to keep every certificate they ever received either unless it is significant or useful for their future.
So what I am saying is limit the accumulation of remembrance clutter because once we attach too much sentimental value to it, it become difficult to let go of. But don’t despair if you have already saved an overabundance because with a little conviction you can change your mindset on what is important and what isn’t. Remember what I said yesterday about want v want and cull according to your ultimate declutter goal and don’t let over-sentimental feeling get it the way. Believe me the memories will endure without the clutter to back them up.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter an odd souvenir or novelty item that was acquired on the spur of the moment and is still cluttering up a shelf somewhere.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here is an example from the days when we used to buy pointless souvenirs while on vacation. This one was bought in Berlin and although it is supposed to be a genuine piece of he Berlin Wall I have grave doubts that it actually is. Either way we don’t really need it and I am sure there are plenty of examples of this significant moment in history preserved in museums all over the world and it is unlikely that we are going to forget having visited there.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Another beautiful sunny day, soaking up the rays while going for a walk and crossing of lots of things in my to do list.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast