I know I have written about this subject before but it is one of those issues that are worth revisiting every now and again. Especially for those struggling with it or who have only recently started reading my blog and don’t have the time or inclination to start at the beginning. I know I wouldn’t have that sort of time up my sleeve.
I think most people who read my blog would have a certain number of true sentimental items in their home. These items are often things like baby ID bands, a child’s old teddy, the glasses you toasted with at your wedding, Grandma’s engagement ring… We all have special things that we feel we will never part with. There is nothing wrong with keeping these items after all we are decluttering our homes and if these items are dear to us then they aren’t clutter.
However there is are another kind of “sentimental” clutter that can pervade your homes. These are items that we fear have more sentimental value to someone else and we are only keeping them to avoid feelings of guilt or betrayal. Or to avoid that awkward moment when the person who gave it to you notices it is gone. Sometimes this may be true but quite often it is a fear dreamed up in our own mind and the other person involved really wouldn’t care or even remember that they gave it to you in the first place.
Take a look around your home in fact grab a pen and make a list of the sentimental items in your home that you would rather not keep. I am sure you can probably list them all without even looking. These objects are often easy to identify. They are the items that you feel obliged to keep even though they have outlived their usefulness to you or perhaps in some cases never actually had any in the first place. They are usually items given to you as a gift, an heirloom that has been handed down through the family or something made for you by another well meaning person.
The good news is it is actually possible to part with these items with minimal damage to your relationship with the giver. I have managed to give away many such things during my decluttering mission. And believe it or not I have not lost one loved ones affection because of it. Here are a list of some of those items…
- A calendar holder my father made for me – It was very nice and I am sure another person would love to have it. It soon became apparent that it was not suitable for my needs because I couldn’t turn the pages with out taking it off the wall and pulling the calendar out. I am a person who likes to write my appointments on my calendar and this was just too difficult with this style of holder.
- A silver tea set my parents gave me for my 21st birthday – I just didn’t like to clean it and it only ever sat there looking pretty and was never used to serve tea.
- A crystal duchess set my sister gave me for my 21st birthday – It is a bit dated now and I haven’t used it for years.
- A wooded 21st birthday key plaque my Godfather made me – It has warped over the years of varied weather in the multitude of places we have live and would no longer hang straight on the wall.
- A granny rug made by my husbands grandmother which didn’t suit my decor.
- Wine glasses given to us at our wedding.
- A bead spinner my MIL gave me – I actually gave it back to her and she was happy to have it.
- Shot glasses that were my Grandmother’s – I gave them to a friend of the family who collects shot glasses.
- And that engagement ring of my grandmother’s ~ Although I had no plan to let it go it occurred to me last year that my sister is more inclined to wear such things so I decided to give it to her. She was very pleased.
I am sure there are many more things but I can’t think of them right now. Yes I did feel a little guilty parting with some of them and yes I had to give it some serious thought before doing so and yes all of the people involved still talk to me. No most of them wouldn’t even realise that the items are gone and if they do so they aren’t so rude to ask. And no I do not regret it because I should not have to keep something I don’t want in my own home.
So don’t be confused between sentimental value and obligation. If there is something in your home that you no longer and maybe never did want you have every right to remove it. Hand it on to someone else who will appreciate it more. In some cases that may mean handing an heirloom on to someone else within the family. In another case you may want to offer the item back to the person who gave it too you. Maybe you can sell the item or maybe donate it to charity. Either way you should not feel obliged to keep it there.
TODAY’S MINI MISSION
Allow yourself to declutter something someone gave you, that you don’t really want, but have hung onto out of obligation.
ECO TIP OF THE DAY
If you have a garden purely for aesthetic reasons why not grow plants that require little or no watering. Purifying water uses a lot of energy and chemicals so the less we waste the better.