Saving Sentimenal Things

I have been getting many comments from people who are concerned about getting rid of things.  The two arguements being sentimental value and possible future use.  In this post I'm going to examine the sentimal value arguement.  Lilycatherine wrote:
I appreciate your point of view and see merit and value to it. BUT, I am much older than you and have a different perspective. Most of my life is spent and most of my family gone. My treasure is an old egg bucket that my grandmother used when I was a child as we walked hand and hand into her hen house to gather eggs. There is the orange carnival glass dish from my other grandma, and the beautiful marble topped sideboard from my late in-laws.....wonderful crocks and spatter ware from my Mother, every piece is a memory of someone dear to me. It is a beautiful and comforting trove of treasure. So give it a little thought if you are looking at tossing something from someone that was given with love, and good luck to you.
I agree, lilycatherine, some items do have sentimental value. I have quite a few of them too. 

I am 29 and I value my past. The carefully chosen things I keep show my commitment to continuing family traditions and keeping memories alive. What I am learning is:

I value what I have more when there is less of it.

I also understand that not everyone is ready or willing to sort through everything in their house.  The purpose of sharing my story has been to stir the pot. And to show by example that living with less isn't a sacrifice.  Choosing to live with less is a mindful evaluation of stuff and the social norms surrounding the accumulation of stuff. 

I'm glad you have the egg bucket and the crocks in your home.  I hope you use them and enjoy them. 

If you were to walk into our apartment today you would find quite a few items that are from my grandparents or my husband's grandparents.  Most of our furniture was inherited or made for me by family. We have a whole set of carnival glass casseroles and custard cups from Jeff's grandma. I used one of the custard cups for cereal this morning.  The round casserole is in the fridge holding leftover scalloped corn.

My quest to reduce what I own by one third isn't about sending heirlooms to Goodwill.  I'm more interested in removing the cheap plastic items from my life; the half melted spatulas, the plates from Target, clothes that don't fit.

If I have family items I'm not using, I am offering them back to my family before donating them. It gives our family a chance to discus each item and think about why we have kept it and make a decision rather than passively letting clutter build up.

I hope the things we donate go to a families that needs them and will put these objects to good use; much better than sitting forgotten in my cabinets.


  1. So I have to ask about the luggage. Are you keeping it? The ones with the initials?

    I like what you're doing. Except the part about the books. I can't handle that yet. But we had our apartment renovated and we basically had to move everything out and then move back in. It looks so freakin' nice in our home now, so I've been on the warpath with trying to keep it looking good. Tossing crap and really trying to decide what is sentimental and what isn't. I started FlyLady, too. My kitchen is no longer an embarrassment, and I intend to do dishes every night in 2011 so long as there is breath in my body. It is so much easier to be clean when I'm not cluttered.

  2. Foy,

    Thank you for your musings as a reminder that we are all different and have to find our own way in this life. This is a great thought to have especially this time of year. Sentiments differ but we can all agree that the joy is in the journey.

    I hope you are having fun deciding what to do with your "stuff", we always do. We are on the lessening trend as well. Feels better right now.


  3. I completely agree with you... I am 31 and I feel overwhelmed when I have too many "things" in my home. The things I toss out and the things I keep are carefully chosen. I have many beautiful glass items (and carnival glass, I LOVE carnival glass!) from my grandmother and my husband's grandmother, for example, that I plan to hang on to and pass on to my own children someday. But many other knick knacks that come and go over the years are less essential to me. Good for you for donating the items that you no longer wish to keep, so that they may brighten someone else's day. Especially this time of year, it is so necessary. I'm working on a donation right now myself!

  4. I'm 27 and not even own a house yet, but I have stuffs in my apartment more than some house. I need to think about the important of each item now. Thanks for the post :)

  5. I too hold on to items given to me as gifts by people who meant something to me. The items I was happy to be rid of were the gifts from my ex-husband or old boyfriends who turned out to be not such nice guys after all. Then there's plain old junk, such as clothes and shoes that no longer fit or are worn out, or items that are broken, no longer work, or obsolete, like VHS videos. And last, but not least, are the, "What was I thinking when I bought this?" The latter goes to charity where it can be used and appreciated by others.

  6. I'm 30, hubby is 43 and we have years of accumulated "stuff" we no longer need, want, use, or care for. It's been a slow process for us but gradually we're getting rid of things and downsizing.

    Some things are hard to get rid of because of the emotional/sentimental value in them (for me, it's furniture my dad gave me). Others are easy to get rid of like stuff from my ex-husband. I keep parts of it because it is my past and I like a reminder of how far I've come but most is just stuff that needs to hit the donate bin or the garbage bin.

    Good for you for making such progress! It feels like a good sized weight being lifted off your shoulders doesn't it? Even emotionally you feel 100 pounds lighter as you toss out the old.

    I wish you all the best with this project and in life.

  7. Funny how people feel the need to "discuss" your decision with you or their decision to agree, disagree or explain why they do.

    I am enjoying sharing your endeavor.

  8. My father unexpectedly died recently and my brother and I were faced with the task of cleaning out his apartment in just under a week (I live out of province and my brother is out of the country). That was one of the most daunting tasks I could ever have gone through but right from the beginning we set boundaries: What we would keep and was non-negotiable, negotiable and we'd talk about it and that which didn't matter to either of us (Dad's everyday clothes). It was hard but having my brother there with me made it so much easier.

    I think you need to know, going in what you are willing to part with and not attach a sentimental value to it when you logically know one does not exist.

  9. I think you are wonderfully mindful of what you are keeping and am so glad. Grandma's egg bucket is still used. I bring tomatoes and other things from my garden inside with it and my little grandson's like to haul their toys in it. Most everything I use occasionally. About 15 years ago I gave my 3 most prized and oldest glass pieces to my sons as Christmas gifts. Now I visit them but they have stayed in the family. Again good luck to you.