Sentimental Value –What to Keep & What to Let Go Of

Friday, January 22, 2010

Do you have a hard time getting rid of stuff with “sentimental value” around your house? I’ve gotten much better at it, but it used to be really hard for me. I used to be “that girl” who would hang on to the t-shirt my son wore that one time he at an ice cream cone on our vacation to San Diego, because…you know…he wore it while he was eating an ice cream cone and he was really cute. Did I constantly pull out the t-shirt and admire it lovingly? No. Did I have it framed above my bed? No. It sat in a pile of stuff.

Let’s be honest - if something’s really important to you it’s not going to be stuck in a pile of stuff. It’s going to be cared for and either displayed or stored properly. And if it’s not that important to you, why not let it go and allow someone else to enjoy it?

I believe in sentimental value. I hate it when people toss out treasures that belonged to their Grandmother. But at the same time everything can’t have sentimental value. The trick is learning to differentiate the important stuff from the not so important stuff.

What’s Really Important to You?

This answer will probably be different for everyone, but for me there are certain things that I will never get rid of. They include:

  • Photos
  • A small collection of my son’s baby/toddler clothes
  • My pep club uniform
  • A small collection of my son’s childhood artwork
  • A few boxes of my childhood trinkets
  • My journals
  • My grandmother’s goblets and my one place setting of her 1960’s Corningware Dishes that reminds me of eating waffles at her house

What’s Not So Important?

  • My 1993 copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Yes it reminds me of being pregnant, but do I really need it around the house?)
  • A souvenir t-shirt from Disneyland (yes we had a good time, but do I need a t-shirt to remind me of that?)
  • The giant paper mache box that my son made in the 3rd Grade (it’s sat in one closet or another for 6 years - he really doesn’t care about it and I have lots of other reminders of his childhood artwork)

Can you see the difference? Both lists contain items with sentimental value, but the value of the items in the first list is much higher than the value of the items in the second list. And the value of having less clutter around the house and letting someone else enjoy your unneeded items is priceless.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Don’t forget the Organization for LUFF’s (lazy uninspired frugal folks) Party on Monday, February 1st!

13 Suburbanites Said:

Sheila said...

Great job... just keep on keeping it real. I hope you have some plans for this weekend :)


mommy2luke2008 said...

I really have the hardest time with this. We bought my Grandmothers house after she passed away. With the house we got most of her things. I have lived there for over 5 years now and am just now starting to decorate it how I want it...before I felt guilty for changing anything. It is hard to get rid of things that were hers. I feel like I need to keep everything...but after we had our son...we don't have room for everything. It is getting easier and I'm glad to hear that someone else has trouble with this. I read somewhere that if you keep something that you don't use then you are keeping it from it rightful owner. That helps me get rid of things. Thanks for this post.

Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! said...

I'm usually good about letting stuff go (items). Photos of course are important to me but objects depending on what they are are different.

Until recently I never had an issue getting rid of clothing that I didn't wear. I gave it to charity without thinking twice. My mother passed away in 2008 and while cleaning out my closet I found a few sweaters that in 2007 I would have gotten rid of in a heartbeat, right now I can't bear to. Maybe next year right?

I have a feeling I'll never wear them again, and someone else will be able to keep warm with them but in my mind right now all I can think about is her face when I smiled and she knew I like them. *sap* :)

AnNicole@Our Suburban Cottage said...

Wow - you are some wise women. Thanks so much for your comments.

Sheila - I promise to do something besides paint and organize this weekend :).

"mommy" - great advice.

Kelly - I'm so sorry about your mother. I think you're completely entitled to keep a few sweaters that remind you of happy memories of her. You'd better believe that I'd be hoarding all kinds of stuff that reminded me of my mom if I was in your shoes :).

Mrs. Darnell said...

I totally agree with you about all that stuff however, my husband is a different story! He had collected (is it really a collection?) 60some t-shirts since he was in elementary school. He had a very hard time parting with these (we are a military family and our household weight is limited). Instead of tossing them, I cut them up in 12X12 squares until I had the correct number for a quilt. They were recycled this last month into a cool throw quilt. Kinda fun! Thanks for your blog, I love stopping.

Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said...

For the Disney t-shirt, I might be able to give the shirt away if I framed a pic of him from that vacation (maybe even eating ice cream, if one exists.) Then the rest of your family can enjoy that memory, too.

For some things I use the Peter Walsh (from Clean Sweep) rule -if you can't keep the object, keep a picture of it. That way I can still remember it that really cool clock that I remember waking up to as a girl, but I don't have to store it. It's large. And, pink. LOL.

Thanks for the pointers :)
Love the site.

Unknown said...

Good point! I probably don't keep enough - I have a feeling I'm gonna regret that one day....

I'm having a party that day, too - an "Inspired Ideas" party, so you can knock-off whatever catalog you want! Maybe I can work it out to link up to yours, too!

Wendy said...

Ah yes, the pep club uniform. ;-) My mom has my pep club uniform and a collection of my cheerleading uniforms, just waiting for me to take them. Maybe it's time. I think my daughter would get a kick out of them.

Kelley said...

If we really live in the moment, we will have solid memories and we won't need the "stuff" that goes with them. Thanks for the topic.

Melanie said...

I only keep a few things too. I have a chair and table of my grandmothers but NOT her glass pinl flamigo. I kept my husband's grandfathers rocking chair and I keep photos. I think your memories on in your head. I like your list.

Unknown said...

How unbelievably true!! Why have china if you're not going to use it?? Loved this post :)

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

That is all so true. I struggle with this as well, although, like you I'm better than I used to be about getting rid of sentimental things. I like the idea of taking a photo of things the kids make, and keep the photo while getting rid of the thing itself.

Keep up the good work.

Lori said...

I used to be such a hangontoit kind of person but by watching shows like Clean Sweep and Hoarders I have been cured! I do have a few pieces that I am hanging on to and have gathered some clothing that hold certain sentimental value and hope to make a quilt. Love your list.


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