Monday, August 24, 2009

Memento or Useless Item?

What am I doing today?

Well, I set the timer to make sure I spent at least an hour sorting through things in the garage and tidying.

There are four or five boxes of stuff in there that are full of things taken from my parents' house on the day we left it.  Liz is going through some old slides, seeing if there are some we should save.  My parents traveled a lot and there are a lot of pictures.

It's hard for me to throw things out.  I am sentimental.  And I tend to hoard.  I never know if I'm hoarding or treasuring a family memory.  I never know if I'm throwing out something that's of no use to anyone anymore or throwing out an irreplaceable memento.

Here is Liz's rule on the slides.  If' it's scenery with no people we know in it, throw it out.  If it's a good picture of Grandma or Grandpa or some other family member or family friend, keep it.  She keeps calling me, "Mom!  Look at this one!" or "Mom, here's a picture of Grandpa." or "Hey, Mom, do you know these people?"

But we HAVE gotten rid of a lot of stuff.

It's hard.  There's the step stool that always sat in my mother's kitchen.  We're all short.  We used that thing all the time.  It's so familiar that it feels like I should hang on to it.  But I have no room for it in my kitchen.  And, after all, it's just a step stool.

There's the chair my grandmother (my grandmother, mind you, not even my mother) always sat in when she played the piano.  My father kept it when she died and then my parents had it in their house.  Now that sounds pretty sentimental, doesn't it?  But my family room and living room are full of furniture that belonged to my mother and grandmother.  I mean, there's no more room.  I have given quite a bit to my adult children.... 

Maybe I need to remember that these are things, not the people themselves.  May my dear departed loved ones rest in peace.  May I keep what is truly important and discard what is really not meaningful to anyone. 

Sheesh.  This doesn't come to me easy.


Teresa said...

I am sentimental too and so I get it, get much. I have only allowed myself just a few certain smaller things for the most part. I think when we had made the move from Memphis to here, it broke down some of the "sentimentality." I guess that alone had to do it and then they moved here, but some things..even their furniture didn't mean the same because we were so far removed from the city I grew up in too, you know?
Anyway, Alexa tells us that she is not all that sentimental..maybe you and I need some lessons from her on just how to go about doing that better! What do you think? :)

Suzanne said...

Ahhh! I'm sorry..I wish Teresa and I would get this straight..the last post was from me..Suzanne, of course!
Everyday she leaves for work and doesn't sign herself out..then I go to read posts and comment and forget..she's still signed in. I asked her to sign herself out...she forgets..vicious circle. It wasn't like this before till a couple of months ago and its ALL the time now. I don't know why one of us doesn't get it. I know..I will tape a note next to the computer..lets see if it doesn't fix this soon! Thanks for everyone's patience!
I ran out a long time ago! Ha!

Sarah - Kala said...

I know it's hard! God bless you and comfort you as you let go.

n said...

It *is* really hard to let the 'things' go - especially when they bring back such memories. I'm wondering ... when you're done with the unpacking, sorting and giving away is there some way you can preserve the memories? A scrapbook? A journal? Something that would be easy to store and a pleasure to use to help you recall the people whose things you are sorting.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Suzanne, I knew right away it was you and not Teresa. Now, it doesn't really matter. So don't worry about it. Yes, after already moving it I can see that it would be a little easier.
Thank you, Sarah!
n, that's a good idea. I could definitely do that for the pictures and things like that.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. I am very sentimental too. This is going to gross everyone out who reads this, but i still have the clip that was taken off the umbilical cord of my daughter when she was a baby...and there is still some unbilical attached.

Sounds sick, i know...i just couldn;t bring myself to get rid of a bit of my baby!

Now you will never talk to me again....


I think it is refreshing that you wrote about the chair, that is just a isn't the person...

There are memories associated with items, but the memories are still there even when the item in question is not. Perhaps you could write a little booklet, maybe take a picture of the item and stick it in, with a few word about the memories associated with it?

that might be another way of keeping, while not keeping, if you know what i mean :-)

Salome Ellen said...

I have really benefited from the "emotional withdrawal" rule. Anything you can't quite bear to give up goes in a box or(opaque)bag marked "Emotional Withdrawal" and given a date six months ahead. When the date comes, if you haven't gone and gotten whatever out because you REALLY needed/wanted it, the box or bag goes to the curb unopened.

Ruthann Logsdon Zaroff said...

I am overly sentimental. I knew I was being ridiculous when I saved a HAIR CURLER from my mom! a HAIR CURLER!!! That is absolutely nuts!

I finally learned to deal with my mom's things in the following way: For each item that was essentially worthless (except MAYBE for "sentimental value") I asked myself, what would my MOTHER say if I saved this? If I figured that she would laugh at me, I tossed it out (which is how I finally parted with the hair curler!).

We have a tiny house, and I know that my mom would not want me to be shackled with piles of stuff that had nothing but sentimental value.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Ellen, whoa. Don't know if I could do that.
Deb, it doesn't sound sick. I'm embarrassed to tell everything I still have saved.
Ruthann, yeah, I know what my mom would say. She was VERY good at throwing things out. That's a good thought. Will I see you at the gala?

Hey, everyone, Blogger has locked down my blog until it can confirm that it is not a "spam blog." I'm not kidding. So I can't post anything. If they give me the go-ahead I should be up again in two days. I don't get it.

Mimi said...

I'm also sentimental but remember to take photos of the items that you don't keep, write a note about what about it was sentimental, and donate without any shame or guilt.