It’s in everyone’s home. It’s in the attic, in the garage, under a bed, in a closet, you try to contain it somewhere away from the home but you can’t escape it.
I’m not talking about the regular stuff, clothes, books, old shoes and that endless stack of old tv guides, getting rid of those is easy (usually). I want to talk about the hard stuff, keepsakes, mementos, and family heirlooms. Looking around my place I realized I had a lot of things that I was no longer emotionally attached too, as Marie Kondo would say, they weren’t bringing joy anymore. Things like: my old baby quilt, Mom’s old dish sets, Mom’s old high school yearbooks, my cat’s urns and ashes, and other such stuff. So if these things aren’t bringing me joy, and some have been stored in boxes not having seen the light of day in over ten years, why am I having so much trouble letting go?
Storing for the sake of emotional storing
I read a few articles and some other blog posts about this same topic. They talked about how today’s generation doesn’t want their parents or grandparents stuff and that we are coming into a time of down-sizing and minimalism. What they didn’t talk about was how to cope with the emotional side of moving things on from deceased family or from family still living. I was going through some emotions.
I felt guilty about letting them go. So guilty in fact that I thought about renting a storage unit to move them into so I can keep storing them and have more space. I wasn’t keeping these things because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to. I didn’t want to feel guilty or deal with people getting upset with me for getting rid of them. I wasn’t using them, heck I didn’t even remember half the stuff I was storing under my bed, so obviously I didn’t love them. I am storing things for the sake of storing things.
I felt I would be disrespecting my family by just dropping them off at the goodwill’s doorstep, or worse, throwing them away. So what should I do? I decided to pray about it. when in doubt ask God! Here’s what God says:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures of heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
That last part, where my treasure is there my heart will also be, well I can tell you my heart is not in my closet or under my bed. It’s time to move on. But how?
Letting go and Looking for options
Now here’s the thing, if you have an immediate family member you know you can pass these things on to that’s great, but what if you don’t? I am an only child, I am not married and I have no children. I’m 41 years old now and I am pretty sure my baby-making ship has sailed (I’m still holding out for the husband though!). So I am left with either donating them or selling them or just giving them away to friends or extended family. I contacted my family and asked them their feelings about me moving the things on they had given me that I no longer wanted or used. To my surprise, they were fine with it and were touched that I even thought to ask them first. I also went online to check for options. Here is what I’ve done so far.
I am passing down my baby quilt to my cousin’s baby daughter. I called my Mother’s old high school and they would be glad to add her old yearbooks to the school library. I’ve decided to donate my Mother’s old dishes to the American Cancer society’s thrift shop. I will be taking my cat’s ashes to Oregon and sending them down the river, literally. As for the rock shaped urns, I will remove the name plagues and create a memory shadow box to hang on the wall with their little bits and bobs I’ve collected. I am still looking for new homes for some of the other things ( anyone interested in some porcelain wizard of oz dolls?).
If you still feel wrong about donating your family heirlooms and things, even though you’d really like to move them on, keep this in mind: Your unwanted stuff is someone else’s treasure, which gives these things new life.
As a kid, I wanted so badly to put those wizard of oz dolls on my dresser and that quilt on my bed, but my Mom said no. She was so afraid I would break them or ruin them. So she stored them thinking one day she’d buy me a fancy curio for the dolls and fame the quilt to hang on the wall. Well, one day never came and my Mother passed away at the age of 46. I’m still storing those things. Our future is not guaranteed. So stop storing and start using, don’t worry if it breaks or gets ruined, that only means those things were loved.
I am so excited about my choices so far, I get to see my Mom’s high school when I drop off those yearbooks, The money from the purchase of her old dishes goes to research cures for the very cancer that took her life, my cat’s ashes will be returned to the earth in the town where I adopted them, and the quilt gets to stay in the family. My choices may not suit you or your things, and that’s ok. Take your time and do what feels right for you. I’ve decided it’s more important to love the people in my life and not the stuff in my life. I have plenty of great memories and photos of my mother and my cats, I don’t need stuff to remember them by. I hope this helps you with your de-cluttering journey!!
Love and Blessings,
If you like this post please follow me here or on my Facebook page at fb.me/myfaithblog78