02 April 2014

Keep or Donate?

I recently cleaned out my Grandma's house and donated many of her household items to the local hospice thrift store. I've made so many trips to that store that they now know me by name. A couple of weeks ago, I loaded up my SUV with the last set of boxes and had a little bit of extra room, so I thought I'd rummage through the oodles of boxes in our own basement and see what else I could donate. One of these days I'll get back to the big organization project I started last winter!

So I opened up a dusty box of stuff I've kept for a very long time. As I dug through it, I was surprised at how little I could remember about the contents! Okay, if you can't remember why you're keeping something, then perhaps it doesn't need to be kept, right?

In addition, when you're trying to decide whether or not to keep an item, you really should consider who gave it to you -- even if you don't love it. When getting ready for my parents' auction last fall, I wish I had given more weight to this factor. I let go of a couple of items I wish I'd kept, not because I had any attachment to the objects themselves, but simply because of who gave them to me.

So with those considerations in mind, I began looking through the box. Here's a little porcelain figurine that someone probably gave me at my high school graduation. Hmmm...should I keep? NOPE! DONATE!

 Next up: A porcelain figurine of a red-haired girl playing the piano. I'm sure the giver thought the girl resembled me, and perhaps that was true at some point. Do I need this or want to display it in my house? Nope. DONATE!

   Here's something I actually remember fondly: A cool necklace from second grade! I had the most GROOVY second grade teacher EVER. She wore long skirts (called maxi dresses) and beaded scarves tied around her hair. I wanted to be just like her. (Maybe I still do.) KEEP.

 Deep in the box I found a set of black plates on stands, a small bamboo saucer, and a decorative hair thingy. For the life of me, I cannot remember why I have any of these items. But I do know that whatever meaning they once had is long gone, so the decision was easy. DONATE.

Next I found this perfume decanter. I vaguely remember that it belonged to me but cannot recall where I got it. Would I ever consider using it? Nope! DONATE!

But by far the best item I discovered in that box was this small loaf of French bread. This is actually a real loaf of bread which I brought home from France on my first trip in HIGH SCHOOL!  It is hard as a rock and perfectly preserved. Petrified, I guess you could say. In spite of my daughter's objections (EWWW, MOM!)...
Definitely KEEP!

So here's my advice: If you pick up an object and it holds no appeal or meaning for you, consider it a good candidate for donation. Just take a picture before letting go of it, so at the very least you can look back on it and scratch your head, thinking, "What the heck is this and why did I hang onto it for so long?" 

On the other hand, if the object transports you back to another time and place -- like riding in the back of the bus on your second grade field trip or your first visit to a Paris bakery -- you might consider hanging onto it. 

Just for old time's sake.


Heather said...

Great post! I cleaned out a closet and had a yard sale just last weekend. Some of the things I let go of had sentimental value at one time, but it was time to let go. I have a hard time letting go of some things, so I had to be tough with myself. In the end, getting rid of all that clutter felt good!

Janet said...

It is a GREAT feeling clearing out clutter! But I'm with you, Heather...very sentimental and I have a hard time giving up things because I'm always afraid I'll lose the memory with the object. Taking pictures has helped me a bunch. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Kristina said...

Good advise Janet!