Decluttering Sentimental STUFF

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Last week, I attended a webinar by Rachel Jones of Nourishing Minimalism. The focus was on letting go of sentimental items.

Easy peasy, I thought. I’d let go of most of that stuff years ago.  After my mother died in 2001, my sisters and I went through her belongings and trashed or donated all but a few things. I have her Mother’s Ring (do they even make those anymore?) and a stupid turquoise umbrella with a wooden ducks head as the handle. I wear the ring occasionally and use the umbrella when it rains. I’d had this decluttering business down pat. Or so I thought.

There was one item I’d held on to for nearly 14 years. I wore it once, Thanksgiving Day, 2001. That was the first holiday I spent away from my family. It was also the first holiday after my mother died. It was therefore a crucial time for family togetherness.

What could possibly pull me away from family on this day?

It was an important Thanksgiving for the entire nation. We were wounded and bewildered. Thousands died on Sept. 11, 2001 and hundreds if men and women spent the holiday cleaning up the debris.

It was them I wanted to serve. So, that Thanksgiving, I worked at the Ground Zero Respite Center, feeding the hungry workers. This was the best way I could honor the fallen and honor my mother’s memory.

It was still a dangerous area and all volunteers had to wear a hard hat, even if they worked indoors like I did. I took that hat home along with a few other items as a “reminder.”

For years the hat:

  • Sat in the back of my car
  • Lay buried in a closet
  • Moved with me as I moved into a new home and settled into married life.

Unlike my mother’s umbrella and ring, I was not using the hard hat for anything. It no longer served a purpose.

Why was I even keeping it? Quite frankly, I was afraid I would forget the experience. Yet keeping the item and not using it doesn’t honor the experience I had.

This morning I made a decision and took action. I needed to keep a physical manifestation of the experience, yet I could not justify keeping the actual item.

So I took several pictures of it
. One if which is at the top of the post.
I can frame the picture or I can simply save it on my laptop or phone.

After the pictures were done, I kissed the hard hat, thanked it for its service and threw it in the dumpster.

2 Replies to “Decluttering Sentimental STUFF”

  1. It’s so hard to let go of sentimental things sometimes. My mom has given me a lot of lovely things, and I can’t possibly keep all of them. But when I realized I was sentimental cleaning out the stuff, I realized that I should just call her! The time I spend organizing things and weeping over memories can be spent investing in a person who is still in my life!

    Like

    1. That’s the best way to look at it, as far as I’m concerned. Spend time with the ones you love NOW, instead of weeping over the past. Today would have been my mom’s 80th birthday, and instead of mourning her passing, I am honoring her memory by wearing her ring. All day long I have been reminded of her. Life is good. 🙂

      Like

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