Archive | November 4, 2021

Sentimental clutter

Do you hang onto things for sentimental reasons? Or because of gift-receiver guilt?

Mr S is very sentimental. And part of that involves holding onto things FOREVER. Here’s some of his reasons to not let go of things for sentimental reasons.

You can’t throw that out:

  • you’ve had it for years
  • I’ve had it for years
  • it’s from – our wedding, my first job, my childhood, my first…,
  • it was a gift from my mother, a student, someone, …

Recent things, Mr S objected to my decluttering:

The cummerbund and matching bow tie he wore at our wedding. It’s such a classic 1990s Laura Ashley floral print. It has never been, and will never be, worn again. Except for fancy dress. Surely you can remember the day without the clothing? Which you can’t see anyway as they’ve been kept in a box under the house for 15 years! [Result: given to school drama department for costume wear.]

Eldest son’s baby tooth. I found it in my drawer. Asked son if he wanted it. He threw it in the bin just as Mr S walked in, knowing something was afoot. “But you’ve had it for so long. You can’t throw it away now.” I don’t need parts of his body to remember him! And hanging onto the tooth because I’ve never tossed it earlier doesn’t make it more valuable. “But I have my tooth stuck in my baby book.” [Upshot: son felt guilty at upsetting his dad so took the tooth out of the bin. But a week later, tossed it again.]

Two money tins. But they were gifts for the boys from Carl Murphy. And you can’t get them anymore. The boys don’t want them. Carl is dead and even if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t care (or remember) if the boys didn’t keep them for 20 years. And you can pick them up off FB Marketplace for $5. [Result: gifted on the FB Buy Nothing site.]

My advice to Mr S on how to deal with sentimental clutter?

  • Don’t over sentimentalise every thing. You can hold memories in your head for ever.
  • Limit the actual items you hold onto – such as to fit in a certain space. I’ve given him a couple of small boxes. God knows where he’s put them.
  • Take a photo.
  • Will our children want to sort through this when you die or we go into a smaller place? (He won’t think about the former and says the latter will never happen. Classic denial.)