Monday, March 12, 2012
Are you sentimentally attached to clutter?
I closed out my father's house last year after he moved into assisted living. So, I have stuff that he kept from WWII, from my grandfather's cattle farm, from my late aunt, and from my late mother, as well as things that people have given to me or that remind me of my children's childhood or that dear hubby and I acquired at some meaningful occasion.
Since girlhood, I have been a sentimental clutterer. I kept a bulletin board in my room on which I pinned movie tickets from dates or outings with friends, corsages that dried nearly to dust, and, once, the string of a hot air balloon which I kept until it had almost no more air left in it. Those things are long gone, but I have the new equivalent.
Of course, some sentimental treasures are worth keeping. I still have my husband's letters from when we were engaged, and he went to another city to begin his work, while I waited behind until we married. I also have cards and letters he has given me through the years. Those are staying put. I also do have some antiques that I will keep.
Sentimentality toward clutter can come in a number of ways:
1) Sometimes, people hold on to objects that even have negative responses associated with them.
2) Sometimes, people hang on to objects out of guilt. For example, if someone gives you something, you may feel obligated to keep it. Perhaps, you never wanted it in the first place. Perhaps, you once did, but it no longer fits your home.
3) Sometimes, people hold onto objects because they associate them with happy times and people whom they love.
None of the above is necessarily right or wrong. However, if clutter like this does get in the way of your lifestyle or becomes a burden, it's time to whittle it down. For the sentimental person, deciding what to keep and what to throw can create a little anxiety. It's best to remember that, in the end, it's only stuff, and it is not equivalent to people, memories, or our personal identity.
(Don't forget to leave a comment on http://tennesseemoment.blogspot.com by April 10th to be entered in a drawing to receive a copy of my historical novel, "A Tree Firmly Planted".