18 June 2012

It's Not Just Stuff

Of course because it's now Spring all the magazines and talk shows are having features about Spring Cleaning!!!  (their emphasis, not mine)

I swear if I hear "Get rid of sentimental clutter" one more time, you are going to see me on Good Morning America shouting them down.

I blame Oprah for this.  Years ago she had a show about Use Your Good China! Throw out your child's drawings! Why are you keeping that cup that was your grandmas? she doesn't live in it.

I think that sentimental items give comfort. I think that items remind us of who we are and where we've come from.

Yes, keeping that ugly rabbit from my childhood isn't helping me any but it isn't hurting me either.  I see no benefit from getting rid of it.  I'm not a hoarder.  It's not holding me back from living a grown-up, fulfilled life.

I just imagine people tossing out/giving away items from their past on impulse and deeply regretting it later.

My mother-in-law is a good example.  Now that she's older and her memory is starting to go, some of her things have gotten more important to her.  They have become a talisman of sorts.  Or a physical reminder of someone or something important that she would might have forgotten otherwise.

Or even I am a good example.  I have very few things from my extended family.  A dish here, a picture there.  Because we did not spend time with any of our family members, what I do have is important to me.

To say that "It's just stuff" is actually offensive to me.  I know, there are examples of people keeping things that are holding them back.  But the articles and the talk shows are geared toward us "normal" folk.

I also believe that every kid should have a box of stuff from their childhood or that has been passed down from their parents or grandparents.  We live in such a digital, disposable society now that I think we have to make an effort to keep stuff, not throw it away.

1 comment:

Swistle said...


My mom and I have a cheezy expression we use to determine the difference between "Stuff we keep because it's special to us" and "Stuff we keep because we feel obligated to store it even though we don't like it or care about it," and the expression is "Does it bless or oppress?" I know. But it's helpful. I look at the silverplate flatware from my grandparents that even my grandparents never used, and I think "OPPRESS." But I look at my grandmother's china, which I enjoy more when I bring it out for special occasions, and I think "BLESS."