What do you do with sentimental items you NEVER use? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-12-2005, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Dh lost both of his parents two years ago and we got a LOT of their things. (They were divorced, so we acquired things from two households...) We hardly use any of it. The furniture is nice, but a lot of the misc. items and little knick-knacks we don't use and they just sit around in boxes taking up space. When we moved into our current home, they all came with us and now that we're moving again, I am having a hard time thinking that we'll be lugging them with us to another house.

But dh is so attached to these things because they remind him of his childhood, parents, etc. I really understand where he is coming from. I would have a hard time parting with them as well.

But what should we do with it all?? Should we rent a storage space just to put things we'll never use? I've thought of the idea of telling him to get rid of a portion of the items, and keeping the rest, but he says he really can't part with any of it...

Anyone been in our situation?

Mama to DD 06' Partner to Sasa
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#2 of 13 Old 12-12-2005, 07:39 PM
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Do you know anyone with a barn you could store it in? I buried my grandma 3.5 years ago and we have finally managed to get rid of most of her furniture and her knick knacks. WE split it up among all the grandchildren. It's tough when it's big pieces of furniture to find a spot for it though. Would he be willing to loan it to a family in need and maybe take a pic of it so he has the memories but they're in pic form instead? I'm sorry mama I know how hard it can be go let things go. I've just come to the conclusion that I can't hold on to her by keeping her stuff I cna't use and we've managed to get rid of more after the hurt wore off some.I hope I'm not coming off insensitive I do understand and hopefully you'll either be able to help him get rid of a few items or find a nice place to store them. Hugs mama

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#3 of 13 Old 12-12-2005, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dinade
maybe take a pic of it so he has the memories but they're in pic form instead?
Though I haven't had to deal with the death of a loved one, I did this with the majority of my memory stuff when I got married to a guy in the military. I decided I didn't really need all that high school memorabilia (sp??) and I certainly didn't want to move it every two years or so, but I didn't want to just get rid of everything. So I kept some of the most important things, took pictures of the bulky stuff and scanned all the papers that were important to me. Since my mom has a copy of the disks, I know I'll never "lose" my memories to something like a fire or some other disaster, but I don't have to lug them around the world each time we move (except for the disks...).
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#4 of 13 Old 12-14-2005, 10:53 AM
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Maybe you and he could sort through stuff just to see if there *is* anything that could go. Have you seen the BBC/PBS show "Life Laundry"? The host basically does this with people who have years of accumulated clutter. It's often really theraputic for the owners of the stuff.

I'd suggest clearing out a space in, say, your living room and sorting through one box at a time. Tell your dp that he doesn't have to get rid of anything, but that there might be things that could be given away, photographed, or tossed. Then you can get out the really special things and display them.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

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#5 of 13 Old 12-20-2005, 03:06 PM
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If you ask for just a 10% reduction, maybe it will be easier? And remember you are not "sending things to Goodwill" you are "helping an unfortunate family that needs xxxx" (via goodwill :-)

At the same time, damaged/broken items can be culled. And don't forget eBAY! My gi-joes got us a nice dinner out.... 5 strapping burly men with missing fingers and "shark damage"
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#6 of 13 Old 12-20-2005, 03:17 PM
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I personally don't keep anything that isn't either useful or makes me feel good.

I have photos of my late grandparents, and the candlesticks that my Grandmother used to light for Shabbat (those are both sentimental AND useful!)

I got a ton of clothes, sewing supplies, etc when my great aunt passed away. I kept a few knick-knacks and the rest got passed along. Why should I hang onto clothes that don't fit me just because they used to belong to Aunt Irene? I can remember her from the sweaters she knitted for my girls when they were babies.

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#7 of 13 Old 12-21-2005, 11:58 AM
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Here's a question that I've seen asked multiple times on more than one "decluttering" TV show... if it is really important to you, how are you honoring the memory of that person by keeping the object hidden away in a box? If the object truly is that special to you, then you need to give it a place of honor in your home... so that you can see it daily and it can remind you of your love of the person. If the object is not special enough to have a place of honor in your home, then you truly do not need it. What is really important is your memory of the person, not your retention of all of the things they accumulated in life. Find a way to work the most important things into your daily life and let go of the rest.

Not saying this will be easy. However, it will probably be very cathartic in the long run.

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#8 of 13 Old 12-21-2005, 12:02 PM
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: my house is FULL of sentinemntal not in use items..I don't even know where to begin.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#9 of 13 Old 12-21-2005, 02:19 PM
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Save the stuff. Later your children will no doubt love to have stuff that was their grandapernts. Nothing like touching item that where your grandparents or great grandparents.

I know it true for me and my kids also seems to love have stuff that was their who evers
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#10 of 13 Old 12-21-2005, 07:30 PM
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We have kept some things from relatives, but DH and I feel like we don't want to burden our children with too many things. I think there is value in keeping some reminders or special objects for our children, but boxes and boxes is too much. If it is something that my sons will specifically remember about someone or something that is extremely special to DH or me that we can share and make meaningful for them, then we save it.

We definitely incorporated a bunch of things into our household and are grateful to have them. We've gotten rid of other things in order to use these special items.

Your husband may just not be ready to go through the boxes yet. If he was close to his parents, he may still be mourning and will just need more time.
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#11 of 13 Old 12-21-2005, 07:45 PM
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I agree with one that said you need to honor it and it can't be that sentimental to have it hidden in a box. Maybe have him pick just a few pieces that are especially fond to him and then find a way to display them all together, maybe along with a few photos of him when he was young. That way he can keep those most important and disply it like it should and not take space.
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#12 of 13 Old 12-21-2005, 10:07 PM
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Here's an idea if you have clothes from a loved one - cut them into pieces and make a patchwork quilt, or you can have a teddy bear made from them. A friend of mine had the teddy bear done and it's really cute.
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#13 of 13 Old 12-27-2005, 02:36 AM
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We faced the same problem..my mom , dh's mom and dh's g'ma all died within 2 yr of each other. OY did we get a lot of stuff. It was too hard to sort and throw/donate etc. at first. We were too close to it. But it's been 5 yrs now since my mil died/4 yrs for my mom and it's not nearly as painful. Time really did make the weeding easier. We did keep a pretty good amount because we will pass things on to our kids. I have NOTHING from either set of my grandparents, so to pass down things that belonged to the kids' grandparents and great grandparents means a lot to me.
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