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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I long ago realized that part of my problem when it comes to decluttering is that I feel like when I get rid of a gift (whether by donating or throwing away) I am somehow getting rid of the giver or my relationship with the giver. (Thus, tossing presents from exboyfriends has been no problem <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">) I start thinking "My grandmother gave me this, and I don't know how much longer she'll be around." Or "I got this from my grandfather, and if I toss it, I may just toss all of my memories of him."<br><br>
I'm almost done with Clutter's Last Stand, and I have a copy of It's All Too Much waiting right after. Will I gain some insight there, or do I need (more) therapy? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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I haven't read either of those books, but I can understand how you feel to some extent. I used to feel that way, but I'm getting over it. I think that if you keep going, you'll feel better about getting rid of gifts. Once I started giving away gifts, and I realized that I still loved Grandma just as much as I always did, it gave me confidence to keep going and getting rid of the clutter.
 

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If you aren't using a gift from someone, it'll do more good helping someone else out. Have you ever gone thrifting and found the perfect item for some part of your life? If that person hadn't been generous in their giving, you wouldn't have that perfect item. The unused/unwanted gifts in your closet can be those perfect things for someone else.<br><br>
No one wants to give a gift that is a burden to the recipient, and I think your relatives would be upset to think that their items given in love are causing you distress. Giving gift items away doesn't mean you hate the giver (or the gift, reallly).
 

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Don't throw it away, give it away. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Make someone else happy. I never feel the least little bit of guilt passing along things I don't use/need. It's a waste to keep things and not use or enjoy them, imo.
 

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If we have trouble parting with something we really have no use for due to the memories, we take a photo of it before we send it on its way. A photo takes up a lot less room and gives us the same memories and sentimental feelings when we look at it.
 

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I think you're doing great just by recognizing that your mind is thinking this way. Then you can consciously tell yourself "Grandma is more than the afgan she crocheted me when I was 9 years old, and her old broken lamp, and her hand-me-down dishes" (or whatever stuff you actually do have from your grandma.)<br><br>
If something is truly special, then it's worth keeping. But to keep every single gift grandma has given you for the past 25 years really ISN'T necessary to remember grandma!<br><br>
Or you can go with the photo technique- take a photo of all the speciial things before giving them away. Or you can select a few special items from each person- select stuff that's usefull and/or not bulky, and give away the rest.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SoHappy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9824230"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If we have trouble parting with something we really have no use for due to the memories, we take a photo of it before we send it on its way. A photo takes up a lot less room and gives us the same memories and sentimental feelings when we look at it.</div>
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I have done this before will silly things like boxes of chocolates or flowers or whatever and then I run across the picture and I love it because I had completely forgotten about the item but it reminds me of it. So taking the picture and giving/throwing away has double benefit. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Read Don Aslett's Clutter Free, Finally and Forever.<br><br>
I used to have this problem but my issue was stuff I inherited. Time has helped a lot. Also think of when YOU give a gift -- do you expect the recipient to keep it in perpetuity? Will you even remember 5 years from now what you gave someone? I don't and I won't.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UUMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9824000"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's a waste to keep things and not use or enjoy them, imo.</div>
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I agree. It's the rare gift-giver that remembers every single thing they ever gave you, anyway.
 

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I like the picture idea. I think I'll try it.<br><br>
I too hang onto gifts/mementos, and then they become clutter, and get put in a box, that takes up room, that gets in the way of living life.<br><br>
A quote I came across the other day was really right on for me, something like "you can't move into the future if you're stuck in the past."
 

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This is a HUGE problem for both me and my DH.<br><br>
I know a lot of people who have no qualms about re-gifting or donating gifts they don't want, taking them back to the store b/c they would prefer something else, or simply throwing gifts away. This just seems so wrong to me!!<br><br>
But, the alternative is keeping lots of crap in my house that I would never have picked out for myself. Good example: a framed print of two cheesy calico cats that says "A house without a cat is like a kiss without a hug." This is as far away from my taste as you can go and still be on the same planet. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> My mom gave it to me b/c...well, I guess because I have cats? Anyway, WHY do I still have it?? I have tons of stuff like this.<br><br>
I love the picture idea.
 

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I've reached the point where as long as I have a single "representative" gift from a person, I can get rid of others that aren't useful. The representative gift isn't necessarily useful - for example, one person got me a luxurious ladylike pair of fur-lined leather gloves, and I like the fact that they see me as a person who would wear those sorts of gloves. So even though I've moved to a warm climate, the gloves live in my scarf drawer as the "representative" gift from that person, and probably will forever. But other gifts from that same person are treated the same way as non-gifts in decluttering decisionmaking.<br><br>
Heirlooms are harder, but I'm slowly getting to the same point, where I just need one item that represents a person or family that's gone. One person is represented by a pair of figurines each the size of my thumb, another by a lovely small vase, another by a nice pair of desk scissors. The items are a sort of token, something that the person touched, and one token is enough.<br><br>
For some reason, this system breaks down for toys. I have a few bulky heirloom toys, and I simply can't get rid of them. Maybe it's because not only is the person who gave them to me gone, the person that they gave them to (the child me) is also gone? I haven't worked that one out yet.<br><br>
Crayfish
 

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crayfish- I love that idea. It makes the process so much more personal/meaningful!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Nora'sMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9833105"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know a lot of people who have no qualms about re-gifting or donating gifts they don't want, taking them back to the store b/c they would prefer something else, or simply throwing gifts away. This just seems so wrong to me!!</div>
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Perhaps it's easier if you consider that the real gift is not the physical object itself, but the time and thought and love that went into it. I think that's what the photo preserves - the fact that someone cared enough to select something for you, and that it was a gesture of goodwill. Those feelings are what you want to hold onto, not necessarily the knickknack that is cluttering up your house.
 

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I take pictures, and I keep some representative gifts, but the thing that helps me the most is chanting (be it out loud or to myself):<br><br>
"This (object) is not (loved one). This is not my love for him/her. This is just a material thing, and it is not very important."
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>beautyful</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9823183"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I long ago realized that part of my problem when it comes to decluttering is that I feel like when I get rid of a gift (whether by donating or throwing away) I am somehow getting rid of the giver or my relationship with the giver. (Thus, tossing presents from exboyfriends has been no problem <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">) I start thinking "My grandmother gave me this, and I don't know how much longer she'll be around." Or "I got this from my grandfather, and if I toss it, I may just toss all of my memories of him."<br><br>
I'm almost done with Clutter's Last Stand, and I have a copy of It's All Too Much waiting right after. Will I gain some insight there, or do I need (more) therapy? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></div>
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have you read byron katie's "loving what is?" she teaches you how to ask yourself.... "is that true?" "who would you be without that thought?" etc... and then to turn around the thought. it seems like a simple process... but really it's helpful to read the book, look at videos on youtube, etc... may may has this thread on it in personal growth <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=661712" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=661712</a>
 

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I just re-gifted today and sort of feel guilty.<br><br>
A friend gave my 2 year old a webkinz (some sort of stuffed animal that you play a web game with) and I had it in my office because I hadn't taken it home yet.<br><br>
Well, my son has enough toys and my secretary asked me where I got it. I knew she had grandkids so I offered it to her. She took it, which makes me happy because I know her grandkids will enjoy it but I can't help feeling like I am hurting my friend's feelings without her knowing it.
 

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I think it might be a little OCD... my MIL is like that to an extreme and her house is beyond cluttered. Think what it will look like in 30 years. LOL Also, would the person even remember what they gave you? Sure if its special but if its just some gift item that didnt mean a whole lot to them, why should it to you.<br>
I am a very sentimental person (though it doesnt sound like it LOL) but I just cant handle all the stuff. Makes me nutty.
 

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Re:<br><br>
"Think what it will look like in 30 years"<br><br>
Yep. For what it’s worth, I don’’t want people to keep my gifts if they’re not useful. In fact, I was having precisely that thought today. I’m thinking of giving my brother a piece of bulky but useful kitchenware, and as I was debating it I reassured myself, “At least he’ll either use it or dump it, not like my mother who’ll plop it on the counter and let it gather dust until the end of time.”<br><br>
Crayfish
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all of the thoughts! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I have a big bag of stuffed animals that are going to Goodwill tonight. Maybe somebody will get a new teddy bear for the holidays. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I feel a bit more at peace with the things that were tossed as well, which is surprising to me. I had to think about what it was that made me break down crying the other day when I originally tossed it! (And I definitely still have the memory very vividly of when I got it from my grandmother. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">)
 
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