I come from a long line of hopeless pack rats, and it has been my lifelong struggle to de-clutter my home, streamline my surroundings, and organize my existence. It’s an uphill battle, however — face it, Sentiment and Genetics are against me!

The Quilter by Design knows all about the heartbreaking task of having to clear out an old family home, and decide what to do with the contents:

It’s amazing what’s lurking in odd corners: sticky photographs, old lamps, the rest of suites of furniture long scattered among siblings. I gather these, with no real idea of where I will put this truckload.
I cannot throw these things out. These half forgotten possessions are the stuff of life. These are my family’s memories…

In my comment on her piece, I mentioned that there are two things I’ve found that helps me to let go of some inherited clutter, when I do my once-a-year purge:

  1. Try to find new homes for belongings that aren’t an active part of our lives any longer, and
  2. Take (digital) photographs of the pieces that I am letting go.

That way, you see, I can feel that I’m not letting go of the memories entirely… and I can feel good that my old stuff is being launched out into the world to spread sweetness and light to other homes.

You know what else? Every time I manage to successfully move out an item which is neither beautiful nor useful, one that I keep only for the memories that it evokes, it becomes just a little easier to know in my heart of hearts that it isn’t, really, the objects that hold our memories… it is our memories that give meaning to mere objects.

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