One of my challenges as I unpack in my smaller home is to decide what to throw away, what to give away and what to keep. I find that I have the hardest time getting rid of things that have a memory attached to them. Things like my mother’s china.
I have a lot less kitchen space than I used to. That led me this week to reconsider everything I used to have in my kitchen. One of the things I came across was part of my mother’s china. As I unpacked it I remembered the day my mother bought it. She bought a china cabinet to go with it! I still have the china cabinet, but the china is incomplete and I have my own china. As a result, my mom’s china had been sitting in my cabinet at the other house, never touched, never used.
It’s interesting how even when we are not using something, we have a hard time parting with it. How can we get to the point where we can let go? Here are some questions I’m asking myself as I unpack my boxes.
- Is it useful. I’m amazed at how many things we have that don’t even work anymore! I’m not sure what we’re waiting for. Those we can just throw away. Warning: Don’t go back to look through the bag once you throw things out.
- Do I use it. When we moved, I found a box in the garage that we hadn’t looked through in four years. I took a quick look to make sure it wasn’t important, but honestly, if I haven’t used it in four years, I should probably get rid of it. If it’s in working order and we haven’t used it, we should probably give it away and let someone else enjoy it. No need to to think about how it might come in handy some day. Right now it is taking up space and energy. A word about those clothes we might fit into again some day. If I ever lose so much weight that I can fit into the clothes I used to wear, I am getting myself a whole new wardrobe!
- Is there someone who would appreciate it. Among the giveaways, we have things that are difficult to part with because of the memories they hold. The problem is that if they are not being used, they are taking up space and deteriorating. Eventually they will not look the way they did when they were forming memories and they will end up broken and tattered. However, maybe we can think of someone who could appreciate that object and enjoy it the way we used to. Such a thing happened last week with me.
Looking at my mother’s china, trying to find a place for it, my brother and sister-in-law came to mind. So this weekend when they came over for dinner, I gave them the china. My sister-in-law was so thrilled. She never met my mom and was truly touched that I would consider giving her something so precious to me. We looked online and found how she could replace the missing pieces and she left very excited and grateful.
I originally dreaded the idea of downsizing, but now I’m understanding the value in it. Considering whether something is useful, whether I use it now or finding someone who will appreciate it, has become a good exercise for me. It helps me reevaluate what will stay and what will not. It helps me be better at decluttering and letting go.