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2.07.2011

Sentimentality

I have often been accused of being cold, and I believe that is because of two things- I have a difficult time expressing emotion around other people, and I rarely attach sentiment to objects. I don't care who gave it to me or how many years I have loved an item, the minute something ceases to be useful to me I find it a new home. I make no apologies for this. Why should I keep a perfectly good dress locked up in my closet when somebody else can enjoy it? I believe that attaching sentiment to items is the gateway into hoarding or, at the least, a cluttered life. And who wants to live a cluttered life? I like peace, both in my head and in my home, and clutter negates peace.

But I do collect something. Instead of surrounding myself with crap that I have formed artificial attachments to, I collect memories. In fact, the inspiration for this post was a song I heard while driving this afternoon. I heard the song and was instantly transported to a moment that happened ten years ago- I saw what I saw then, and most importantly I felt what I felt then. That is far more powerful that anything a dusty knick-knack could inspire.

Music likely triggers my memory because my brain has always responded to music- I remember melodies and lyrics almost the instant I hear them, and I often have intense reactions to songs (I can't even describe how I felt the first time I heard "No One's Gonna Love You" by Band of Horses). In my sophomore English class I did my semester project on the significance of songs throughout my life. Obviously not everyone is going to react this strongly to music, but there are other ways to preserve memories without cluttering up your house. Photographs are an obvious option, especially if you're creative and into scrap booking or some other way to store and display them. I also employ journaling to help me remember significant events and emotions.  Or, if you feel the need to keep a few sentimental objects, be selective about the ones you choose to hold onto and display them properly- what is the point of keeping ticket stubs from concerts or the brochure from the hotel you stayed at on your honeymoon if you don't display them?  Put together a shadowbox and you will enjoy your items (and your memories) and your surroundings will be peaceful and beautiful.

 Another method I employ is the "Sentimental Box."  For us this is a good sized Rubbermaid tub marked "sentimental."  In it I keep sentimental objects we (and by we, I mostly mean my husband, although I do have a few items in it) feel the need to keep but don't care to display like high school yearbooks, diplomas, fraternity BS (no bias here), and the like.  Here's the caveat- if something doesn't fit, it has to go.  So if I want to squeeze something new in but the box is full I have to get rid of something else. 

Whatever you choose to do, I promise you can start to clear out the piles of junk around your house you never seem to use... you aren't going to need them.

How do you preserve memories without filling your house full of junk?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Greenmom said...

we are nightmares about stuff like this...my husband, especially, comes from a family that never threw ANYTHING away.

My litmus with him, if there's something he doesn't want to get rid of for "sentimental" reasons, is to ask the story of why he wants to keep it. If he can't remember the story, or where it came from, or how he got it, but only remember that This Is Something Sentimental, I try my damnedest to get him to toss it. (It's my own litmus, too.) But if it's a little pair of overalls that were what my son wore the first time we went out a month after he was born, when I saw all my old friends and the Cardinal gave him a blessing, and then I walked him around and showed him where I used to work...we still have those overalls, because they take me back to one particular lovely day. I also have my "treasure box" from my girlhood, which has things like my girl scout badges, the program from my senior prom, the blue ribbons I won in piano competitions, stuff like that...the things my kids might look at someday and learn who Mom was when she was little.

But I'm with you in that it's ALL about the memories. Whatever it takes to bring them back.

Great post!

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