Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What to Keep...?

Tiffany Box, Flask from DOJ, Steuben Pig
There is a category of things.  They are small.  They would not normally be acquired.  They were given out of kindness, and refer to some specific event or in-joke, but not some important life milestone.  They are too nice to throw away, so must be "placed" with some care if the decision is made to let them go. The easiest thing is to keep them, but they do accumulate over time.

What criteria do people use to keep such things?  And how are things disposed, when that decision is reached?

31 comments:

  1. If they are not truly valuable, in any sense of the word, but are not kitschy or trashy, I usually put them in my home office. If they have been around a few years and no one is likely to be offended if they have gone MIA, it goes to Goodwill or the like.

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  2. Things just as described in the query, although beautiful, and some really neat, do tend to pile up even after making the rounds of repurposing for a while. There is a tendency to try to 'circulate' these objects because of the sentiment attached, depending on the memory, gift giver, event attached to the object. At times there is a family member or a friend who likes the item - a great way to find a new home. Other times the items are held in the attic until my local church runs its annual jumble sale for fund raising; the objects are donated so that proceeds will help to support a myriad of good works.

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  3. If you like it, keep it. If not, dispose of it. I'm not a fan of keeping things just because they are a "keepsake ". Then there are all the offerings in souvenir shops. Of course I have a husband who likes to keep all the mugs from meetings, conferences etc, so I have an uphill battle.

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    1. My wife, once an avid bicyclist, has loads of cycling mementos bought by, or given to her for many years. I understand.

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  4. As I age, I find the same issue with accumulating "stuff". Yes, much of it was given as a gift or things bought in years past, but I'm of the mindset now that it has to go...either to Goodwill, family/friends, or wherever. It has become burdensome to look at and keep all of it, especially if it has some memory behind it that is less than pleasurable. I say give it to someone who likes it or Goodwill.

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  5. I'm someone who will keep nice things that were gifts out of sentiment's sake. Makes dusting more of a challenge...

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  6. You really don't need to keep a gift forever to remember the sentiment behind it. The purpose of a gift is to show that someone cares about you, and that occurs the moment you receive the gift. Hanging onto the gift forever is not necessary. The gift giver isn't giving you something to be a burden but to convey a message. Once that's done, you're free to do what you like with the gift. I sometimes take photos of something before passing it along to someone else so I can see it whenever I feel like it, and it now only takes up space in my computer.

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  7. I'm a "picker" so I routinely have an excess of nice things. What I do not keep or sell is donated to the animal shelter for their annual fundraiser antique show/sale and to my church for their rummage sale.

    My criteria is that I hate clutter, so if something is added, something is subtracted.

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    1. Oh how I detest clutter! I am not a minimalist by any means, but if there is too much stuff in my vision, my head feels bloated. Too many little things sitting around will really bother me. I do have those items that were given as gifts (Halcyon Days boxes, Herend figurines, Limoges boxes, etc.) that are mostly put away. Although I am not sentimental about them, they are not just junk. I'm not sure that most young people are interested in having these things around and wonder if they are being purchased as much as they were back in the twentieth century. I haven't decided what to do about them, but I don't care to look at them all the time. I guess I'm not really a "collectible" person.

      Jacqueline

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  8. I've reached the age when the accumulation of stuff gets to be burdensome. I also hope not to burden my children with having to deal with it when I am no longer around. It is time to let go of things that are not essential or give great joy, or, as Kondo says, spark joy.

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    1. I think I was channeling Marie Kondo in my answer above. Her ideas have served me well!

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  9. I'm not a fan of chachki, bric-a-brac or whatever you want to call such decorative objects, and I'm happy to report that I don't often find myself in the dilemma of what to do with an "off" or memento type gift. But every now and again, without risking offense or coming off as ungrateful, I may use an item for a while and as RCJH indicated, it goes "MIA". "Re-gifting" unwanted or duplicate gifts has become popular since the recession of 2008 in which there is specific does and don'ts etiquette. Without elaborating, there is one thing I will say: Be thoughtful by considering one's style, taste and/or need before giving a gift so you don't put the recipient in that awful predicament of deciding what to do with it. I know, I know, it's supposed to be the thought that counts and while that's true, there is some responsibility on the shoulders of the giver.

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    1. That should be dos and dont's above.

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  10. I like things in my house to be beautiful or useful. Recently as older relatives have been cleaning out so as to "not leave a mess," I have been the recipient of number of things that I really don't want. Most of the things are given with a story. Since our family is shrinking, for now I feel guilted into keeping whatever the item is even though the item and the memory are not originally mine. Eventually, I will have to deal with these things but for now it seems I am the curator.

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  11. In my own ongoing war against clutter of this type, I have been hard-headed the last few years. You can't have everything out on display, nor should you feel obligated to do so. The cheaper, tackier glass menagerie-like tschatschkis "we" have been given go either to my wife's office on the second floor, or are gradually filtered away. The more tasteful, classic, non-studenty 20-something things have made it to a pair of glass-topped/sided curio tables that flank the loveseat in the library-family room at the rear of the house or to some built-in bookshelves that flank the fireplace. Other items that have made the cut remain put away in cabinets until they are swapped with from time to time with things that have been on display for a while. I am fond of saying, much to my wife's chagrin, that trying to display absolutely everything we have acquired ourselves, or (shudder) been given just ends of looking like a dusty mess with no rhyme or reason to it. Just say no as someone once said. . . albeit in a different context. -- Heinz-Ulrich von B.

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  12. I have to worry about one day dealing with my Mother's 40 years worth of teaching " stuff"." Tons of gifts from kids, books from 40 years worth of teaching. The house is full. Her storage in the backyard is full. I think we will rent a dumpster and toss everything. The ONLY thing I asked she give me was her college degree ring. And she gave it to me about 6 months ago. The rest? Who knows?

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    1. You could perhaps have a yard sale. I see many sales advertising "retired teacher downsizing" type listings in the paper. If you don't want to have to fuss with making change, you can always tell people you are accepting donations at their discretion. An additional option is to donate the money to a charity of your mother's choice.

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  13. Keep nothing that is not of use. Get rid of everything else. Advise your friends and family to not give you unnecessary items. If you need something, buy it used. Our planet is over-run with useless garbage. Our society has accepted that the accumulation of things is acceptable and desirable. Learn simplicity. Learn to collect moments and experiences. Leave nothing behind. As the great Tony Morrison said: "At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough."

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  14. Accumulating "things" seems to happen to everyone, to one extent or another. I am constantly donating or giving items away. For valuables, I enjoy giving to friends and/or relatives that collect or admire the object. I call this re-homing and it works for me.

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  15. I spent the first half of my life accumulating this stuff, and am spending the second half getting rid of it. If the kids don't want it I give it to Goodwill and let them decide what has value and what to toss.

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  16. I follow William Morris' rule.

    "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".

    Everything else gets donated. Unfortunately I have some family members who like to give gifts that I deem to be "tat", for instance some socks for Christmas last year that had bobbles on the toes to represent a nose, and antlers at the ankles. Intended to be funny I guess, but still useless. January 1st they were in the local Charity Shop. I'd rather they saved their money than give me a useless gift "just because".

    It can be harder with things that people have genuinely thought about or spent money on, but I'm ruthless with that too. Life is too short to dust and re-arrange "stuff" that you don't care for.

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  17. This can be tricky. There are often family mementos, ranging from actual heirlooms to gifts from your father's workplace. They may or may not represent memories to you or your family and nobody in the family may even want them. Yet you dare not dispose of them except perhaps being donated to a museum. And even that can cause a rift in the family in some cases. But if everything you have like that fits in a shoebox, then just keep it.

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  18. My MIL loves mementos and photos. She feels that she is surrounded by loving memories and my FIL doesn't mind the clutter. I, however, rarely keep anything for sentimental value alone. I use what I own, and own what I use. I can be ruthless.

    That said, when choosing something new-to-me, I will choose the best quality that I can afford in a style that I appreciate. I like to buy things once if I must buy them at all. Consequently, I am very fond of the items I own.

    As for gifting, my preference is to give ones that can be used up (e.g. tickets, art supplies), requested items, re-gifted items, or used items (books especially). That way I hope that the efforts made to give the perfect gift are, well, as perfect as can be!

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  19. My criteria for small clutter. If I was more savvy I'd make a flow chart to show...

    1. Do I or my husband love it?
    a. Yes - keep it.
    b. no - next question

    2. Does it have historical significance?
    a. Yes, but only to my family - See if a relative wants it or archive it in the attic
    b. Yes, to the country/state/county/city - See if a relative wants it and then if not give it to the historical society or university department it best fits. We've offloaded a LOT of things we don't really want (documents and papers, mostly) or can't appropriately store (certain pieces of art we could not afford to take care of properly or were better off in public hands and again, documents and papers) and lots of random artifacts from wars my ancestors of fought in that we don't feel OK keeping in the house.
    c. no - next question

    Will it do greater good in some other way?
    a. Yes - donate to appropriate place
    b. No - out to the goodwill pile.

    A note on donations to museums - museums are not actually permanent places to keep your stuff, though. They are pretty picky about what they take and do cycle through their things over the years as museum trends and the lenses through which we view history and art change. If you have something you'd prefer to stay there permanently and they want it permanently you need to make sure that they want it permanently or make provisions for it to be held on permanent loan. Your museum acquisitions liaison can walk you through your options and sometimes it's nice to bring a family lawyer who can handle property transfers legally.

    - ER

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  20. I stand firmly with the Salvation Army. They were the ONLY ones who truly helped during the Depression the older generation in my family says.

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    1. Yes, I definitely prefer to donate to the Salvation Army. Goodwill is basically a for-profit resale operation. Yes, they do provide jobs.

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  21. The Salvation Army discriminates against the LGBTQ community. Google it.

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  22. Salvation Army, St Vincent Du Paul or other local church thrift stores, YWCA are all better choices than Goodwill, a for profit business. PA

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  23. We have a fabulous resource - The Magic Hat Thrift Shop. It's run by parents from our local schools and the school that provides the parent support that month, gets the money they make. They've made $775,000 in 12 years. http://magichatthriftshop.com/about/

    I love giving them stuff!

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  24. I think this blog would be poorer if past generations had a habit of chucking things. Pack them tight with some notes and jam the box into the eaves behind the holiday decorations. If there's a need you can find them and if they need to be rehomed you have an inventory.

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