Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Meaning Behind Our Things

My baby fevah has returned with such force that it shocks even me. However, since I need to get into and through nursing school before trying for a baby, I am trying to focus on and enjoy the aspects of my life that will be gone once we have a kid. This includes getting my house all spruced up and organized. I'm so, so, so excited about that. Hot Husband and I are going through all of our closets and getting rid of anything we don't need.

I am bringing all my old clothes to a local consignment store to see if I can get any money for them, and HH's old clothes are being re purposed as sewing material, or they are being sent to Goodwill. I have started asking myself very important questions about the items in our house, which have helped me clear out a few boxes of items for Goodwill already. These questions are very simple, but very effective:

- Do I love this item?
- Do I need this item? Am I sure?

If the answer is no to both of those questions, the item goes in the charity pile or a trash bag. As I started looking at the things in my house under this light, I was amazed at how many things I was keeping for no reason at all. And I was surprised to find that there were quite a few things that I was keeping because I felt guilty for getting rid of them.

Case in point: a teapot that HH's grandmother had given us for our wedding. I held that thing in my hands for a long time, before it finally went into the Goodwill box. I never loved that item, and I certainly did not need it. I had never used it. But it had been taking up valuable real estate in my cupboard because it was a wedding gift given by a person who is special to us. Even as I am typing this, I feel so heartless for getting rid of it. But I did not have enough room to keep it without sacrificing something I did love, or that which was useful.

"It's just a thing," I finally thought. But getting rid of that teapot made me think about the meaning that we put on the items in our environments. If that teapot had not been given to us at our wedding from someone we love, it would have been out of the house years ago. It was the meaning behind the object that I was treasuring, not the object itself. I realized that I can still treasure that meaning, while passing the teapot on to someone who will love and use it.

How about you? Do you suffer from guilt when deciding what takes up space in your home?

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