I have boxes and boxes filled with random stuff.
Most of the time, it’s because I just don’t know what to do with it. I hate to get rid of something that brings back a special memory. Even though I only experience the memory when I run across it in a box.
I went to a garage sale a few years ago and found a huge group of collector drinking glasses from the 80s.
Meaning, these things were about 20 years old. And they were in perfect, never used condition.
They brought back so many memories for me. I’m sure they did the same for the person who originally collected them. They had been stored in a special box, wrapped up with care. It was in my eBay days, so I sold a few, but I decided to keep the ones I loved the most.
And use them.
Hubby and I have shared many fun childhood memories with the kids because of these glasses, and they are great conversation starters with guests.
We’re using them.
So they’re not clutter.
I’m trying to view other things this way now. If an item has purpose AND sentimental value, I use it.
Like the cutesy burp cloths someone made for us. They’re BURP cloths. Not exactly something you put in a lighted display case. But they’re adorable and they bring back great memories. Recently, after finding them in a drawer somewhere for the 600th time, I decided to use them as cleaning rags. Now, I get to enjoy them every time I wipe down the bathroom counters, which is (generally) a lot more often than I go through boxes.
I may reserve my favorite ones for the less intense jobs, but I love that they’re being used. I’m pretty sure that throwing them in the trash once they’re falling apart from ten years of usefulness will be easier than throwing them in the trash while they’re still “perfectly good” but I can’t justify one more box of random stuff in my garage.
And, even though it’s hard to admit, that huge Hulk Hogan cup, which my husband found while digging through a box of his college stuff . . . is now my favorite cup!
Milehimama @ Mama Says says
So… the Shrek cup on my dresser isn't clutter because I'm using it to store stray Light Bright pieces? Genius!
LOL- my husband loves those character glasses and he wouldn't give them up even when they were recalled.
Nony the Slob says
I hadn't read about the recall, but I did read about concerns with these types of glasses.
After seeing the pic, I totally understand why it's a favorite. It's so you!! 🙂
Angie @ Many Little Blessings says
Oh my goodness! It's been forever since I saw those glasses. My aunt used to have tons of them.
Cozy Home Scenes says
I forgot about those character glasses until I saw some Smurf ones at an antique store recently. Then I remembered my swim teacher (poor guy, I was terrified) gave me a Smurf glass filled with candy on my last class that summer.
If I wasn't already trying to declutter, I would have been like you and gotten them too. However for me, I knew if I brought them in the house, I'd be too afraid of breaking them and wouldn't use any.
Just found your blog. I'm doing the same thing trying to get organised and keep a clean home. I am now following you. Love it if you would check out my blog at http://www.anorganisedmum.blogspot.com
SAHMmy Says says
My mom still has the ET glasses! From Pizza Hut, I think?
I use the flour sack towels my great grandma embroidered for me. My grandma just about lost it when she saw one of the tattered and stained towels tossed over a bottle of cleanser. I'm with you: better used and loved than "put away for best" (Grandma's phrase) in a drawer.
I love your approach. What a great solution.
Shannon L says
I just want to say you look beautiful in that picture. You don't look like a married, mother of three, suburbanite. More like a fresh out of college, ready to take on the world, young lady. (I hope that sounds right).
Nony the Slob says
It's official! Shannon L is my #1 Favorite Reader!!! Yes, flattery gets you everywhere!
You smell nice. 😀
Dana White says
Hahaha!!! (Clearly, you’re not actually near me right now!!)
Shannon L says
Aww! That's sweet. I just believe if you notice good things about other people then they should be told. You are a wonderful woman and I appreciate you for sharing your struggles, which most of us want to hide. You have let me know that I'm not alone, which I felt before finding your blog, and I will be eternally grateful.
Now let's talk about a Libman mop. 😉 (joking)
Ok, so I just found your blog and LOVE IT! I feel like you are talking about me and my house in a lot of your posts! I too remember those glasses, and my sister is actually using the ones that my mother had! I'm to the point where I need to use things that people made for me (mom & grandmas, all 3 deceased), otherwise, what's the point of having them? They made them look pretty, but most of all, the purpose of them was TO BE USED!! I'm at the point where I feel like it's a waste to keep them in a drawer where no one sees them. So those towels that grandma crocheted around the edges…..they are totally going in my bathroom! 🙂
My friend’s mom lost most of the china she had collected in the 1991 loma prieta earthquake. Ever since then they eat on the good china every day. She says she loves it even more since she started using it regularly. Great attitude to have about stuff!
my sister in law…went through her mom’s attic after her death and found their wedding gifts , in original packaging…60 years old….th emost exquisite hand made linens…sheets, clothes….etc…all rotten from not being used….. USE IT…….you get to enjoy it…
I remember a quote from somewhere….don’t know where..but kids wanted to use fine china and the mom said..it was for special guests..and the kids replied…ok..i guess we aren’t special , enough, and mom froze in her tracks….
My mom used to (before me) set the table every sunday for dinner and they’d all dress up and the boys would be taught manners and treated my sister like a lady….etc….I think it’s lovely..
This is seriously on of the best tips ever on decluttering that I’ve ever read/heard!
That’s a good idea. Not sure I can bring myself to use the sweet baby clothes for rags, though…
I love how you are using your mementos! I have done this only once, and it was just this past Christmas. I would have a difficult time, however, using any of them in a manner that would ware them out. I have separation anxiety when I think of letting go of things that remind me of someone or something. Even if it’s just a brief-moment something. I definitely have to work on that! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
We had that Miss Piggy glass when I was growing up! I wish we still had it! 🙂
Such a great post – your posts are helping me so much as I work on decluttering my house! It’s a constant struggle…
I have such a cluttered home, but we have quite a small home, so it’s easy to get cluttered. And having 2 children who don’t appreciate a tidy house doesn’t help.
I’m in the process of trying to de-clutter though and just had to dive into my savings to buy some storage from Ikea for their rooms. The rest of the stuff I’m going to need is going to have to be second hand from somewhere.
But my goal is to find a home for everything and use it. I have stuff from my Nanna that she gave me growing up and I want to display it, not just keep it in boxes in my room.
Going to keep an eye on your blog for some inspiration. 😀
Melanie Sparks says
I am so glad I found your blog. I am living in an ocean of clutter and I am now working on getting my life back. My dishes are getting washed almost every night. I am still working on that one 🙂 Thanks so much, I don’t feel like I am the only one who lives like this. My hubby and boys thank you too.
Dana White says
I had bought hubby a darth vader cup….8.00!, lol we never used it..finally we put it into use…and eventually destructo toddler did it in…I asked hubby if he wanted me to search for a new one..and he was fine….loved her got to use it…
Tessa Peters says
I love this idea! I have a set of Hercules character plates from McDonald’s that we have used ever since my children were little ( in the 90’s) . We still use them for breakfast because I can’t get rid of them (Mommy memories) and don’t want to shove them in a box (I have too many boxes of stuff I love already..lol). I am a keeper of many things , so therefore I have a cluttered house. I have been trying for several years to get “a handle on it”. I think my clutter reproduces itself…ugh. I will keep trying though! Thanks for the encouragement!
We still use some of the character cups that I got as a kid… but there are only 2 or 3 left…. and the pictures are fading…. but they are being used!!!!
Carol Ann Maynard says
My sentiments exactly. Thank you for breaking the ice. You have a very straight forward and humorous way of approaching delicate matters. Hulk Hogan would be proud of you.
I am slowly beginning to use baby linens as rags as well—receiving blankets make 8 great dish cloths and they are reusable. I have yet to cut my very favorite ones, but I will be able to let go eventually…
I still have the cloth diapers I used for my boys. The oldest is coming up on 33 years. Those diapers are the best cloths for so many household chores.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I had friends say I had so much and was cluttered when I had an apartment. Often, they were referring to my “pile” of sewing stuff, than included the machine, table, and boxes of material. When I moved I got rid of many pieces of material I didn’t think I’d use. But I kept the lions share of it. I have recently found many uses for the stuff I kept. The other thing they pointed at was my clothes. I’ve lead a varied life, and there are days that call for my flowing, loose skirts, and days that call for work clothes that look more like a mechanics than anything. Other days call for office attire. I kept my clothes and I am glad I did. Thank you for this post. I felt better just reading it and knowing that someone else felt the same way.
Brittani A. says
My favorite use for old burb cloths: napkins at the table! They are soft, big enough but not too big to take up a lot of room, and are perfect for hands and face.
I have made a vow that when I come across those items in my home that are super sentimental, but are just gathering dust and really have no function, I will snap a variety of pictures if that item and then re-home or toss it! I go through the picture folders on my computer more often that those bins and boxes anyway, therefore I will actually get MORE satisfaction from the item this way, since I’ll not only get to see it more often and reminisce and enjoy the memories, but I’ll also have a cleaner home! That’s totally a win/win.
Karla Bl says
I have a few pieces of furniture from family members that we use regularly. I like pre-owned furniture. I kept 1 preemie outfit (from my in-laws))for each of my sons (twins) (I gave the preemie outfits from my parents to my sister who has twin sons also), a few t-shirts, their Christmas bears with personalize hats, their name puzzles, a few mementos, and many photos. My craft closet and mementos area are my problem. I have good storage units and supplies.
Kay Long says
That photo of you holding the cup – you look just like Pam Beasley (Jenna Fisher) from The Office. I did a double take since I’m such a fan of that TV series.
My eldest has just turned 16 and I still have some of his muslins and old flat nappies that I use as cleaning cloths! We have a textiles recycling that I can put them into when they are more hole than cloth.
I am interrupting these messages to just say, “I LOVE that pic of you! “
Andrea Strong says
We have 4 sets of glasses. When I began decluttering, I was going to keep half of each set. My husband (who is apparently far more sentimental than I) said, “We can’t get rid of those. They were wedding presents!” So I kept them all and got rid of the ugly plastic stuff we were using. Now I use the pretty things. I enjoy them, but if they break, I’m okay with it, and I won’t replace most of them.
Linda W says
Wow, did you really write this post over 10 years ago? It is timeless. I love re-purposing!
OMGosh!!!! I absolutely love the pic of you with the Hulk Hogan cup!! Girl, you’re so awesome!!