Please don’t read this post. It will only cause your blood pressure to rise, and I don’t want to be responsible for that. But if you insist on reading, please read the whole thing before you express your horror in the comments. My example in this post (as in all my posts) is personal and the decision I made is also personal. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I totally understand why someone would choose differently.
Whew. Glad that disclaimer is over.
I’ve been working on a certain long-ignored corner in my gameroom lately. As I get a little time here and there (sometimes only 20 minutes or so), I declutter it.
Last week, I came across some plates I got a while back from my aunt. I love them, but bought the wrong size plate hangers and then never got back to putting them up.
I was re-inspired to hang them after having heard someone say how she twisted plate hangers to make them the right size. (Though, as you can see in the picture above, that didn’t work out terribly well. Twisting them makes them hang differently. Ugh.)
But if the plates are on the wall, what do I do with their boxes?
My aunt, the Ultimate Garage Sale Queen, had found the plates in their original boxes. With paperwork and everything.
I love them because they are commemorative plates of the musical Oklahoma!, which was the very first musical in which I ever had a leading role.
The original boxes were neat to see, but where should I store boxes and paperwork for things I display?
Or a better question:
If I love the plates and don’t see the display as temporary, do I even need the boxes?
No. The answer is no. I personally have no need for the boxes. The plates are on the wall.
BUT . . . don’t the boxes increase their value??
Yes. Technically, collectible items in their boxes are more valuable than the same items without original boxes.
IF my plan was to treat these plates as a collection that will one day be sold at an auction to fund my retirement, I would totally keep the boxes.
But I have no plans to part with them. They are items I love. I’m keeping them because they put a smile on my face.
And yet the value-related “What ifs?” plagued my so-easily-plaguable brain.
At the same time, I had to answer these questions:
- If I keep the boxes, where in the world will I put them?
- If I find a place to put them, how in the world will I remember where that place is??
- And . . . if I do decide to get rid of these plates, will I really want to search through the entire house looking for the boxes? Won’t that just prolong the already-difficult decluttering process.
Here’s how I solved the dilemma: I checked the value of the plates.
There is a simple, quick way to get a realistic idea of the value of items in your home. This is current, in-the-moment value that could be different in a different venue or at a different time, but it helped me make this decision.
It’s called eBay.
Go to eBay.com and search for your item. If it’s a collectible, there’s likely an exact name on the back or bottom that will help you find that exact item listed on eBay.
After you find other items just like yours, scroll down the page and click on “Completed Listings” on the left. (I put an arrow pointing to it in the image below.)
At this point, things get real.
Before I checked the box to see completed listings, I saw that people were starting some auctions at $40 for a set.
I know enough to not get excited about that. What someone wants for an item means nothing. The only thing that matters is how much people are willing to actually pay for the item.
Once I checked the completed listings (auctions that are over), I saw that most of these items hadn’t. Even for 99 cents. The only one I saw that did sell, sold for less than 2.00.
Even with boxes and paperwork and everything.
Prices in red on the “Completed Listings” page mean the item didn’t sell. Prices in green mean it did sell. See how all the prices are red??
(Note from the future: Updating this post in 2020 to say that prices of unsold items are now black)
This knowledge does not change the value of MY plates in any way. I love them just as much as I did before I checked. They still have a spot in my kitchen that (though currently totally unevenly placed) made my daughter gasp in excitement over their beauty.
But this knowledge allowed me to pitch their boxes in the trash. My “What ifs?” had been answered.
The answer was that boxes don’t add significant value to these items I don’t plan to sell anyway.
And knowing that means I don’t have to store them.
And not having to store them means I can move forward ever-so-much-more-quickly with the overall decluttering project.
Another disclaimer: If your search of completed listings on eBay produces results that you’re SURE are wrong, consult a professional about family heirlooms. It is possible that an item could be sold for more in another venue, but this method helps me make educated decisions when “Imagined Value” is the thing paralyzing my decluttering efforts.
Do you stress over keeping stuff like this?
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Mrs. W. says
Ugh. Yes. My mother-in-law died ten years ago. We inherited boxes of breakable keepsakes, such as great-great grandma so & so’s 24 piece china. When we got it, it was in a box. My husband had never seen it before, did not know the woman, and has no desire to ever use it. His aunt and grandma told him it was priceless. No pressure to keep it, right?
Dana White says
No pressure at all . . . .
Ugh is right.
Elaine in Ark says
No pressure to keep it from my corner, either, Mrs. W!
I have my mother’s china in my house. It came from my dad’s great-aunt & great-uncle, and is close to 100 years old. The glaze is cracked on almost all the pieces, and I won’t serve food on them because the clay they were made with probably contains lead. I took a few good pieces and have them on display, and I want to toss the rest. The problem is…my sisters. They don’t want Mother’s Good China to be thrown away, but they also don’t want it in their homes.
One day soon, I’m going to toss them. (I have ample storage space, but I’m “rightsizing” my belongings and excess stuff has to go!)
Dana White says
I just can’t not respond to this. People wanting you to keep something because of their memories, even though they don’t want it in THEIR homes.
I’m sure if they read that, they’d see how much sense it DOESN’T make!!!!
I think your idea of displaying the best pieces and purging the rest is awesome!!!
Mrs. W. says
Inspiring, Elaine. So here’s our plan. We quietly remove it from our home. If anyone asks about it, we vaguely tell them “it’s somewhere. We just don’t know where right now.”
On top of that, I’ve got three little boys. I might as well get rid of it before it gets broken. Maybe I can get some cash for it. (Ok…doubtful.) If it survives their childhood, I doubt they will want it later anyway…right? (Side Note: The toys are driving me bonkers.)
I saved my kids toys…They don’t want any of them.
Jo jo says
My mom saved some of my toys too and I don’t want them and neither does my daughter. I want to throw them out but my mom won’t let me, lol. I guess even at age 46 I’m still listening to my mom .
T Foster says
Hmmmm….they don’t want you to toss it but they don’t want to keep it….I would message them and state that you will be keeping a couple of pieces and the rest it up for grabs or going bye bye and they should come and get what they want by such and such time or miss out. OR!!!! message them that gosh darn it all, the pieces you weren’t displaying had an “accident”. Worst case you could always make some fun mosaic crafty items from the pieces that had the “accident”. 😉
I agree that either A) quietly get rid of what you don’t want and be coy about it… or pack the boxes and take them to your sister’s house and hand it to her. If she doesn’t want it, it’s leaving…
Ruth S says
Believe it or not, the imaginer of value in my house is my husband. Anything that was his mother’s is infinitely priceless and must be held on to. Like the TWO 18″ ceramic poodles, two almost 3′ table lamps, the sewing machine that I can’t get to work, the repaired Dough Boy cookie jar, the wooden homemade lamp, etc. I guilted him into giving some things to his daughter when she married, but there’s plenty left. I can’t wait for his other daughter to get married, lol.
I did this with every single box for my inherited Swarovski crystal pieces. Some of which are actually pricey. But seriously, why did I need a huge box of empty boxes. Still, the garbage guilt then seeped in. I can’t win.
Margaret Mary Myers says
Wow! Thank you for sharing those tips! I didn’t now that about how to check eBay’s completed listings.
Great tips Nony! I will have to remember that next time I’m contemplating keeping the packaging for something to increase it’s “value”.
So now I’m going to have to climb up in the attic and haul down all those boxes of empty boxes…..
Enjoy this…………….. http://themoth.org/posts/stories/one-womans-trash-2
Dana White says
SO wise to check out value. A friend of mine told me that her mother was devastated when a family heirloom was broken by a small child. Her mom was hanging onto the item partially so they could sell it at some point to bless my friend’s family. My friend looked it up on Ebay and discovered a new one could be purchased for … $10. So it wasn’t valuable at all.
Guilty! Original boxes for Peanuts items. But I am slowly paring down that stuff. Love it, but don’t have enough room to display it. I do have 2 original boxes of Peanuts Christmas plates, from the years my boys were born. I also have 2 box-less Peanuts Mother’s Day plates, same years. I keep the boxes to store/protect the 2 plates I don’t currently have on display – I switch them out. Thanks for pointing this out. I think I kind of knew this, but helps to hear it from someone else.
I think the only original boxes I have are for electronics. I know most of them need to be tossed/recycled. The only ones I prefer keep are for our large flat screen tvs. Perfect for packing the televisions when we move. Of course, those boxes are the largest!
Great job tossing those boxes, Nony!
But are you planning on moving? And will you, as Nony said, go look for those boxes?
My personal experience is that when we moved, my husband left first, I had two little kids (and found out later we were all quite sick!) and the pile of original boxes in the garage was too overwhelming for me. The part I didn’t realize is that I wouldn’t go out and see the crockpot box on top, and pack that. And the box I needed was on the bottom. So do I pack the stuff I can grab, or do I sort through the boxes to pack methodically??!!! AAAAHHH!!!
Then the moving company *didn’t care* about the boxes. Their job was to move fast and be efficient. That didn’t include packing everything up individually. Most of it went in 4 cuft boxes and thrown on the truck.
Yep, we are moving. I do remember the last move putting the Wii and Wii balance board in their boxes BEFORE the movers arrived. The little boxes were already stored in a bin that the movers just put in those 4 cu ft boxes you mentioned. I have since recycled the Wii boxes, and even the little ones. I think we have a few new ones in the house since I last recycled!
My only goal before the movers arrive is to declutter and pull anything I don’t want them moving to a DO NOT PACK zone, that the movers aren’t allowed to touch! They will pack trash if you aren’t careful. 🙂
If it were important to pack them in original boxes, I would highly suggest to anyone to pack them before movers. 🙂
Great. 🙂 We moved four times in five years, and the first few, we used those boxes. But now we’ve been here for 8 years, no plans to move, so for us it’s time to let go of them. Hubby still says “for moving!” when we get something new.
Haha … it’s not just movers. Once I had to make a very hurried move whilst a controlling jerk of a boyfriend was momentarily out of the way. Friends and neighbors pitched in. Including the cigarette butts in the ash trays. It was a dark period but not without some levity. Every box I opened (several dozen marked misc) was a total surprise.
I put a post-it note on the back of items I’ve kept the box for, with info on where I’ve stored the box (usually in the roof space, sealed in a rubbish bag with some mothballs to deter pests).
That’s a great tip! I’ve used the “Completed Listings” feature often to decide whether it’s worth trying to sell something or just donate it.
Peggy Lamb says
Great Tip! Thank you. You are so right on.
Oklahoma! was the first musical I was ever in, too (no leading roll). So who where you? My guess is on Gertie :).
This was freeing! Thank you!
Such a great article. ..now my hubby and I need to start the PURGE!! Thanks for the push!
My mother had a big pitcher and bowl used by her grandparents for bathing back on the farm. :-p When I was two I pulled it off the tv and broke the bowl. Her kind aunt made a mismatched replacement. She gave these tremendously valuable antiques to me. And poured on the guilt. Price on ebay for an intact set, plus a matching vase? $13. I have before/after photos taken near the time of the crime (in the 1960’s) and will make a scrapbook page. It will include the Salvation Army receipt. Please don’t tell my mom.
Dana White says
Your secret is safe with me!
Often times i check amazon.com (as i sell a lot of stuff on there). If i cant find it there i will then check ebay. Usually i sell used cell phones but today hubby found some handheld game console from the 90s at goodwill that i put up for sale. Fun times. 🙂
I had a set of “China” handed down to me. I was told they were my grandmother’s (who passed away while my mother was pregnant with me). I displayed them in my China cabinet but never used them . When we decided to sell the dining room set that was too large for our house, I packed up the China and other knick knacks collecting dust in it. My mother eventually informed me that she couldn’t even remember if it was her mom’s or sister’s (also deceased)….and they weren’t really worth anything. They were the ones that came from the grocery store that you used to get piece by piece when you spent x amount of dollars – like the 25+ yr old encyclopedia set my folks have. This info freed me up to let it go. When I took it to the Salvation Army, they took it straight up front to go in the display case. I was happy then bc I knew it would bless someone else and not be tossed in a pile in the back to be broken. I am sentimental, but we aren’t China folks. I’ve begun going by the rule that if I don’t use it (or plan to very soon) I don’t need it, or if i don’t love it enough to display it, I don’t really love it. The things I really care about displaying? My kids art, my husband’s paintings and pottery, and a select few gift pieces – such as my Willow Tree figures.
I wonder if the next generation will feel about the Willow Tree figures like we do about the china of the previous generation and how will we feel about how they feel, so maybe it’s all just something to enjoy now and not worry about the future of – btw, I do love them, too; isn’t it interesting how minimalistic they are compared to the whatnots, etc. of our past as well, wonder how all of this will continue to play out
Yes yes yes! I recently pitched a certificate4 of authenticity for a ceramic doll that no longer had a box, had not been in. said box for alm.ost 20 years, and is actually stored in the attic at my parents’ house (although the certificate was in my own jewellery box at my house….
I have one of those binders for cd s, when I was packing to move the cd s and dvds would not fit in the box and the binder had empty spots. I went through my cd s and dvds found a few I don’t need the case for all of them were mine I let my husband decided how to organize his. I took out the papers recycled them and put the storage cases in donate bag. Then husband needed large piece of black cloth for a project their was a un comfortable black sheet in the bag I told him to use it. He found the cases got mad at me even though they were for movies I got before we meet and he would never watch. He grabbed them put tthem in a box and informed me he would take the dvds out of the binder as soon as we moved. I took the cases out while he was gone at work filled the space with something we were keeping finished packing the box and taped it up. I promise you he won’t miss it. It is not even his nor did he know what dvds I own. I love your tip to check ebay about imagined value. Some times the swirl of but but but what if is so much. Sometimes it needs to be spoken out loud and challenged so what if ?…really oh that is not that big of a deal is it was in my head. I love the idea of making a mosaic out of unusable China if the person would actually get around to doing it. If they donated it they would want to give it to the right place other wise it would be landfill any way.
We did save a few boxes before our move like the computer box and the boxes i used to transport canned food they are strong stack very well and have good handles my last move i knew were temporary. But this time i recycled them i did feel the what ifs but did it anyway. I do save the canning jar cases. I did not at first but that is one of the only things were it truly maters not for resale though for stacking and transport even if it 10 or 20 feet. I much prefer carrying 12 or 24 over 2 or three at a time. For packing we found an awesome solution for some things it looks like a disposal lint roller but of cling wrap. That is how we wrapped the crock pot and my jewelry box and boxes of canning jars that don’t have lids. It lasted two moves for us. We wrapped dresser drawers shut too.
Valerie Park says
China is meant to be used and washed regularly. The finish crazes over time when it is not used. It is worthwhile rotating your china to make sure each piece is used. It is sad when people store it for years, only to have it deteriorating in value through lack of use.
I still suffer misgivings throwing away boxes and paperwork, but I have learned to do it anyway!
Thank you for your blog. I have only arrived here recently and have enjoyed immensely following your decluttering journey. It appears it will be a lifelong effort for many of us and it is so good to have company!
I have BOXES of deco plates – probably 40 plates that I inherited from my mom – she collected with boxes and certificates. I don’t want them, but I have guilt. She also gave me her wedding china. It is service for 12 plus potato boats, soup tureens, two platters, soup bowls, and salad bowls…it’s rediculous! She always said “Ive had it for 50 year and never broke a cup” You KNOW im going to break a cup the first time I use it…!
I debated for a YEAR and finally checked replacements.com for the value of my wedding china that we hadn’t used in a decade. I live an hour from their store. One day I packed it all up in towels and drove it over there. They paid me several hundred dollars for my gorgeous clutter. It’s been 6 months now and I have no regrets. Check replacements.com for values of collectibles. You can ship to them and receive $. Or you can be happy with your decision to keep something.
Dana White says
This is a GREAT tip!!! And how lovely that you didn’t have to ship anything. That’s a big fear for my mother-in-law who wants to sell a set of china.
Jenny Coe says
Yep! We are the recipients of all the family hand me downs!
I know Jenny, the same here, the problem is that my husband passed on two years ago and I have not seen or heard from his family since then. So as I have a few items that were handed to us when we were married and when his mother passed on, however as I have not been part of his family for the past two years and I am busy decluttering as I am moving to a smaller place, I have three chests of drawers, a few “paintings” and other stuff that I do not need. So these are going to be sold and I can use the money for some things that are needed.
Just yesterday I made a sort-of similar decision. I have a gorgeous 1940s silk shawl that I found in a cedar chest after my mom passed on. It’s far too delicate to wear, and there are a few tiny holes in the center from where it was folded. I decided that I am going to cut it in half along that fold line and turn the two pieces into window valances for my bedroom. They will go perfectly, and I will get joy from seeing them every day. Why not?
I really really like your solution! congratulation!
My mom collected those plates. Some were charming and others were hideous! Lol. There were a couple that I identified closely with. For some reason they captured my imagination. Happily, 20 years after leaving home to start my own family, I found one of the ones I adore for $2 at a thrift shop. It was in perfect condition, in the box, with the certificate and everything. I brought it home, hung it in a prominent place and tossed the box. My mom saw it and asked how much I paid for it. I felt so bad for her when I was honest about it. Her face dropped. She started off so happy that I appreciated it’s beauty! I don’t know, Maybe it could become a genuinely valuable collector item a few decades from now when nostalgia kicks in for them? But for me this one plate represents ALL the best of my mom’s plates, I’m not getting rid of it anytime soon. But the box is gone forever. By tossing the box, I made my commitment to own it.
At the age of 24, I inherited all if my grandmother’s China (Lenox in pristine condition.)Along with along with a smattering of the surviving lamoges china That had been HER mothers. The Lamoges was beautiful and delicate Autumn Leaves pattern…perfect for my shabby chic sensibilities. But the more modern Lenox packed away at mom’s through my many moves over the years. Finally, after a few years back home, I was getting ready to move again across country. 2010…25 yrs later! I asked my mom if maybe my nieces would enjoy it. Bless my mom…she said “Sweetheart! Your granfather bought it for her ( 10 yrs b4 she died) but grandma never really cared for it herself! Get rid of it!”. Sold it to a woman who caters small weddings..she was ecstatic! But mom would have been fine GIVEN it away!
Janet Martinez says
In Grand Rapids, Michigan they have ArtPrize every year. One piece this year was made out of broken plates. One plate belonged to someone who had died and the mother had kept the plates that were important to her daughter. They were able to make something beautiful by letting go of the physical items and not worrying about them breaking, but breaking them on purpose in order to let go.
I just discovered that eBay now has options for viewing “Sold Listings” and “Completed Listings.” The completed listings appear to include items that sold plus items that didn’t sell but are no longer for sale.
Dana White says
Yes, I saw that the last time I checked something. It’s important to do “completed” though, just to get a realistic picture of how many didn’t sell at all, and the prices they didn’t sell at. (It’s one thing to not sell for a high price, and another if many don’t sell for 99 cents.)
Yes, I’m finding “completed” very useful. I’d actually gone over to eBay because I thought I’d seen (as a newbie catching up on your blog during the summer) “completed” items with the prices in green but some indication that maybe they weren’t sold for the listed prices. Then, in typical Slob fashion when I arrived on eBay today, I noticed, “Oh, shiny new category of ‘sold’!” So, now I’ve gotten back to my original search and found an example of the situation that puzzles me. When I click on “sold” listings with prices listed in green, some have a “sold” banner across the photo (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Simplicity-2589- pattern-Sewing-Costume-Renaissance-Medieval-Queen-King-Theater-/161845663604?hash=item25aec0d774), but others have an “ended“ banner across the photo (http://www.ebay.com/itm/SIMPLICITY-Pattern-7336-UNCUT-SIZE-XS-XL-Costume-Choir-Graduation-Robes-Uncut-/401007877446?hash=item5d5dee9d46). Do you happen to know what the difference is?
I have brought to light from the attic countless old, never-used sewing patterns, and though I’ve donated to charity the remaining inventory of what I used to sell on eBay (books), I’m pondering the fate of the patterns. I know, it’s a slippery slope when someone with Slob Vision sets items aside and starts pondering!
Thank you for the immense help your blog has given me since I discovered it a few months ago! I’m looking forward to your book.
Dana White says
Hmmmm. It looks like “ended” means it didn’t sell. And if you can get these listed asap, it might be worth it! Especially since they’re not breakable and are easy to ship!
The weird thing is that some of these, such as the one for pattern 7336, show prices in green print in the “completed” and “sold” listings, so it’s advisable for people to click through from the listings to check the banner across the pic.
Yes, I’m thinking not breakable, easy to ship, and easy to hide when my MIL comes for an overnight visit next month. LOL!
When I told my husband a few months ago that I was going to improve my housekeeping thanks to the new blog I’d found, he gave me the supportive but skeptical smile. He has been amazed!
One way to up-cycle the chine is have it broken and mosaic into a table top, trivit set, mirror frame, keepsake jewelry box, etc. It is a way to “remember” the China in a new form and they can be a gift to your sisters. I cut up my great grandmothers wedding suit ( what parts were salvageable) and made a pillow for my Mom on her 84th birthday ( 6 years ago). She was sooooo pleased and it was totally sentimental to her. It also got it out of my sewing room and I did not feel guilty tossing the rest of it. I don’t keep things if they are not important to me or serve a purpose. My kids hated that but as adults now they get it!
Colleen P says
I’m so pleased that you posted this-I have a relative with a real problem assigning value to objects (everything is priceless!), who is thus paralyzed at the idea of getting rid of them. I think this might be a way to demonstrate realistically that it only has value if you can sell it (and do all the other tasks associated with doing that).
Also, in regards to the china mentioned above-I have also been on the receiving end of that idea that someone else’s conditional happiness rests on me keeping and maintaining objects that they don’t want in their house. You get rid of enough of this kind of conditional ownership stuff and they eventually quit giving it to you! 😀
Dianne Adams says
Loved this article! “So easily-plaguable brain”- quite accurate for too many, especially me. I think I’ll go work on one of the corners in my house that I’ve been avoiding. Thanks!
Being military, I can tell you that if you’re keeping boxes for things to move, don’t. Any decent moving company will have special boxes for your electronics and things. And no matter how well you pack, things can still go wrong. Save yourself the clutter.
Your postings inspire me and are so helpful. I was told a tip that have found to be working really well for me. If something meant a lot, but you just no longer want it hanging around, TAKE A PICTURE. You can look back on it whenever you want to. I started with my 22 year old daughters trophies, ribbons and awards (with her permission). These were from preschool all the way through HS. SEt them in a nice display and take pictures where you can read the inscriptions before purging. An idea for the China set would be set an elegant dinner table, candles and all……snap some pretty pictures, then offer it to all family members, and if they don’t want it sell or donate immediately.
My Mom had plates all the way around living room, dining room and kitchen (1/2 inch apart). The boxes took up an entire closet. Don’t know what Dad did with them all when he sold house after she died. Don’t care. Don’t get me started on her crystal or telephone insulators (for real). I have the hoarder gene but try and fight it.
When my mom passed away I inherited almost two sets of china that I’m not sure which side of the family they came from. A grandmother who died before I was born had lived in the house. Some of it that I didn’t like got donated to the Goodwill several years ago but there was a full set with gravy boats, berry bowls, etc. that I kept and bought special “containers” to store them in. I did go through them once and threw away the ones that had chips or cigarette burns (yes, one tea cup did). I haven’t even looked at them in at least 20 years so think I need to donate most or all of them.
Linda Kemp says
I just took a box of “treasures” labeled with my daughter’s name to her house – after all, they were “her” treasures. We went through them together – she cared little for the precious dress her first picture was taken in, the hand made dress I sewed for her when she was about 4, or several other adorable little outfits. At one point she said, “Mom, these are your memories, not mine. If you want them, keep them.” They all went into the donate box. I was much more sentimental about them than she was. Now to go through the other boxes with the other kids’ names on them…
Karrie Snavely says
Oh my goodness, this is brilliant and yet so simple. (“It’s called …. eBay!”)
“Value” is my number one hang-up to getting rid of stuff, so thank you, thank you, thank you!
And you are just the cutest! (I relate to so many scenarios you talk about; we are definitely cut from the same cloth.)
All of this makes me think of something funny I’ve been thinking for several years. I have a dear friend who buys (possibly) collectible cat stuff for me on Ebay and at garage sales. I often think of selling it on Ebay, but I worry she will either see it and figure out what I’m doing (which would hurt her terribly), or— maybe she would BUY it again for me! So now I just find people who LOVE collectible cat stuff and GIVE it to them!
THIS. My problem is not really family “heirlooms,” I can pitch those without so much as a passing regret. I have two problems, one of which is the amount of needlework and craft supplies that I personally have accumulated and see $$$ everytime I want to toss or donate. But I’m getting better at that. It totally DOESN’T MATTER what I paid for it, the only value it has is what someone else will pay for it and it is ALWAYS mere pennies on the dollar of the original cost. NOT WORTH keeping around causing me grief. I just have to ask myself is the item bothering me that much to keep, if so let it go and forget what it cost. AND do better with those purchases in the future (which I am proud to say I have been able to do!!!)
My other problem is my husbands accumulation of totally worthless “collectibles.” Like the broken chalkware, the authentic Indian rugs that have tags on the back that say “100% Polyester, Made in Mexico,” the African carvings that you can buy really cheaply at Hobby Lobby, etc. etc. I could go on and on, but I’m sure if you’re reading this you already know what I mean. He absolutely won’t let go of a piece of it. He has bought into the sunk cost fallacy 100%, and won’t see that the pieces are actually worthless. It would cost more in time and trouble to try to sell them than it would to just donate or toss them.
My biggest problem now is making sure that he doesn’t expand into my uncluttered areas!!!!! 😉
Lillian in Denmark says
Elaine. The existence of those plates are making you unhappy. They are stealing time from your brain that could be used on thinking happy thoughts. You need to tell your sisters, that if they have room in their private containers, they can come get the plates. Because you do not have space in your mental containers or the physical containers within your house. And they are so not valuable enough to mess with your happiness. The end!
Thank you, Dana for teaching me about containers. It made my life so much easier! I still mess up and shop for stuff I can’t contain at stressful times, and I can’t get rid of my donation stuff, because Corona. But overall, the container-concept has made a huge positive and doable difference in my life! Thank you!
A friend was given her grandmother’s wedding dress about a month before her own wedding. Her mom started talking about selling the dress she’d already purchased and had altered, and seeing what they could do to make grandma’s dress “work”.
My friend cut a heart shape from grandma’s dress and sewed it onto the lining of the bodice of her dress, grandma’s “heart” resting against her own heart. She cut the lace border from grandma’s veil and sewed it inside the hem of her gown.
You should have seen the love and joy on grandma’s face when these symbols were revealed to her at the church just before the ceremony.
She threw the rest of the dress away, as the only granddaughter she felt no pressure to pass anything along to anyone else. I thought she was brilliant the way she honored the gift, blessed the giver, and stayed true to herself.
Kim Domingue says
I kept many of the little outfits that I made for my daughter and son when they were young. Many had hand sewn, hand made appliques and embroidery on them. Sadly, my daughter had different ideas about how to dress a daughter and all of those lovingly created outfits stayed packed away. But then, one day, I came to the realization that those outfits represented MY memories of my children’s early years….not theirs. So, I’m going to make a quilt out of them….for me!
The china stories made me frown in sympathy. My love for rosebuds has never been correctly interpreted by dear husband. Some of the biggest arguments in our marriage were triggered by him buying me expensive rose bouquets (hello! from our joint account!) when money was needed elsewhere. In deference to my own mother, who was a military wife, and entertained beautifully, I did choose a china pattern when I married, but it was inexpensive. Unbeknownst to me, my brand new husband talked his mother into purchasing a set of Prince Albert Old Country roses (which she could not afford, either) for a wedding gift. I was dismayed to say the least. My mother said, if you really don’t like it, use it and it will break! He continued to add specialty pieces over the years. I will check out those ebay auctions right now! Thank you for letting me vent – he still doesn’t get it!
Were you Laurey or Ado Annie? I think if you were Ado Annie it explains why you’ve got too much clutter “you can’t say no” when people give you things xx
My problem is more with the actual item to begin with and the guilt associated with having it in the first place… good money was spent, wrongly, and could I sell this to try to recoup some of it, and if so, should i hang on to it, etc. It ALWAYS derails me! Emotional and time-consuming, and fruitless! I do get the box thing though too. Thanks for the help!
I have generational stuff like this My Great Grandmother liked antique stuff and did the “it is worth money” so much…. My Grandmother does it some too. My Mom had collectibles (she passed in 2001) Dept 56 Christmas Village stuff (Dickens Village) AND both Grandma and I don’t really want to have ALL. THE. HOUSES. I want basically what I have, and MAYBE one or two more buildings (I have an ice castle and it is great on its own) I’d like to sell the others, but we go to ebay and the $$ isn’t where she wants it so we never sell them. BUT it isn’t clutter in my house so I can’t complain too much LOL
I’ve just had to get over the generational “clutter” mindset (and it isn’t cured by any means!) I have Hallmark ornaments still with boxes, Barbie collection, Barbie plates (we had boxes and certificates) I have American Girl dolls that my DD now 14 no longer plays with (she is youngest girl so the final interest) When I’m Grandma I’ll want to get them new ones no matter how loved they were of MINE. I’ll keep “Alice” she was from Disney and not Alice at all just looks kind of like her so I named her that LOL and even then she was signed, but the signature is gone
Guilt has started to be met with “well do YOU want it?”
Linda Kemp says
I have beautiful pieces inherited from my husband’s grandmother (dated 1902) that have NEVER been used – I was pondering this the other day. Over 100 years of being passed around as a treasure, but never used. My kids have no interest in them because there are no memories attached to them because – never used. I tried to find if there was a value on ebay but didn’t find anything similar. Now what? Probably they go away quietly. Lesson: If you love it enough to keep it, USE IT!