Most of the things that you own will have a story. Some of them will be boring, like maybe an impulse buy from TK Maxx. However you also probably own things that were given to you by someone significant or at a significant time.
There is a natural link between gifts and the people who gifted them, but your bond with that person does not live or die based on those gifts. The item in question may trigger a memory or an emotion that you understandably want to hold on to. But if that is the case, take a photo of it or write about it in a journal. You don’t have to keep things that are not serving a function in order to retain precious memories.
I understand that not everyone feels in the same, and of course the people who have bought you presents want to see you wearing and enjoying them. When I was back home in NZ over Christmas, I got in trouble for not wearing a ring that my Grandma had given me years and years ago. Never mind that she had won it as part of a hamper and she herself had described it as tacky! Luckily my Mum came to the rescue and pointed out that I have a very precious garnet ring that she also gave me and I do cherish.
The reason I have been ruminating about this, is due to the Minimalist’s decluttering challenge. Admittedly, I probably don’t have has many gifty things in my UK home as I have in my NZ home. But I have come across a few things that I have hesitated to throw out for no other reason than not wanting to offend someone. Realistically, I don’t believe that anyone would expect me to hold on to something that is broken or doesn’t fit me. Yet for some reason it still takes a lot of convincing for those things to make it to the discard pile.
I love my family and friends, and I appreciate the thought that people have put into sending me things for Christmas and my Birthday, particularly since I have been living away from home. So I myself am going to think pretty hard about what I give people as gifts from now on. You know those people in life that are really hard to buy for because they seem to have everything? Yeah, well my family has a few of those. In future I am going to focus on function or hand-made goodness.
I used to be really good at planning my hand-made prezzies months in advance. But as I have gotten older and my life has become ‘busier’, I haven’t been on the ball with it as much. In my mind, there is nothing better than something that literally only exists because someone has thought of you.
In saying that, I hereby give all of my family members permission to get rid of anything I made you that either a) doesn’t do the job it’s meant to, and or b) is really, really ugly. That is, if you haven’t already of course.