On the wall in my laundry room hangs an avocado green General Electric clock that hung for years in my grandmother’s kitchen. In my bedroom I have my other grandma’s sewing box, full of my threads and buttons along with her pincushion (although I will admit I painted white over the icky color it started life as). My jewelry collection includes pieces that were passed to me.
Does being a minimalist mean that you can’t keep family heirlooms? Of course not. But you should know that you don’t need to keep them all. Just a few great pieces that fill you with joy and some photos will do.
So how to decide what to keep, and what to do with the rest? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Was this object something that my relative really loved? (Or do I really love it?)
- How do I feel when I look at this? Does it make me happy, or do I feel weighed down by it? (The answer to this becomes more evident if you’re in the process of moving.)
- Can it be be (immediately) useful to me in some way?
- Is there another relative who might enjoy this more?
- Will my children realistically want this?
Photos may require an extra question: Does anyone know who the people in these pictures are?!?
In my case, a lot of things had been passed to me because no one else wanted them. With the photos, I enlisted the help of some older relatives to identify the subjects, kept some, pitched some meaningless ones, and passed on others that would mean more to another family member.
With objects, I tried to keep things that would be useful to me or that I could display and enjoy regularly. After all, what’s the point of keeping something that stays in an attic or storage unit?
When you’re finished, get some photo boxes, albums, or frames for your pictures. Make sure you try to list the subjects on the back. Otherwise, future generations may not enjoy them. Display or use your other memorabilia. Sit back and smile.
Day Fourteen: DONE!