Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Sentimental Stuff You Just Can't Shed

dress, hanging in garage

This is the dress my mother wore to my brother's wedding. It's hanging exactly where I put it when I brought it home after Mom's death, back in May 2007.

I hung it up in the garage as a temporary thing, fully intending to sell or donate it — but I've found I just can't let it go. That reaction isn't fully rational. When it comes to memorabilia, photos often stand in for physical items — and I have a great photo of Mom wearing that dress. Someone else could make good use of it.

But Mom loved that dress. And my brother's wedding was a very special day; he was just aglow with joy. And I adore my sister-in-law.

So I've given myself permission to keep that dress for as long as I feel compelled to. It's not like I kept many remembrances of my mom, beyond the memories; my house isn't overloaded with her stuff, by any means.

Sometimes we just need to hold onto a special item or two — and sometimes "just because" is reason enough.


Carolyn said...

Nice to hear, an organizer who's human like the rest of us! I was about to get rid of my wedding dress and my daughter wouldn't hear of it! Now I'm kind of glad...your keeping of the dress may not be "practical" but look how often you see it and think of your Mom.

Jeri Dansky said...

Carolyn, every organizer I know is human, like everyone else - it's just a matter of how much they are willing to share that!

And reading a book that mentioned the wedding dress controversy (keep it, or not) is what inspired this post!

Claire Josefine said...

My primary criteria when deciding whether or not to keep an item or move it along is "does this make me smile and bring me joy?" If the answer is yes, keep it. We have an interesting cultural bias toward practicality that needs re-examining, I think. is there anything more important than love? No. And that dress floods you with love when you see it. That is an excellent reason to keep it. One client I knew displayed her special garments (no, not that kind) as art. What a lucky woman you are to have such loving memories of your mother and brother and sister-in-law!

Marcie Lovett said...

My mother just moved to a much smaller apartment and had to let go of a lot of stuff. I'm not very sentimental, but I'm holding on to her nursing school cape.

Sure, I could donate it to a costume shop or sell it to a vintage dealer, but there's just something about it that, as Claire says, makes me smile.

By the way, that's one of the questions I ask clients when facing tough decisions about what to keep. Every decision doesn't have to be practical, but you do have to be practical about how much you can keep in your space. Life is too short to keep stuff that doesn't appeal to you.

Jeri Dansky said...

Marcie, that cape sounds just like my dress! And that's a great way of putting things: "Every decision doesn't have to be practical, but you do have to be practical about how much you can keep in your space."

Jeri Dansky said...

Claire: I'm very lucky, indeed.

Get Or said...

Will you post the photo of your mother?

My anniversary is coming up and I've kept my wedding dress to wear again at a big anniversary party. As it turns out, my husband will be out of town, but I'm thinking of just wearing it everywhere I go. I doubt I will ever wear it again. But, who knows? If the experience is as memorable as I think it will be, it may just become a tradition!

Thank you for sharing.
<3 Nonnahs in LA

Get Organized Already said...

Supposed to be Get Organized Already

Jeri Dansky said...

Glad to share a photo of my mom; you can see one in this old post.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

This is very touching, Jeri. Some things really are special and need to be kept. The dress is a perfect example.

Geralin Thomas said...

"Just Because" is the perfect reason for keeping something meaningful.