Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not Clutter: The Odd Sentimental Items

paint-by-numbers painting of can-can dancer in Paris

I don't think this painting is great art work, yet it's one of my most cherished possessions. Why? Because it's the paint-by-numbers picture that my mother did when she was pregnant with me. It hung in her apartment bathroom for the last 30 years of her life, and now it hangs in mine.

Patterns - literary magazine, Berkley High School, Spring 1968

Another personal example: To some people's horror, I tore apart my high school yearbooks, and saved only a few pages. But the high school literary magazine I worked on? Those I kept!

And listen to professional organizer Debbie writing about her "slightly scratched, lightly faded, beloved Snow White figurine." Debbie says: "Not long before her death, my Grandmom Jordan brought this unremarkable figurine home to me after her visit to the Florida theme park. I was barely 9 when Grandmom died, but the short time I had with her was enough to convince me that she was a blessing to our family, and a treasure more valuable than all the riches in the world. Even to this day, just the sight of my Snow White brings a flood of warm emotions, and triggers fond memories of summers at the Jersey shore with my loving, doting Grandmom."

So I'm here to tell you that memorabilia is very personal. Go ahead and save meaningless-to-anyone-else sentimental items - but it does help to be selective and save only the most precious. And don't worry about getting rid of things that you think should be meaningful, but aren't.

Related Post:
Saving Some of the Sentimental


Riley & Tiki said...

A few years ago, the Smithsonian had a paint by numbers exhibit. There were several versions of the cancan dancer. Who says it's not great art?

R&T Mom

Jeri Dansky said...

R&T Mom: That just made my day! Thanks so much for commenting.

Riley & Tiki are, of course, totally adorable.

Susan Culligan said...

Right on, Jeri. I love the look on a client's face when, far from urging that a treasured but long-buried item be thrown out, I suggest that it be dusted off and displayed lovingly. Changes the whole mind-set!

Jeri Dansky said...

Absolutely, Susan! There's a misperception that organizers are all about "making you get rid of stuff," while finding the treasures among the clutter is equally important.

Debbie Jordan Kravitz (Virtually Organized) said...

Thanks for mentioning my Snow White, Jeri. I love your Mom's painting and understand the attachment you must have to it. I think the fact that we only have these few cherished pieces makes them even more valuable and special. When this so-called clutter can be seen and respected, rather than jumbled among less important items and knick-knacks, it goes from "clutter" to "treasure." Thanks for sharing.