Author Topic: Eliminating unnecessary sentimental attachment (re: Selling the Family Jewels)  (Read 7899 times)

igthebold

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My mother died back in 2000, and I was left with a lot of her stuff. I really don't know if any of it is valuable, but I'm kind of stuck with this weird sentimentality attached to it. Some of it is just interesting stuff, since she had an interesting childhood and youth, but some of it is just, well, hers. I find it hard to work myself up to selling or getting rid of a lot of it.

I have a similar situation with my grandmother, who's in the process of divesting herself and finding homes for things. If she gives me something, I find it hard to just turn around and get rid of it.

Any of you have this problem? How do you slap yourself in the face and force yourself to think objectively? I don't think sentimentality is a big problem, but in a lot of cases the other half of my brain is just looking askance at myself.

totoro

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I just posted about this in the comment section to MR MM's latest article.

I inherited furniture from my grandparents.  I carted around a huge horsehair sofa that required four men to lift from place to place and stored it too - all over a period of fifteen years.  It wasn't even that comfortable but I had memories...

Finally, two years ago, I reached the point where I refused to move it again.  I checked to see if anyone else in the family wanted it and then donated it when they didn't.  I kept the matching chair.

I have found that skillful decluttering requires practice and conscious effort.  I have questions that I ask myself based on my own experiences with stuff over the years:

1.  Am I willing to maintain this?  So, for dishes/silverware, it turns out that if it isn't dishwasher save I'm not willing to maintain it.
2.  Am I willing to move this again?  For the vast majority if stuff, the answer is no.  Even my high school annuals went out after I asked this question.

I have found that once stuff is gone I don't miss it.  It is the effort required to get rid of things that is the hard part.

shadowmoss

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I have a wind up Victrola that was my Dad's, bought for him when he was a teenager by my Grandfather who I never met (he died a year before I was born).  I've had the Victrola since I was 12.  I'm in my 50's.  It is pretty much to the point of never wanting to move it again, and is in storage in the US, while I'm in Honduras.  My goal is to end up in an RV, so no room for a large Victrola.  If it was worth anything I would sell it no questions asked.  Mom says that from what she sees on TV, they are worth maybe $500.  I will have to make a decision when I finally clear out the storage unit (one of 2 10'x20').  I have a Hoosier cabinet that I bought when I bought my first house.  Some of the same issues, it sits in the same storage unit.

Most of the rest of the stuff I'm better at getting rid of. 

Kriegsspiel

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It was weird that MMM put that article up a couple days after I started looking into owning actual pieces of gold and silver.  I'm not up to the Rawles level, though, but just having some (5%?) of my assets in precious metals seems comforting. 

kisserofsinners

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I have a wind up Victrola that was my Dad's, bought for him when he was a teenager by my Grandfather who I never met (he died a year before I was born).  I've had the Victrola since I was 12.  I'm in my 50's.  It is pretty much to the point of never wanting to move it again, and is in storage in the US, while I'm in Honduras.  My goal is to end up in an RV, so no room for a large Victrola.  If it was worth anything I would sell it no questions asked.  Mom says that from what she sees on TV, they are worth maybe $500.  I will have to make a decision when I finally clear out the storage unit (one of 2 10'x20').  I have a Hoosier cabinet that I bought when I bought my first house.  Some of the same issues, it sits in the same storage unit.

Most of the rest of the stuff I'm better at getting rid of.

Damn...My inner DJ is all hot and bothered over your Victrola and even i have to struggle with the, "dude, there is no frakin' way you are putting that in your house! You really think that's a *good* idea?!?!"

Stuff is hard to not love sometimes... :-/

shadowmoss

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The Victrola comes with several records.  :)

Jamesqf

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The Victrola comes with several records.  :)

Are they the really old cylinder-type records?

MsSindy

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Sentimental stuff can be a bear.  Lucky for me, my Mom (bless her heart) owned a bunch of crap - so when she passed I kept the family photos and a couple pieces of sentimental jewelry that my Dad made for her.  But when my husband's grandparents died (within a couple of years of each other), he wanted to keep all kinds of things.... they had to be brought back from Canada to the States no less!  It's hard when you're grieving to think clearly.  Now that a couple of years have past, I have convinced him that the bags of clothing we brought home (and have never worn) would be better served by giving them away so someone could actually use (custom suits and coats - nice stuff actually).  The one thing we did do, which we both thought was a good move was to recover the grandparents' sofa and love seat - it was a hideous floral teal and pink!  But well made.  So we stripped it and re-covered it with some modern fabric and for $200 we got brand new furniture and got to keep some sentiment as well.  Win-win.

Now, when his Mom passes - yikes!  She's got STUFF.... and it's all 'good' stuff, but it's still STUFF.  Even she jokes about feeling sorry for the kids when they have to deal with all her stuff!  I can only hope that we've moved to a nice tiny house by then and have no room for anything.

shadowmoss

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The Victrola comes with several records.  :)

Are they the really old cylinder-type records?

They are platter, 33 rpm (I think, maybe large 78).  Most are pretty scratched.  Volume control is how open or closed the doors to the speaker cabinet part are.  When we moved it into my bedroom when I was 12 my Dad said 'ok, where is the electric outlet so we can set it close' and being 12 I immediately started looking.  He laughed.  I keep telling myself that pictures of it will be just as good for reminding me of those memories...

James

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I think good advice for sentimental objects is just what shadowmoss mentioned, get a good picture of yourself with the sentimental object and put it on the wall.  It will be a lot more interesting to your kids to see a picture of you with the object, than to just see the object and have no sentimental attachment to it at all.  This way it will continue to have interest and will take up very little space and be easy to dispose of when it's eventually no longer needed.  If it seems cheesy to you to take the picture, I think that makes it pretty clear what the right action is...  :D

Allison

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This article has been a big boost to my bottom line.  Like MM, I had some silver in my garage; unlike MM, mine are solid silver from the 40's in a rare pattern.  For all 4 complete sets for 8, I will make close to $8k.  I trying to find more treasures in my house! 

James

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This article has been a big boost to my bottom line.  Like MM, I had some silver in my garage; unlike MM, mine are solid silver from the 40's in a rare pattern.  For all 4 complete sets for 8, I will make close to $8k.  I trying to find more treasures in my house!


WOW!  Great find... from the garage no less!  :)

kkbmustang

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I've decided to sell my wedding china and crystal and have been unsuccessful with ebay and craigslist. Any other suggestions?

James

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I've decided to sell my wedding china and crystal and have been unsuccessful with ebay and craigslist. Any other suggestions?


I don't know how you listed them on ebay, but my suggestion is to determine actual shipping costs by packaging it all up and weighing it. (after taking good photos)  Then list it with shipping covering actual shipping and no lower limit starting at $1.  You are pretty much guaranteed it will sell for what it is worth, ebay is a big market.  If you have a good description and good photos then you will get what it's worth, which might be $1 plus shipping...  If you know it isn't worth very much just give it to goodwill and take the tax deduction.  The prices of china and crystal have been hurt a lot by the internet, so unless they are something really special you can't expect much for them.

fidgiegirl

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I've decided to sell my wedding china and crystal and have been unsuccessful with ebay and craigslist. Any other suggestions?

Someone has recommended a site that has a huge warehouse of all these china patterns and collectibles . . . they will buy stuff like this.  Anyone?  What was that place called?!

kkbmustang

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Replacements.com.  They offered jack crap for my china but are selling it for like 20-30 times what they're willing to pay.  I figured I could do better.