My mother collected teapots. A lot of them. She took great delight in finding different and quirky teapots on her travels. Over the years her collection grew to more than 300 teapots. When she passed away, I inherited her collection.
Now I like tea and I can appreciate the beauty or whimsy of a teapot, but I never shared my mother’s passion.
So what to do?
First I chose one teapot that I really liked to keep as a remembrance of my mother. I also selected one for each of my daughters. Then I invited friends and family to choose one if they wanted to. And if they didn’t, that was okay too. After all that, there were a still a lot of teapots left.
I started thinking about the best way to honour my mother’s passion. I knew it wasn’t to store the rest of them in boxes in my basement. So some went to her church for use in the kitchen. I found another teapot collector who was thrilled to take many of them. I know my mother would be pleased that her treasures were delighting someone else. And the rest went to several women’s shelters to become useful in someone else’s kitchen.
Here’s the thing about holding onto to sentimental treasures.
We often convince ourselves that we can’t let them go because we might lose the memory of them.
Sometimes we hold on to stuff that was someone else’s treasure because it somehow feels disrespectful to not keep it.
Sometimes we keep way to much stuff for our kids as a remembrance of their childhood. Chances are that if you asked them, they would keep far fewer things and maybe not the ones you are holding for them.
If it’s really a sentimental treasure for you, it should have a place of honour in your home. Not shoved in a box or stuffed in a drawer.
Trust your memories and if you need a little reassurance, take a photo of it. The memory is in your heart and mind, not in the object.
Ask your kids what special treasures they want – a favourite toy, a well read book, or an art project. Stop holding onto their stuff as a way of holding on to them at a younger age.
Look at your sentimental treasures from a different perspective. Be choosy about what you keep. Then treat them with the respect they deserve.