I've been clearing up my house lately to make space for new things and ditch the clutter, getting rid of anything I don't use and consolidating what I do. It's hard to part with things sometimes - I'm sure you've had the same experience!
My aunt sent me a little summary of how to make tough decisions about what to keep and what must go which echoed what I had learned through experience. It amounts to this:
If you don't need it now but might need it in ten years then compare its replacement cost to the real estate value of the storage space it will take up during that time. Then get rid of it.
If it cost a fortune and you're not using it, then it's costing you even more of a fortune and not just in money. Guilt is a heavy burden.
If you've collected a lot more of something than you can display (or use - are you getting the theme here?) then you need to prune.
Things are just things, not memories. You'll remember high school without the leather jacket you bought there in your last year.
Family heirlooms aren't heirlooms unless the current and next generation get to develop attachments to them. Use them.
Bearing these policies in mind to steel myself for the task, I emptied two out of six storage boxes this week, and one of the remaining four is only half full. A lot of what I decided to part with was stored china I had collected over years of thrift store and rummage sale visits in various towns I visited, by way of acquiring functional souvenirs. What I kept, I've put in my newly-cleared out china cabinet where I can get at it.
The plate in the middle was sitting on a crowded table at a church bazaar in a little village along the eastern coast of England when I found it. I love it so much for its cheery colours and seeming movement. Years ago I had it hanging on a wall with these plaid plates (I'm such a sucker for a good 50s plaid plate) but it's been nice these last few days to serve cookies on any of the three.
I can't remember where I got these, but I think they would be perfect at Christmas, don't you? and maybe for a special meal with a friend.
This one I picked up at some totally unassuming charity thrift shop. I can't tell you how much I love this plate - it's very smooth and new-looking and toast looks beyond perfect on it.
I adore these two bowls, too - I did say I can't resist plaids, right? The pink one has a little chip but I decided I don't care and it needs to stay. They are great bowls for slipping round cookies or wrapped candies into.
This cappucino-ish set is special - I found it at a flea market it during a weekend spent with a childhood friend who was turning 30 and wanted to revisit all our old haunts, including the near-vertical cliff we used to climb along at the lake. Horrors! I'd like to think it wasn't quite so treacherous looking then but I suspect it was just as dangerous. I've used them once since unpacking them but I don't know... I think I might give the set to that friend, who actually drinks both cappucino and espresso.
These ones are pretty posh by comparison with the rest, aren't they. An inheritance from my dad's cousin's widow that I have never used, but clearly need to use, perhaps for a small lunch party or a little tea and cake?
I should do something to celebrate all this cleaning, after all, and it really can't be a trip to the thrift store.