Why do we keep things we don’t need? Is it a primeval hoarding instinct or a fear of lacking some vital item sometime in the future? I was thinking about this as I try to become more minimalist in my approach to life. Some things are difficult to part with; you feel you should keep them but you don’t really know why. Perhaps they were a gift, perhaps they were handed down by a family member. Perhaps they have some sentimental value for someone dear to you. But at the end of the day, it is down to us to make the decision to keep or not to keep.
This sticky subject made me think about my mother and her silver-plated tray. It was large and oval shaped. It was a wedding present from some friends of hers. She kept it all her life and I inherited it. However, it did not spark happy memories for me at all. What I do remember is my mother always complaining about it. She would say ‘why did they give me that?’ She would complain about cleaning it. Not once do I remember her actually using it. It lived on top of the sideboard, gathering dust and covered with hot plate stands and fruit bowls. However, it never crossed her mind not to keep it, even after the people who gave it to her had died, even after my father had died. Why? Perhaps because it was a wedding present and had sentimental value for that reason. But I am not convinced that this was really why she kept it because she said so often that she didn’t like it. She could have just not kept it.
I took the decision not to keep it and have since sold it and sent it on its way along with its rather negative memories. For me it had no connection to my parents’ marriage. It was too big to be much use to me in my present life.
Category, do I like it? Not really. Will I use it? No.