While chatting about the mountains of 'stuff' we bury ourselves in, it occurred to me that the urge to hoard is as branching and diverse as the biggest gnarled oak in the forest.
To begin with, we make a decision not to part with an item. We see value in it and therefore hang on to it.
Now that makes sense. What's the problem? And really, at this stage there is no problem at all.
But, let's break it down a little, let's take a look at a very few of the reasons for keeping an item.
- The item is still useful if not used as often as it used to be or it may be useful to someone else in the future.
- The item has sentimental value.
- Come the zombie apocalypse, this item might save my life.
All perfectly valid reasons to keep an item. The log jam begins when we mix up our reasons. When we kid ourselves that we've kept an item for reason 1 when it's actually reason 2. or vice versa.
Let's take a few items and look at the reasons.
Mum's mixing bowl - Kept for sentimental reasons
It's easy to keep an item like this because you've attached fond memories to it's place in your early life. Baking together, you're childhood family meal times. But hey! It was a pot for mixing stuff together in and the only reason you remember it is because it was used. It's probably still a great mixing bowl and worth using again. Don't be fooled into thinking you'll pass it on to the kids. Not using it means that they've never get to attached the same fond memories to it. The worst that will happen is it'll get broken while you're baking together. Buy a new mixing bowl, you'll live.
The kids early clothes - Kept because they're still useful. I'll pass them on one day.
It is a sad indication of our consumer society that many parents will be given so many new clothes for their child that some never even get worn. Let's be honest. Apart from the occasional baby photo where the outfit is there to draw the observer's eye from the squealing face and mother and toddler group where you simply MUST turn out an immaculate, designer clad child to prove just how well you're doing at this whole parenting thing, the most important aspects of baby attire is the ease of nappy change, the ability to be removed at night when the removee is a) not a Krypton factor winner and b) still technically asleep and that the item can survive a poo and sick removing boil wash. As for passing them on to the next generation. Remember the shell suit? Is that really what you want for your grandchildren?
Now, there's no reason not to keep this stuff, let's just be sure we're doing it for the right reasons. Let's mix up a cake in Mum's mixing bowl and let's be honest that the box of clothes in the attic will probably only see light when nobody is left to remember who it belonged to and the moths/mice have had their fill.
Here's our idea. Let's save a little money, make something that will have real sentimental value and recycle some stuff.
Join us in our February Youtube project. Using our digital downloads (great value £4.29 and super green) we're making a 100% recycled Memory Rag Doll. Something your child can enjoy and a lovely thing for them to pass on to their own kids. We'll use an old cushion for the dolls body, unravel a woolly jumper for his/her hair and make an outfit from those old clothes . . . except for the shell suits. The shell suits are possibly best kept for the zombie apocalypse *shudder*.