The Value of Things

Today I’m thinking about the sentimental attachment that I have to things. I have always treasured my stuff. From a very early age I was especially sentimental. Most of us honor things like china and photos and quilts and handmade items. We sometimes even treasure inexpensive store-bought items just because they were given to us by somebody that we love. (More on that subject below.)
This year I’m comitted to reducing the amount of stuff in my home. And the first rule is knowing that nothing material is real and the only meaning inanimate objects have is the meaning that I assign to them. And boy oh boy, do I have a knack for assigning meaning.
So, I am wondering if this business of collecting vintage dishes isn’t counterproductive to this. I’ve always joked that my business idea was just a way to justify my cabinets full of dishes. But, in reality Dirty Dishes does make having dishes around more useful. Definitely these dishes have been useful in helping me maintain a less stressful lifestyle over the last two years, which is valuable beyond measure.
When I am washing dishes after an event I am so gratified that each of these pieces was used and handled and admired. Many of them sat on a thrift store shelf destined for the recycle bin or worse yet the landfill. And I’m thinking about the sentiment of some of them. especially the pieces that come from my Honor-Ware collection. Now they have new life and are most likely being used more than they EVER were by the people who had them originally. I can’t help feeling that these treasures are very lucky. Because really, the best way to love and honor anything we have is to actually use it.
So now looking through the same lens at my own things, which of these items are useful? Which of them bring the value to my life? And further, how much does sentiment bring value to my life? Maybe a good measure is how much does this sentiment bring value to the present moment. A piece that was given to me by someone I love may bring them to mind and the love I feel for them in any given moment. The trick for those pieces is to remember to take the time to reflect on their origin in the moment.
I’d like to note here that pieces from friends and family that are in a box or closet somewhere, untouched in years, do not afford much opportunity for reflection. And when it’s tough to give them away, I remind myself that my friend or family member did not carry the intention for that item to weigh me down. This helps me keep the sentiment and let go of the item. This is also where a camera comes in handy. I can see a photo of the item and still appreciate the love exchanged.
Things from my past are sometimes just sentimental because of the memory of how happy I was when I used them or received them. These may not be so valuable in the present moment. NOW is when I most need to be happy. So maybe these of the pieces I need to let go.
Now up to the attic…