I come from a long line of
Sentiment is my biggest problem--I am a nostalgia junkie. If you have sent me anything in the last ten years, I probably still have it, be it letters, cards, bookmarks, yarn, etc. No matter how much I don't like, need, or want something, if it was a gift from someone else, I will keep it. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing; I like to think that it demonstrates how grateful I am when people give me gifts. That said, there comes a point at which I simply don't need (or, sometimes, want) the things that I am given. For example, in the big purge, I gave away 3 different dip bowl with spreader sets; I kept one.
I have been reading a few different sites about managing space and clutter over the last few months, and I've come across a basic principle that has been enormously helpful to me in terms of making me feel okay about letting go of things that I've been given. It's called the Six Months Rule, and it essentially states that if you haven't used it in the last six months and aren't going to use it in the next six, gift it, donate it, or toss it. (There are some exceptions, obviously, for special items, like my collection of beaded evening bags, or Mat's collection of Scotch.) It's such a simple thing, but it's amazing to me how much of a difference it has made in relieving my guilty conscience about getting rid of gifts.
Now, if only someone could make come up with a rule that would make it okay for me to get rid of books, I'd be all set.
1 I mean awesome in the sense that we got it done, not awesome in the sense that we had that much crap to throw out.
2 On both sides, even.
3 I'm sure it helps enormously that most of my stuff came here when we bought the house, though I'm pretty sure there are still a few boxes of books at my parents'.