Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but as an English teacher I never discouraged my students from using Cliff’s Notes as long as they actually read the novel we were studying. I’m not naïve. I know that some of them never made it past page five of the assigned book, but even so, hopefully Cliff’s Notes gave them a basic understanding of what the book was about, maybe not enough to become a  Jeopardy champion but at least enough to remember a little bit about the book if it ever became a movie.

In the same vein I know that some of you who opened the link to the Minimalist article mentioned in “Lessons from a Chair: Part Two” didn’t get past the first couple of paragraphs. It’s a long article but well worth the read if you’re dealing with a lot of sentimental “stuff” and all the baggage it brings with it.

I know your phone is ringing, your dinner is burning, your kids are crying, your spouse is yelling, and your dog is barking at  your cat, which is napping  in your basket of fresh-laundered clothes. Because you’re all so stressed out and strapped for time (and because I’ve been where you are), I’ve decided to do you  a favor. Below is the Cliff’s Note version of the Minimalist article. Actually, it’s more like a molehill version, but it might give you enough insight to  sort out the important items from the unimportant ones. It might even save you from being one of those sentimental hoarders whose lives are unexpectedly snuffed out by toppling towers of old Encyclopedia Britannicas, National Geographics, and photo albums.

Sound good? OK, then. In the words of Joshua Fields Millburn, one-half of the Minimalist team, this is what to remember when it comes to sentimental items:

  1. I am not my stuff; we are more than our possessions.
  2. Our memories are within us, not within our things.
  3. An item that is sentimental for us can be useful for someone else.
  4. Holding on to stuff imprisons us. Letting go is freeing.
  5. You can take pictures of items you want to remember.
  6. Old photographs can be scanned.

There it is for you, all nice and neat and tidy and short, but deep down you know you really ought to read the whole article. Here’s your second chance! And in case you’re wondering, yes, I was thinking in my “teacher voice” when I typed that!

Happy reading!