This is a good place to point out a couple of things. First, Doris’s taste is like my mother’s, only more so. Second, I had just read an article in which the Minimalists discussed how to avoid falling into the trap of keeping items you don’t like simply because of sentiment. They explained that sentimental value doesn’t automatically equate real value. I’d read the article, but I hadn’t fully digested it. The ensuing conversation between my sister-in-law and me went something like this:

“We’ve really cleared things out around here. Look inside this closet.”

“Why is that chair in the closet?”

“My mother bought it to go with her antique desk, but I never really liked it. I found a better chair to put with it.”

“But why is it in the closet?”

“I don’t have any other place to put it. And I don’t like it.”

“I love it. I’ve always loved it. If you don’t want it, you can give it to me.”

My entire being went into defensive mode. “Uh, it was my mother’s.” The  Minimalists chose this exact moment to reach across the continent and sucker-punch me in the psyche.

“Well, if you ever decide to get rid of it, I have the perfect place for it.”

Mama's Desk With Its "New" Chair

Mama’s Desk With Its “New” Chair

To make sure they had my attention, the Minimalist guys started tap dancing on my head. Knowing something very important was on the line, I sucked it up and took a deep breath. “Take it.”

“Are you sure?”


Actually, I wasn’t sure at all, and I made the Goat load it into her car right then before I could change my mind.

The amazing thing is my mother didn’t reach out from the grave to whack me with her bony hand. My sister-in-law was delighted to have that “one last thing” she needed for the living room in her new home, and I was happy that the chair was with someone that loved it instead of someone that wanted to kick it every time she walked by it.

Even so, I wasn’t aware of the extent of my mind shift until a few days later when, going through yet another stack of  my mother’s stuff, I found the tea-time pictures: pretty little prints of porcelain teacups and inspirational quotations, all bound up in hunter green and burgundy mats and gilded frames. So not my style! Not feeling one pang of guilt and with no hesitation at all, I picked up the phone and called my sister-in-law.

If inanimate objects can party, I know my mama’s chair and teacups  are having one heck of a happy reunion at Doris’s house.

Just wondering: Is sentiment causing you to hang on to something you don’t like, something that would be much happier at somebody else’s house? Whatcha gonna do about it?