DEAR HARRIETTE: While doing some spring cleaning, I have come across quite a few nice clothing items that I forgot I had. I haven’t worn them in years, but they have sentimental value. One dress was given to me by my mother, who is now deceased. Another top was a gift from my great-aunt, who is also gone. There’s a purse that my mother used to carry to church every Sunday. The trip down memory lane has been wonderful, but now I have a sizable pile of items that are just staring at me. I’m finding it hard to give away these items, even though I will never wear them again. How can I let go and still hold onto the wonderful memories that they bring? -- Shedding the Past
DEAR SHEDDING THE PAST: Start by taking photos of the items, and write down your thoughts to acknowledge the importance of the person who gave you each item. Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book and thank the item for serving you in the past. In this way, you make space to release it.
Consider if there is anyone in particular to whom you might want to give these special items. If so, you can present the items as gifts with a story about how they came to you. If not, find a good-quality thrift store or resale shop that may want to take them. By treating the items with respect and recalling the good memories that you shared with your mother and your great-aunt, you can create space to share them with others who may be able to use them. This is far better than simply having them stored in your closet for years on end.
For more tips on gracefully getting rid of things in your home, read Kondo’s book: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."