Possessions – positively memorable or evil reminders?

1994 Ambassador Award

I used to sell our possessions on Ebay when we either grew tired of them or they no longer were useful. I had an excellent online reputation and sold an amazing number of items of technology, tools, clothing, bric-a-brac, nostalgia, antiques – you name it nothing was sacred. If we were tired of a possession, I sold it so we could buy a new item. I won’t say I made a profit but the way we looked at it, we had the use of an item until it no longer was useful.  Then someone else got the joy of owning it.

Then came Craigslist and the ability to sell “local”. Until the scam artists took it over, I visited Craigslist daily to see what was selling and if I could post an item.  Not having to ship was a huge relief.

Things, possessions, are interesting that way.  We don’t own “things”, they own us.  Try getting rid of something….

It will sink its claws into us, causing guilt for getting rid of it. Or memories surface about how “it” had a good time together with us. Or it was a friend’s or relative’s possession or gift to us and in discarding said gift or possession, it is like we are discarding the relative or friend. Perhaps someone died and we receive something of theirs. Then we have a double whammy of guilt over the fact they wanted us to have the possession and in getting rid of it, we are abandoning their memory.

Maybe it is an award we worked hard to receive. We have quite a few of those. Some of these were works of art so it is hard to be rid of them when the plaque  inscription can not be pried off the art. I have 2 “Soaring Eagles” from my selling days at United States Cellular in Hilo, Hawaii. One is a beautiful eagle sculpture. The other is a piece of etched glass.

1994 Ambassador Award
1994 Ambassador Award

Mike and I also have matching brass clocks with inscriptions of the years we won them through USCC’s Ambassador Program (We had to do something extraordinary for our co-workers and they had to nominate us. Mine was keeping a cell-site alive during an electrical failure and Mike’s was an innovative selling tool concept that allowed a lot of people to have phone service who would not otherwise have had it in their homes.)

I can’t sell these. I can’t even donate them because they have our names inscribed on them. Again, I hate to throw them in the trash – it seems wasteful. But what does one do with the items now that more than 20 years have passed and there is no meaning or use left to them?  It is easy to take photos of them and have them as a digital memory.  When you come right down to it, even that may be too much. When we die, our survivors won’t care any more about those, physically or digitally than we do right now.


Glass/Acrylic AwardsMike has a couple more that are glass or acrylic.  We were very proud for him to receive them at the time, one from 2000 (VoiceStream) and one from 2006 (T-Mobile).



Since I am trying to minimize our possessions and lighten our load, I have taken the first pass through our belongings and accumulations. I got rid of a lot of stuff through donation.  Some of the things I kept back, not because I get joy from them but because of guilt or some other emotional attachment. So they are for the second round of dispersal/disposal.

Shred-It SaturdayI have been doing the 2019 paper reduction act – scanning all the documents, tax returns, awards and diplomas, receipts and medical records, reams of paper that have accumulated through the years. They are now digitally recorded in the “cloud” and on hard drives or thumb drives in a safe. Thank goodness one of our credit unions had a “shred your documents” event just 2 blocks away. We each took 2 bankers boxes of paper and watched it get shredded. What a relief! It is amazing how much room all that can take up. I opened up a lot of storage space in our den when I got rid of all those files and papers. We now have a pantry for canned goods, foods and paper products that I struggled to find space for in the past in my relatively small kitchen.

What I have been unable to release, I have packed into boxes, coded the boxes with a number and logged the contents in a spreadsheet, then stored in a cage we have here on site.  I have had to go to the content list a couple of times to dig out a specific item. At least the “stuff” is out of sight, if not out of mind.

So how are you handling the debris of a lifetime of possessions? Are you using the Marie Kondo method of joy? Are you experiencing the desperation of suddenly inheriting a bunch of “stuff” that does not fit your lifestyle? How are you getting rid of the collections, the books, bottles and  the odd  bric-a-brac collected through the years? Leave a comment to share your thoughts below.

Thanks for reading!