When to Hang On and When to Let Go, Part II


Childhood China: The Complete Collection!


Every night before I went to bed I would set this up for breakfast

This post will appeal to all the hoarders of the world!

Crazy, true story:  the subject matter of this post has been hanging around my head for several months now, but I kept dismissing it for 2 reasons:

1.  Writing would force me to take action I do not want to take, and

2.  I will reaffirm to readers that I am certifiable (of course, if you’re still reading after some of my other posts, then that ship has long since sailed)

So, yesterday, I revisit in a slightly more serious way the subject matter I’m about to discuss, even took some pictures (see above) in preparation, but still don’t have that really concrete “hook” for the post itself.  When this happens, I employ a very simple process:  slow down the monkey mind, and ask myself the pointed question, “what are you feeling?”  The answer that came was, “I’m not ready to let go.”  Which gave me the title for the post, also written above.

Then I vaguely recall writing something with a similar title, but the hell if I feel like scrolling back through 400 posts to find out if I am remembering correctly, so I figure I can come up with something more original.  I finally force myself to sit down and attempt to write something; because I want to procrastinate, I take the long route to the blank page, and go via “Dashboard.”  I kid you not, I never visit this page.  For quite some time now, I sit down and look at very specific things on my blog, and I pointedly ignore the dashboard page because otherwise I will get too caught up in the statistics of the blog.  So here I am on the page that I never view, and I click, for no good reason, “view blog,” again, something I never, ever do (which actually was fun because I viewed the blog the way the rest of the world does).  On the right hand side are various ways to scroll through the blog, one section is called “Top Posts and Pages.”  Number 3 on that list today?

When to Hang on and When to Let Go

Absolute insanity!  And, for me, a sign that I need to stop with all the preface material and get to it.  So, here it goes…

If you had asked me, prior to recent self-examination, to place myself on the spectrum of Sentimental/holds on to every memento ever received – Unsentimental/throws away everything but the kitchen sink, I would have placed myself in the middle of the spectrum, possibly leaning towards the unsentimental side of things.  And I think, perhaps, that I have been suffering a bit of self-delusion.

Here comes the big reveal:  the dishes above are the dishes from which my kids eat at almost every meal.  They are the same ones they have been using for, I will say, close to eight years now.

I seriously just stopped typing and put my head in my hands.  When I type it out this way, I realize the insanity of it all.  My daughter is about to enter high school, and she is using the same plate and cup that she used in first grade!

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

And, indeed, I do have a problem.  My husband has been gently prodding me to get rid of these dishes for quite some time now, and each time he gets a little less gentle.  Yesterday, as I am organizing the house for some out-of-town visitors, I came across some old, barely used melamine dishes that I had once used as patio dishware in our old home.  We don’t have a patio now, so they have, in essence, sat in storage for the past 8 years.

Now, the reason I have been citing as an excuse to keep the current dishes in rotation to my husband is that they are kids, and thus cannot be trusted with glassware and fragile plates.  We have granite counter tops, and a ceramic floor, so when things break, they really break.  Why bother with this kind of danger?  I will just wait until the next big sale at Kohl’s, get some Corelle, and then I will get rid of the kiddie-ware.

Except, of course, that I never actually went looking for those sales, I would conveniently forget to do that every time I went shopping.  Or I would wander past, and then decide it’s too big a decision to make by myself, so I’ll wait until someone is with me before I actually purchase.

So when I came upon the solution to the dishware dilemma, right in my own home, I knew the time had come.  And I gathered up the dishes, put them in a pile to be thrown out (last night was trash night), and kept on going with the organizational work.  I wound up accomplishing a lot yesterday, and had many bags to put out by the curb.

But the only thing that didn’t go out:  the pile of kid dishes.  First rationalization:  I want to take pictures since I am going to write about it.  Got that done, still plenty of time to gather them up and walk them to the curb.  Second rationalization:  The “new” dishes I found didn’t include bowls, what if the dishwasher hasn’t been run, and the kids want ice cream for dessert?

So, here they sit, on my kitchen table.  This picture is as up-to-the-minute as you can get:


The new centerpiece for my kitchen table!

I keep reminding myself that I am not overly emotional, nor am I overly attached to sentimental things.  I just came across my wedding album, that had been severely damaged in a basement flood.  I was glancing through it, and it was much worse off than I realized.  I was disappointed, but certainly did not lose any sleep over it.

So why can’t I throw out these dishes?

I really can’t get a handle on it, but I know that there is something almost physical that’s stopping me from pulling the trigger on this thing.  I refuse, I mean REFUSE, to box them up and store them away like they are memorabilia, so that’s not an option.  I’m writing this without a real solution, or “a-ha!” moment (I was kind of hoping one might come to me as I type, no such luck), I guess the best I can say for myself is that taking them from their rightful place in the cabinet, and replacing them with other dishware, is certainly a giant leap forward.  Now, if I can just purchase some fun, sassy replacement bowls and cups, then maybe , just maybe, by next trash night, I will be ready, once and for all, to say good-bye to the childhood china.

Or, maybe, you will be channel-surfing one night, land on A&E, and come across me, gray-haired, sitting in a pile of kids’ clothes, toys, trophies and artwork, and insisting that I may need them again someday…

Today’s Miracle:

That my kids are as well-adjusted as they seem to be, given the idiosyncrasies of their Mother?

Posted on July 10, 2014, in Parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. A daughter almost in high school and a son not too far behind and all you have is a small pile of dishes(sorry childhood china) to let them “stay” kids for a little while longer. A hoarder you are NOT…..a Mom you are most definitely! Keep the “china” forever.


  2. Keep the china!! And pass it along to your kids to use on their kids or YOU use them on their kids!! Imagine the stories and memories they will bring up! Don’t throw them away!!


  3. Those are so cute!! Haha, I’m not helping, am I? I get the attachment to certain objects that I associate with my kids’ childhoods. I don’t feel the same about pre-kid objects. Maybe it’s nostalgia for when they were littler and before life started feeling more complicated, like I can preserve that feeling if I keep the dish/stuffed animal/hoodie. Uh, guess you can see I have my own hoarding issues. I hoard parts of the past that aren’t real but give me some illusion of control or peace. But still, those plates are cute. Would you consider packing them up to save for when your kids are older? My parents saved a couple of (really beat up/ much loved) Campbell’s soup mugs for me that I’m proud to own.


    • Well, you’re helping in the sense that you’ve talked me off the ledge! I am so glad that I wrote to this awesome community before taking an action I would have regretted! I will be packing them up for storage, and putting an updated picture in my next post!

      The feedback helps more than you know (then again, you are a fellow blogger, so maybe it is exactly as you know) 🙂


  4. You’re a mom, for goodness sake! My mother dropped off a care package about two months ago of stuff that she hoarded of mine…from my 20’s and 30’s!! I was never a nostalgic guy (my alcoholism also told me “who gives a shit about all this? we’re gonna DIE anyways”…lol). She even kept the ponytail that I got lopped off about 20 years ago (ewwwwww…tossed it right away). But some of it was cool. Papers mostly. But neat.

    I toss the kids’s stuff at our house. My wife is the sentimental one. Together we balance, because if it were up to me, my house would be sparse and IKEA showroom like. If it were up to her, there would be no place to sit because of all the stuff. Clearly those bowls represent the kids’ childhood. That’s fine…I will get to that point too where I am going to clutch onto something that reminds me of simpler times. They really do grow up too quickly.

    Hang on to them, my friend. Toss out some of the other things.

    Wonderful post 🙂


    • Oh my, I will feel no guilt at all about keeping these plates, now that I know your Mom kept a ponytail from your adult (ish) years! Thanks for the laugh about the ponytail (a picture follow-up would be even better!), and for the validation. I keep repeating myself here, but my blogging friends often save my sanity. I would have really regretted throwing those plates out, and now I feel excited to save them!

      Thanks a million, Paul! And… ponytail picture, please 🙂


  5. I agree with Run Dontwine. Keep them to pass on to your grandchildren. Or…save them to set the table when the grandkids come for dinner! They are adorable and don’t take up much space.


  6. My boys still like their childhood dishes and babies – their stuffies. Granted when Jordan went away to college his Floppy stayed here – in my room and when he came home he went into Jordan’s room:)


  7. I don’t know if this will help but this is how I deal with the practical side of wanting to hoard. We have a small house and not a lot of space. I always err on the side of hoarding, so it’s been an issue. Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt that things have a little bit of my soul attached to them, who knows, but I’d keep everything if we had more space. The compromise I’ve worked out for the last 18 years in this house is to give myself a section of space in the garage to store things I can’t part with. Once that section is full, I go through it and donate what I’m ready to give away and know that I can’t add anymore to it until I do. It’s much easier to part with those things once they’ve been sitting in a hot garage for a year, especially if I haven’t thought of them once in that time. Sometimes, I even retrieve something from there and am glad I kept it. I have a similar rule for the kids’ keepsakes. I have a big box in my closet that I only put the most precious items into because once the box is full, I have to find a place to store it and honestly, there’s just not room. By doing this, I honor those little bits of my soul that make their way to inanimate objects and feel no guilt over it.


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