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The Cold, Hard Truth About Gifts And Clutter

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The Cold, Hard Truth About Gifts And Clutter

I always loved my mom’s wedding ring and I lovingly harassed her for years about how, since she and my father were divorced, she did not need it anymore. Mom had long ago set the engagement diamond into the band and I thought it was so lovely. She’d been single since… well, just this side of forever, it never really felt like a wedding ring to me. It was diamond ring that, like me, had its origin in my parent’s relationship but wasn’t really about them anymore.

Wow, I don’t think I ever realized that about the ring and me until just now when I typed it. That happens a great deal with this process. As we interview the items in our physical space (to see if they are of more value to us than the space they occupy), we sometimes discover surprising details of our relationship with those things. If we ask the right questions, we can explore the deeper, more intimate understanding… the secret stories between us and our stuff.

Where did this item come from?
What does it mean to me?
Do I use this item, why or why not?
How would my life be different without it?

Anyway, for years I offered to take that ring off of her hands, to enjoy it on her behalf, and on my 21st birthday she gave it to me. I was stunned and thrilled. She told me later that she’d worked hard to convince me that I would never get it just so she could surprise me.

I loved wearing that ring… for a while.

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Read more: Depression, Feng Shui & Organizing, Health, Home, Mental Wellness, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Self-Help, Stress, , , , , ,

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.


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8:40PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

I treasure my mom's jewelry. I feel close to her when I wear it. Thanks for sharing.

5:22PM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

Gifts aren't necessary, friendship is. Thanks for your great article.

4:23PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

putting thought into a gift and choosing something that really fits someone and that they can actually use or appreciate requires skill and insight.

3:58PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

I would far rather receive something of little value that was given with genuine feeling (something homemade ha s an especial place in my heart) than I ever would be given a 'stock' gift but out of the need to 'get me something'. I have more pairs of trousers, shirts, socks etc than I will ever wear; even if I were not to be given anything more I would have enough of these items to last me for the rest of my life - I 'start' a new pair of trousers when one of my old pairs have holes in them! I do have a gift which I really treasure. It is a beautiful wooden box, made out of Indian Sheesham wood. It has been hand-made, a machine might have made it better, but my box is unique, someone in India (a wonderful country) took time (probably working at home) to carve that box; someone else took time to make the small brass lock that it has, someone (my wife) took the time to choose it and buy it for me.

7:28PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

You know , it's never mattered to me if a friend gives me a gift that isn't "me". It's truly the thought that counts. A friend once gave me, IMO, a very twee statuette of a Persian cat. I'd never in a million years buy it for myself. And yet, every time I see it, it gives me a smile and brings to my mind all kinds of wonderful memories of the times we spent together. She's now living 3000 miles away and we keep in touch via email and mail, but that tangible object keeps her present in my daily life as well.

11:02AM PST on Mar 8, 2012


7:16AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

I think some people just like clutter, gift or not.

7:29PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

When you give something to someone, it's theirs. That means they can do whatever they want with it, whether it goes to their personal collection, charity, the trash, or someone who actually can use it. Too often, people hold on to a gift because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings or the giver expects to see them wearing it or displaying it in their home. If there are strings attached, it is not a gift; once an item leaves my hands, its fate is none of my business.

11:07AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

I often feel harnessed with gifts. I keep things that don't quite fit (always meaning to alter them and rarely getting around it it), or things that I don't regularly use because when I look at them they remind me of the person who gave them to me. I do try to re-home things when I think a friend will make better use of something, but sometimes it's difficult.

10:18PM PST on Mar 4, 2012


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