Spring Cleaning, or Clothes and Sentimentality

This weekend was a busy one. We spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday doing a deep clean of the house, and I’m finally feeling a little more in control as we sort through things we no longer need, organize the nursery, and get things ready for our son’s arrival at the end of March. This is the second year in a row I’ve done a really deep spring clean (albeit prior to the arrival of spring!), and I’ve actually enjoyed it… well, I’ve enjoyed how I feel after it’s over! There’s something nice about starting afresh every year. I still have a bit more to do–primarily sorting through clothes I have in storage in the basement–but I’m going to wait until I switch over my wardrobe from winter to spring/summer to do so.

Another reason I’m putting off sorting through clothes is that it’s always been very hard for me to get donate or discard things that mean a lot to me. So many of my clothes have been handed down to me by my mother, grandmother, and close family friends that the thought of giving any of them away is painful.

After my mom passed away in September, my sister and I sorted through her closet and decided which things we would keep. My mom was only a few inches taller than me; otherwise, we were the same size, and throughout my life I’ve often borrowed her things. Even though some of the things I took are not quite my style, I don’t want to give them up.

We’re fortunate enough that, right now, storage isn’t an issue (which is one of my favorite things about living in a house and not an apartment). While in theory I want to streamline my possessions, there are so many things that I can’t bear to give away–a cornflower blue sweater that I remember my mom wearing (and never letting me borrow), the trench coat she bought before her first business trip to London, a pair of needlepoint slippers with a pattern she loved so much she owned them in triplicate. Even though, of course, a sweater is a sweater, what is it when it has more sentimental value than practical use?

I don’t want to give away these precious belongings because I feel, and fear, that in five, ten, or twenty years I’ll regret it. Maybe we will have a daughter who will want to wear one of her grandmother’s sweaters, or will love her handbag, or steal my mother’s old Barbour jacket from my closet as I used to do when I was younger. For me, especially with this, it’s hard to separate the past and the present from the imagined future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *