Precious little things

Again, I’ve been pondering how we collect things. This time I’m wondering what it means to keep something that is precious. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes “precious” as something with great value, high price or highly esteemed, cherished.

It is the cherished option that has me thinking. For example, I have several small collections of sea shells. They have great value to me but, they don’t really have any monetary value. To me something that is cherished usually has minimal monetary value but we have deep affection for the object.

I come from a family who tends to “cherish” the items they collect. Usually the item once belonged to someone they loved. Sometimes it just provides a reminder of a memory of a time or place. My sea shells collections usually remind me of the location where they were collected. Some remind me of the people who were there with me or the kind of day it was (e.g., sunny vs overcast) or even the reason I was at the beach (e.g., family reunion vs a day trip getaway).

As a textile artist, I have my mother’s scissors, yardage of cloth that my grandmother purchased, and 1950s era Singer Sewing Books. These are precious to me. When I initiate a purge session, I usually stop to think about the people who owned the items before me. And, usually, I quietly place them item back where I found them, then shut the drawer for another time. How could I get rid of it? It is still too precious. I’m not necessarily a “hoarder,” but sometimes it takes me a good long time to realize the item I cherish is no longer worth keeping.

A question I have is what happens to these things when I’m no longer here to tell their story or in other words “protect” them. Will the items become “stuff” again. Or, will they become someone else’s cherished treasure with a new story to share? And, how many will be pitched in a bag and set at the curb to await trash removal?

I’m not getting any younger. Maybe I need to make a plan…or maybe I shall just sit here treasuring my precious little things.


  1. Caroline Johnson Cozzi says:

    This is incredible to me. I have a very difficult time getting “rid” of my treasures. Some might say that I am a hoarder,or at least a borderline hoarder. Whenever I set out to purge I feel like I’m stuck in quicksand. So instead I move on, feeling like a failure. Occasionally I’m able to find someone who “sees” my treasures, not my stuff. I take great pleasure in giving them something, if they want it. I’m torn between enjoying my treasures and being free of them to make new memories.

    • Nanette says:

      I’m constantly collecting and purging. I get into moods when things have to go and I pack them up and take them to ReStore or other local charity stores. By giving them to a charity, I know that they would provide a benefit to that organization and whoever purchases them will have the thrill of the find. I’ve been involved with closing-up enough family/friends estates that I have heartfelt tugs. I don’t want to leave my things as a burden to someone else, but sometimes they are too precious to get rid of “now.” When its time, its time.

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