Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heirloom Party/ When to Say Goodbye

I'm participating in an Heirloom Party at Emma Calls Me Mama. My house is full of family treasures including a family Bible from the 1800's, dishes, furniture, and old family photos. I am blessed. Today I'm taking a different approach and writing about letting go when the time comes...

I recently had a yard sale, and now I’m looking around the house for other things to get rid of. The breathing room is lovely. After all, who needs fancy stuff when you can have a regulation sized air hockey table in the basement?

I am finally ready to part with a broken down, yet lovely Victorian settee and armchair that belonged to my grandparents.

I used the chair for about 10 years, but left the settee in storage because it needed major repairs and because I had no space for it. Check out the back. That's the bottom falling out, too, and it looks like it just popped out a plastic Easter egg.

You may find it interesting that I love to spray paint and fix up random stuff I find by the side of the road, yet I am willing to part with things my dear grandparents owned without fixing them.

I think it’s because although I like stuff—the finding, the fixing, learning the provenance something-- I don’t hold anything too close.

My grandparents and my mother were the same way. The hunt was fun, as was finding the perfect spot, but there was also some freedom found in the giving away.

For me, these two pieces don't remind me of my grandparents at all, and I think that will make it easier to let go.

Not holding stuff too closely helped my mom, who had the decorating bug, stay up late painting our 1830’s farmhouse the colors of the day, not being hemmed in by what would be historically accurate. She felt free to spray paint or decoupage without fretting about resale value or what others would think. She mixed high and low, and although she refused to let me drag stuff in from the curb (maybe that’s why I love it so much now!), her decorating style suited mine quite well...except for putting contact paper on the fridge, but that's the the topic for another post.

As for the chair and settee, and a few other things I’m hoping to find new homes for, it is time to let go. I have other pieces from my grandparents that fit in better with my house and my lifestyle.

...Such as this chair that was the springboard for my bedroom’s color palette. Do you like my shoe in the corner of the pic? Classy.

Or this china cabinet that used to hold pots and pans in my grandparents’ kitchen and is now in my dining room.

I think it’s a matter of owning things, but not letting things own us. When having something around elicits feelings of pressure or stress, it may be time to let go.

In the case of this settee and chair, I feel guilty about the space they take up and the fact that I am not willing to put the money in to fixing them and using them, when they could be something spectacular. Can't you just picture how cute they would be with a little bit of spray paint? But I digress... I hope I can find someone who will transform them and enjoy them, making them part of their own family's memories.

Meanwhile, I will hold onto the great memories of my childhood, with all four of my wonderful grandparents, memories triggered by sights and smells and photos and precious heirlooms which I intend to hold close.

p.s. I also think "down-sizing" will make my husband happy. He came into this marriage with exactly one possession-- a New England Patriots' trashcan.


Shawn said...

Oh-----you have some great stuff! My old stuff is just junk...but I can't afford much else right now...

Alyssa said...

Those pieces are fabulous!
I think it's so funny that your hubs only had the trashcan coming into your marriage...hilarious!
Thanks for sharing.

Tara said...

I'm sure he still has the trash can too and it holds a special place of honor!!!I find it hard to let go of things to, but find as the years pass and the older I get, it's easier to let some things go. Those furniture pieces are fabulous, but I can see how they might be a bit too formal, unless you were to completely remake them. Can you imagine the devastation that would cause your Husband? You might drive to therapy! Thanks for sharing your heirloom treasures!

Candy said...

Loved reading your perspective on things. And even though those two pieces are great, they can become even more special with someone else. Thanks for sharing your heart ;-)

alanna rose said...

Your pieces are great, and I'm with you - sometimes you just have to let things go.

purejoy said...

i think the notion of letting go to let someone else is so great! and to avoid letting our possessions "own" us. so very well said.

i love that your grandparents aren't wrapped up in the furniture, they're in moments, smells, etc.

you have a gift with words!

blushing rose said...

Your furniture is exquisite ... I love these kinds of pieces & styles. TTFN ~Marydon

Debra@CommonGround said...

You have a great attitude about "things" not having us. I know how you feel. There have been a few times that God just asked me to give away things that I was "attached" to. It was hard, but it blessed someone else, and freed me up.

Shana said...

I have recently embraced the concept of LET IT GO, IT'S ONLY STUFF, and I don't want to sound melodramatic, but it's been life altering. Seriously.

Lo said...

LOL that chair as seen its day. I dont have a problem letting things go either. when its time, its time :)

Kim @ Starshine Chic said...

I wish I could let go of things so easily. But I can better than my hubby. OMG!!! He is the worst. Had to laugh that your hubby only brought 1 item to the marriage. You should see how much stuff my hubby brought. I wish it was only 1 item.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Fabulous pieces! I know what you mean about down sizing but in my case, I just can't let go of some stuff. The trash can story is pretty funny! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend.


Shari @ My Cottage of Bliss said...

Memories are always more important than "stuff" and since most of us can't keep everything that belonged to our ancestors, it's okay to let go and only keep the really special pieces. I'm sure someone else will be thrilled to refurbish and love the old sofa. :)

Michelle Hughes said...

Is that all ironstone in your china cabinet! SO lovely!

Marie said...

Oh Anna, I would be happy to take those fabulous pieces off your hands! I just have a feeling you live far away from CA. Shoot. I understand your post though and respect you for it. I too love the hunt of special things to fix up!

Thank you for joining me for the party!


❀~Myrna~❀ said...

Great pieces, it's also great that you are willing to give them up to someone else who will love them.Sounds like your hubby has no issues with "stuff".8-)

Stacie said...

In the end, it's the memories we keep. But I understand you. I am a hunter and a fixer. I have also obtained some distinguished degree in the art of moving on when it comes to things. I don't know why we put such guilt on ourselves when there is someone who will be thrilled to own what we are reluctant to give away.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

That last line is priceless! And I think you could sell those pieces for enough money to buy a few new things you've been coveting.