Tchotchkes or Treasures?

Image by M. H. from Pixabay

I have been trying to clear out and organize my art supplies to prepare for a rather large order of jewelry supplies arriving from Rio Grande this week. Ugh.

In our current home, we do not have as much storage space as we once had, so quite a few things are stored in plastic boxes, tool boxes, or cardboard boxes. Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of art and jewelry supplies and sorting through them is a lot of work.

As I unpacked boxes, I have discovered so many ‘treasures’ I have held onto. I fear I am a sentimental old fool. My children chuckle as I still hang their grade school Christmas ornaments on the tree every year. I am at a crossroads in my life – what to keep and what to let go of.

Useful items and knickknacks I purchased myself are easy to let go of. Things given to me, not so much.

The little teacup with roses inside given to my mother when she was in the hospital, a little glass dish that held a small flower arrangement given to me by my mother-in-law, the decorative oriental plates given to me by my friend MaryKay when I lived in Alaska. People I love, gone but not forgotten.

Hubby and I both collected ‘things’ prior to and in the early years of our marriage. He, David Winter cottages, porcelain owls, and duck stamp prints. Me, Cobalt blue glass, poison bottles, and perfume bottles. They are all packed away now. Together we have collected original Pléin air paintings and Dept 56 Village pieces.

I learned from my children the items that hold memories for me (pieces of each of my grandmother’s china, my mother’s goblets given to her on her wedding day) have no significance to them other than knowing where they come from. Their memories lie in the everyday items that we all shared together.

Over the coming months, I will start letting a lot of things go. I will start with the truly whimsical tchotchke-like things that I purchased myself. The sentimental things like collectibles from European trips perhaps I will pack away neatly and designate a grandchild I would like to receive these things.

This is not easy for either hubby or me, It’s time though.


30 thoughts on “Tchotchkes or Treasures?”

  1. I have a large collection of Art Deco porcelain that isn’t worth much. Boxes full of old cameras worth even less, and box after box of old books, worth pennies. Can I part with them? Over my dead body! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Don’t get me started on cameras. Two digital, four film, two medium format, lenses, tripods, backpacks! All good and in working order!

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  2. I’m also engaged in the same process and finding it really difficult. I have boxes and boxes of my father’s books (as well as my own on shelves) and photos and transparencies. My son isn’t interested although the other day on the phone he surprised me. I was talking about the boxes of things I use in creative writing classes – some are old things such as butter pats designed to evoke memories, another box is full of smooth sea glass and shells and stones, which I use for workshops on paying attention to detail. In that box is a stone – cone shaped, brown, with the top part white so it looks like an ice cream. He asked if I could keep that for him as he remembers it well. Out of the mountains of stuff, he wants one stone! And maybe the little tin boats bought in Pakistan. The charity shops will do well. But, the books, maybe not yet.

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    1. Mary, it is lucky I do not live near you because I would gladly ‘inherit’ your sea glass and small pebbles for jewelry. Scotland has the most beautiful pebbles! It is funny what our children latch onto. The small things they remember so well. I have possession of a number of family Bibles with births and deaths noted. I need to donate those to a genealogy library, I think. And books? Oh, my. Another task altogether!

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    1. My friend (who is also a bit of a hoarder) says the same thing. Her children are going to be very unhappy, but that I understand. It will be a LOT for them to deal with. I cannot imagine you having too much clutter, Dan.

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  3. On behalf of your heirs, I want to thank you. It’s too much to be overwrought with grief and sorting endlessly. Some, sure, a journey of sentiment. Much is too much. My parents started paring down years ago and I am grateful. I think there’s the additional bonus of being gifted an item from a loved one, directly. It feels personal. Big fan.

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    1. Thanks, Joey. Leaving it to be a painful process for our children is a motivating factor. Space is also a premium now. I think a gift with a note with a better option for those terribly sentimental things.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. No, it is not easy. It is a lifetime of touchstones. But I also do not wish to leave it to others to deal with.

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  4. My house is one big tchotchke!! Whether its things from my grandparents, parents, estate sales I’ve gone to….my rock collection, and on and on….I’ve parted with a mere teeny dent since the start of the pandemic!! The kids keep telling me there’s not much they’d want. I keep holding on…..hoping maybe they’ll grow some sentimentality! Sigh….good luck to us all!!

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    1. You have so many lovely treasures. I think about our girls and their limited space. Most of it goes to our little princess now. I have rocks, art, beads, metal and artwork! That does not even touch the sentimental things and you saw how small my house was. By the way, your visit here and our trip to the hamburger joint in Georgia — the last times I have eaten outside my house.

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      1. Maggie, we haven’t gone out to eat since my return either! We have gone three times to drive up windows at burger king and McDonald’s the times I’ve had to go for medical appointments or tests. There’s no way I’d actually go sit in a restaurant!
        Yes, our little angel will be the recipient of some great ” stuff” but somehow I see rejection from those that have the more powerful votes!! Lol…..I’ll bet, between you and I, we have GREAT rocks and she loves rocks!!! 😁

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    1. Oh, Willow. My daughter and her wife gave me a teddy bear that contains audio from my dad telling me he loves me. I could never part with it!

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  5. My late mother-in-law had thoughtfully attached notes to the backs of things we inherited. This allows us to feel the connection to these things, such as a needlework Christmas hanging she made. I wish my mother had done the same. I inherited some curious, lovely things such as bits of lace but have no idea where they were from or who owned them.

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