I’m not really a keeper. In other words, I don’t tend to hang on to things or keep things around.
I think this is a habit I got from my mother: she is always very practical about what she decides to keep for the long term and what she decides to throw away.
My mother’s sister has always been very good about gifts that she gives to people, saying “this isn’t necessarily meant to last forever.” And it’s almost a way of letting people off the hook, so that they don’t have to feel guilty about letting a particular thing go when it’s outlived its usefulness or when there just isn’t any room for it anymore.
That said, there are few things in my life that I can’t bring myself to throw away. And most of those things end up being handmade gifts.
Of course I keep things like pictures, and precious books, family recipes (for those days when I actually cook). But the things that I can’t seem to throw away are the things that someone took time to make.
Here are just a few of the items in my house made by other people that I’ve come to treasure.
When I went to stay with a very close friend recently, I slept in her guest room. And being there was like taking a tour of our friendship, because there were so many things there that I’d made for her over the years that she kept. And it meant so much to me that those things meant so much to her.
I know material goods aren’t meant to last forever. And even when I knit a scarf or hat for someone, I don’t expect it to last forever. At some point it’s going to have to be pitched.
But it’s so heartwarming to look at something a person made for me and know they were thinking about me when they made it. Makes me happy every time I rediscover their craft.
QUESTION: Are you a keeper? What kind of things do you keep?
PS — If you haven’t already seen it, I’m hosting a giveaway on my Facebook page for $50 gift card to any US bookseller of your choosing. I’m still celebrating the release of The Wishing Thread, which has been receiving many kind reviews! The contest ends September 10. See you there!