Some might call me a packrat. I prefer the term sentimentalist.
It’s something I’m working on because I tend to attach sentiment and emotions to every object in my house. As a result, I end up with a lot of stuff that I don’t actually need.
I’ve recently started the process of clearing the clutter and asking myself the tough questions.
Do I want it?
Do I need it?
Am I willing to take care of it?
Would I put it in a box if I were moving?
Can I imagine in on a table at a yard sale?
The trick to asking the tough questions is making sure you give honest answers and that’s the part I’m actually getting better at.
I don’t need to keep the handheld electronic language translator my sister bought me almost two decades ago. And I don’t need to keep the salad spinner I got as a wedding gift fourteen years ago after it developed a crack.
There are some things, however, that I hold incredibly dear. These are things that have a special place in my jewelry box and an even more special place in my heart.
Many years ago, my grandmother decided to clean out some of her costume jewelry and being the “girlier” of sisters in my family, I was the recipient. It was the equivalent of handing me a treasure chest. I didn’t care about the value of the jewelry. I cared that it was sparkly and came from my grandma.
Most pieces were random – clip-on earrings, a sparkling rhinestone American flag, a Shamrock pin made from ribbon. Over the years, I played with them and some pieces got lost here and there. But most of them managed to keep a spot in my jewelry box and now that I’m older, I’m so thankful.
My grandma’s jewelry wasn’t just a part of her. It was a part of her legacy. One of my very favorite pieces was the handpainted mother-of-pearl necklace that came with a story.
Sometime in the late 1800s, my grandmother’s grandmother sailed over from Germany on a steamship called the S.S. Bremen. Apparently, while on the ship, she purchased the necklace as a souvenir of her voyage.
I didn’t know my great great grandmother, of course. (It’s probably for the best. I’ve seen a picture of her and she looked like a pretty tough woman.) But through one little piece of jewelry, my grandma passed down a piece of her family history to me.
Why she entrusted me with that beautiful, precious, and meaningful necklace, I’ll never know but I can tell you that I’ve honored her by showing the necklace and telling the story to anyone who will listen. And I’m so glad I had the chance to hear her story as my grandma passed away when she was only 61 years old and I was 11.
It broke my heart but I’ve been able to carry her story with me all these years. And as tough as it is to think about my own mother getting older, I love that fact that she’s continuing the tradition. For one of my recent birthdays, she honored me with the gift of her cameo ring.
While the ring won’t even fit on my pinkie (my mother has small fingers), just looking at it takes me back to my childhood when the ring was a permanent fixture on my mother’s hand.
So whether I’m considered a packrat or a sentimentalist, I love that I have something tangible as part of my grandmother’s legacy and now my mother’s.
It makes me think about my own legacy and how I’ll keep the tradition going since I have only a son. But the good news is that despite any gender stereotypes out there, he’s quite a fan of jewelry. I’ll be sure to pass down plenty of stories and keepsakes to carry on the tradition.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shane Co. The opinions and text are all mine.