Does old equal valuable?

A woman on a list I belong to came across a ratty old quilt.  She asked the group what she should do with it as it was too far gone to repair.

I just want to make some observations about quilts, old and new.  We all make them for different reasons.  For myself, I enjoy the process.  Some of them I have given as gifts, some I have sold, many I have used and enjoyed.  Only a couple have any sentimental value.

Here’s where you can gasp in horror – I threw out the first original quilt I designed and made.  I loved it at the time, of course, but the fabric was inferior and one of the pieces began to rot right through within a couple years.  After giving it house room for more than two decades, I got rid of it last fall after my mother died.

The conjunction of those two things is not an accident.  As I may have mentioned before, my mother’s 3400 sq foot house was crammed with THINGS.  She thought all of them were worth saving.  Heck, she thought most of them were worth money. She was wrong.  Something is worth money only if someone else is willing to pay for it.

If you are a person who finds sentiment in everything, for whom every old plate or quilt has a story to tell, that’s great.  Keep those things.  Enjoy them.  Use them.  Or box them up and become a hoarder.

But please, don’t try to make other people feel bad if they do not feel that same connection.  Not all of us do and I say, thank goodness for that.  We have to live in whatever space we have.  Keeping everything is just impossible unless you want to walk sideways through the piles.

In my opinion, keep the things that mean something to YOU.  If the original maker of that quilt didn’t care enough to leave it to a family member or if there was no one in the family who cared or even if there was no family left, the sentiment is already gone.  Without knowing the story, you aren’t holding onto their history.  You’re just making things up.

Here is the next part that will make people mad at me.  You can’t keep everything connected to a person you love, much less all the other old stuff that will cross your path.   Keep the brooch she wore every Sunday or the ring she got for her 25th anniversary, but get rid of the dime store earrings she bought on a whim or the whole collection of inexpensive watches, bought to match every outfit. 

Keep something you will use or wear or hang on the wall.  If you are going to keep it in a box in your attic, you might as well save a step and send it to the Salvation Army right now.  If you don’t, your children will.


10 thoughts on “Does old equal valuable?

  1. Oh my goodness! I sure can relate to this, I tend to keep things for a long time. BUT I have decided to get rid of the thinks I don’t use wear etc. on Saturday I sent a few hours going through jewelery that I have had for too many years to mention. I kept some of it for crafting I thought. Well I did not even think of using any of it and got rid of tons of costume jewelery. I finally got rid of all my scraps of fabric and what a great feeling. I have more to purge and I am on a mission now. LOL ps am not a hoarder thank goodness but I have too much stuff.

    • Good for you, Bunny. If you still have any of it in the house, check with local schools and see if they want them for the arts and crafts programs.

  2. I agree, but it’s hard getting rid of stuff. I heard of a person who was getting rid of one thing every day. I have been working on that. Some days I get rid of a bunch of stuff and some days nothing. But, it’s coming along. Now–if I could just get my husband to do the same!

    • One thing a day is one thing more than a lot of people. And a single drips eventually fill a bucket – so you are on your way. The hardest thing for me was getting rid of books – but I have to admit that I feel so much better with the extra space in my office.

  3. Oh, the feeling of freedom of getting rid of “stuff”. Two years ago I decided to downsize. I had lived in the house for 38 years I no longer needed the space, the half acre, the pool, etc. It took me weeks to just go through the sewing room and discard things. It was brutal. But in my small “cottage” I now have just those things that either made me smile when I was sorting through or that I knew that I would likely use. And I’ve not missed any of the things that I got rid of. What didn’t sell at the estate sale, I donated to a quilt guild and they used it in their jumble sale at the annual quilt show. So we all benefitted. Me especially, with a new uncluttered life style and being able to use and appreciate what I do have.

    • My husband hates yard sales, so I could never do that with things from here, but we did have a big estate sale for my mother’s things. Astounding what people bought AND what they left. There is someone out there who will buy anything but we made the decision early on that this was not going to be an ongoing way of life – one 3 day sale and we were out. Then we got a lucky break and found a local company that came in and auctioned every single thing off online. Now THAT was positively mind-blowing.

      Congrats on totally downsizing – I know that had to be a way bigger job than the pruning I do here.

    • When we cannot see eye to eye, I just repeat to myself “he has many good qualities….” over and over. Sometimes loud enough for him to hear. LOL

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