I am not a particularly sentimental person. And by that I mean I do not tend to keep very many objects of “sentimental” value. This probably doesn’t seem all that strange a confession because no doubt there are at least 100 people in the world like me… However, literally every member of my family holds on to boxes of tat for sentimental reasons. My parents are the worst, their years travelling around and moving house frequently has meant that their collection is not only vast but pretty varied. From bier-steins and bowling balls to an old Amstrad and a traditional meat grinder, they’ve gotten most things somewhere along the way and not wanted to part with them. They are basically past sentimental object owners and into the hoarder territory. There’s even one of those creepy china dolls that all hoarders seem to have. At one time we even had a go-kart, not one of those tiny ones either, but since it hadn’t worked since we lived in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean and had moved 2 or 3 times since then it was finally gotten rid of.
I on the other had have a small lunch box sized collection of sentimental objects. I know it’s lunchbox sized because they are all kept in a lunchbox of sentimental value. Some time ago my parents sent me a couple of boxes of my things and a couple of O’s things (O still lives with me sadly). I put the boxes in the spare room and never did anything with them. But now I’ve got builders coming to re-plaster parts of the flat and I have to do some tidying and sorting through those boxes.
As O is even lazier than me I knew that the only way their stuff was going to get sorted was if I helped… which is to say I pretty much did it while they stood and watched. The first box to hand was mostly O’s stuff though I did find a couple of my old sports trophies. I’ll probably keep them, I mean they tell me how great I am. I was impressed with O’s ability to chuck stuff, we trashed a lot of the stuff in the box but were still left with a bunch of letters and sentimental objects. Then came another of O’s boxes, it was old clothes. We got nowhere with this box. I opened it showed O the clothes at which point they went on a rant about how they wanted those old clothes at the parents house for when they visited (which is roughly twice a year for 2 days each…)
My boxes went rather differently. Pretty much all of it is now in the bin or recycling and the boxes sit empty. So aside from the clutter free bonus of this general distaste for mementos does it make a difference to my life?
Well I’m not sure that’s a question I can answer as I’ve never been on the other side. But K has crap gifts from people they aren’t even friends with (to be honest they can’t have been very good friends based on the gift, did they know K at all?) And not to sound ungrateful about gifts but for me it genuinely is the thought that counts more than the gift a lot of the time. The expression of friendship or love is something that strengthens my relationship with people, not possessing the object. My mementos tend to be concert ticket stubs or pamphlets from plays I’ve seen. Times when I’ve done something I really wanted to do. They aren’t about people because if I need a reminder of the good people in my life I could just have a conversation with them.
That’s my take on mementos anyway. Everyone is a little bit different about them, some people probably do more them store them away in a lunchbox.