When it comes to turfing the contents of one’s house… I am (for the most part) The-Chucking-Queen.

I can donate or throw away almost anything…  clothes, toys, appliances, CD’s, DVD’s, cutlery, crockery, bedding, furniture… whatever!   For the most part, I see it all as stuff… and most of it is stuff that bogs me down and clutters my life.

But then… there’s my sentimental stuff.  I have lots… and LOTS of sentimental stuff.  And I can’t let go of any of it.

I love stories… and what I love most about my sentimentals is that every item has a story attached to it.  When I go through my boxes of sentimental goodies, I’m filled with happy, nostalgic feelings.  There are memories and stories attached to each item… and they put a smile on my face.

Here’s a few photos (and stories) about the stuff I’ve decided to keep…

IMG_0758(Above) This is my first doll.  Her name is Ginger.  I’ve had her for as long as I can remember.  I also have a photo (somewhere) of me… lying in bed and still wearing nappies, with Ginger and Charlie (my monkey).  As you can see, I gave Ginger a haircut (don’t most kids cut the hair off their dolls?).

I keep this doll because…  well… because it’s my childhood doll.  And the only toy I still have from that time.  She makes me feel nostalgic.  She reminds me of Cape Town.

IMG_0760(Above) I wrote and illustrated these letters to my father while he was away on a business trip.  I was about 5 or 6 at the time… and I can still remember sitting in our lounge, writing them… and I can still remember how my mom helped me to spell some of the more difficult words.

I love these old letters.  The paper is frail now… but picking them up and touching them feels like an odd connection to the past “me”.  It feels as though I’ve stepped briefly in to a time machine… and have been whisked back to my childhood.  I like that feeling.

IMG_0767(Above) – This is my first baby bowl… and silver baby spoon.  I ate from these… and I’m actually surprised that they’ve survived this long – especially the bowl!  These feel like something precious to me… like a collector’s item of sorts.

One day (when we eventually revert back to “settling” mode)… I would like to have a display cabinet with my most precious things inside.  This bowl and spoon would take pride-of-place… along with the amazing puppets my mother made when we were kids.


(Above):  This is my mom’s childhood doll.  She’s actually quite a scary creature.  Her eyes only open when she’s sitting upright and all her eyelashes have been removed (and most of her hair cut off…. clearly I took after Mom in the doll-hair-cutting department!).  I love that I still have some bits and pieces from my Mom’s childhood…  I wish I had a few more things.  Again – I feel as though it connects me to the past… and also to my mother.  And I like that feeling.

IMG_0770(Above):  Granddad’s war stuff.  I have a LOT of historical goodies from my Dad’s side of the family (these will also find their way to my precious-things display cabinet one day).  I have Granddad’s medals, pass books… and recently, a relative from England e-mailed me letters that my grandfather had written to his mother (before Granddad was married to Granny).

My Dad’s side of the family (my maiden name is Patterson) hails from Auckland in Durham County in England.  My great-great-grandparents are buried there and I’d like to do a family history tour one day, and visit them.  For the most part, my dad was raised in Morecambe… and emigrated to South Africa (with his parents and four brothers) when he was 16.

I have a whole pile of Patterson-Heritage-Stuff…  and I treasure it all.

IMG_0765(Above):  I wore these princess gloves during my first wedding (when I got married at the age of 19 – long story!).  I have kept the gloves… not because I’m particularly nostalgic about the wedding itself… but because my great-grandmother (on Mom’s side of the family) meticulously hand-beaded them for me.  The gloves don’t remind me of my ex-husband… they remind me of Gran (which is why I keep them).

IMG_0772(Above):  These nut thingies (they have a special name which I can’t remember) are from Hawaii.  Yes, I keep stuff from my travels too!  I visited Hawaii when I was 16 (family holiday with the parents).  I like these nut thingies.  I like how they feel in my hands.  I like how they remind me of Hawaii (and I’d love to go back there some time… with my kids)…

IMG_0777(Above):  And this, of course, is my Coconut Pirate from Disney World (which is where we went after we’d been to Hawaii).  I purchased this keepsake from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride – and I was completely gobsmacked by the enormity (and intensity) of Disney World.   As a South African teenager, I had never experienced anything like it in my life.  The pirate reminded me of Disney for many years and I always told myself that I would take my own kids there one day (which we’re about to do in just a few weeks’ time)…

IMG_0781(Above):  Anyone who remembers the 80’s will remember the sad-clown, happy-clown decor.  My Mom made these two dolls for me.  She gave them to me on my birthday – and my birthday present was a re-vamp of my bedroom.  The whole bedroom was painted red, black and white… and the clowns took pride of place on my bed.  I am VERY sentimental about things that other people have MADE especially for me.  My sister once crocheted me a dodgy-looking sheep (called Sheepston) – I cannot part with it!

IMG_0743(Above):  Long, long before blogs came along… I was typing stories.

It puts a smile on my face… the realisation that storytelling is such an enormous part of my design, that I’ve been writing and illustrating stories for as long as I can remember… and these old, yellowing, dog-eared bits of typed-on paper are proof of it.  It makes me happy.


These photos are just a few, tiny examples of stuff I’ve decided to keep (I have 6 large tubs full of sentimentals – all stored safely away until we return to our settling season one day)…

Am I the only one that keeps stuff?  Who else struggles to purge sentimental goodies – and what’s the kind of things that YOU can’t part with?  Tell me!  Tell me!