For keep’s sake Let it go

knowing when to let go of gifts and other sentimental objects

keep's sake

Countless times in cleaning, I come across dust-coated objects that are utterly useless to me but still decide to keep them, only because they were gifts. Is it ever appropriate to throw out a gift someone gave you?

If your goal is to enrich and evolve yourself, you’ll naturally shed what’s no longer useful. If you’ve lost the connections you once had with gifts from loved ones or objects that were sentimental, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s a sign of growth and that should be celebrated.

For me, the realization that it’s time to let go often comes like an epiphany, usually accompanied by tears. I cry because I’m mourning the girl that I am no longer and at the same time I’m making space for who I’m becoming.

For you, letting go might look different. Maybe the realization builds itself up little by little over months or years. Maybe you know you’re not strong enough to let go and enlist help from a friend who’s not attached. Maybe you won’t feel right until you run it by the gift giver: “Hey, remember that book you got me for my birthday in 05? Man I read that book a thousand times. It fed me for years. I’ve been thinking lately though, maybe someone else could benefit from it. How would you feel if I donated it or gave it to a friend?”

keep or discard?

If you’re not ready to let go, don’t.

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself:

  • Is the item useful to you?
  • If not, can it be of use to someone else?
  • Is the item’s sole purpose to represent a memory? If so, consider taking photos of it or writing down what you love and what you learned from the memory. Then, let it go. Give the item to someone who can use it or throw it away if it’s useless.
  • Is the object emotionally charged? Do you look at it and travel back in time, reactivating emotions you felt? Is this productive or destructive for you? Are you holding on to hurt by keeping this item around? If so, let it go. Let go of hurt. Make space for love.

healthy house warming

a gift guide

house plants
First off: be intuitive. Chances are you know the gift recipient well enough to bring something they’ll love looking at or something that will be of use. Second: don’t bring clutter into someone’s home, especially a new home. Don’t be afraid to ask if there’s something your friend needs or wants.

The internet says you can’t go wrong with kitchen essentials: blenders, coffee makers, cutting boards, coasters. These are great ideas if the recipient needs them. But more than likely, the smoothie lover already has a blender and the coffee drinker already has her machine. Instead bring a smoothie recipe book or a new roast to try. Venture outside the kitchen and consider framed art, a robe, a rug or a bath pillow.

If you don’t have time to think too hard about it, here’s a few go-to’s.

detafford chenin blanc


Given that the recipient is a drinker, their favorite beer, wine or spirit is a win for everyone. You could also bring something they’ve never tried. This may not be appropriate however, due to someone’s culture or habits so do be mindful.


Go for beeswax to purify the air or soy wax for fewer toxic ingredients. Play it safe and choose a clean scent. Something light and fresh is agreeable with most people. Try to find a candle with linen, water, or cotton in the name. Avoid scents that are too sweet or too specific unless of course, these are your friend’s preference.

House plants

A plant might catch your friend off guard. They’ll either be pleasantly surprised or become clouded with worry. Either way, you’ll console them when you explain that the plant you chose is patient and low maintenance:

Pothos: One of the most historically resilient, air-purifying plants. It can handle low light and little water. It’s long beautiful vines can be pinned to the wall, spread across a mantle or draped over a shelf. Additionally, it’s one of the most simple plants to propagate. From one hearty pothos, I have created at least ten babies.

Succulents: These tiny cacti do need bright light but can survive on low water. People who kill succulents usually overwater them, a mistake that’s easy to avoid. Succulents are perfect for a desk, a book shelf or a window sill.

Air plants: They’re advertised as low maintenance, requiring no soil and no special container. A few spritz of water a week and some decent lighting supposedly go a long way for this unique looking plant. But in truth, I have killed every single one I have ever owned. I’ve gifted quite a few as well and I don’t think those survived either. Maybe your friend will have more luck.

Lucky bamboo: It’s not actually bamboo, but has a slight resemblance. The roots can survive submerged in water or buried in soil. This feng shui friendly plant thrives with little care in its bright green glory, attracting peace and prosperity.

Dragon tree: Another very patient plant that grows all year with little attention. It’s pointy leaves are a deep green, often with tinges of red.

Rubber tree: These hearty leaves are fun to watch grow. Here’s another feng shui friendly plant to attract abundance and prosperity.

Also consider the snake plant, spider plant and English ivy for low maintenance.

Palo santo | Incense | Sage

Here’s another way to bring ambience into your friend’s home. These smells are more intense than candles, but also more intentional. The smoke of sage and palo santo cleanse and reset the energy of the space. All aid in meditation, ritual and relaxation.


Lastly, think outside the bag with your presentation. Consider baskets, boxes or fabric.


When Clare Cooper Marcus said

“People who are domocentric are so profoundly connected to their house that this relationship has become a substitute for, and a barrier to, close relationships with other people.”

I know this about myself.
I’ve known this about myself.
But for Clare Cooper Marcus to call me names for it is kinda rude.

I actually agree though.
It’s the very reason staying in always sounds better to me than going out.
It’s the reason I know so few people.

But this attitude has been necessary in my evolution.
If it wasn’t for such an honest incubation in my home, I would not be equipped for this life.
Now I think a bit sharper.
Now I speak a bit clearer.

Retreating into my self and my house brought me closer to my center.
And when I go outside to face all the things that want to throw me from my center,
I know how to get back:
Either pull from the tool belt i developed for myself
Or go home and recenter.

I’m thankful for the time I get to spend at home
but now i’m ready to venture out and speak up.
Here I am.

dialogue between house and self

House as a Mirror of Self is Clare Cooper Marcus’s pursuit to understand the relationship between home and the evolving self. She interviews sixty people who volunteered to have her as a guest in their home and openly discuss their idea of the home. She has the dweller draw what they see when they think of home, talk to the home as it were a person and even craft the home’s response. I’ll admit I thought the technique was a little stale at first, but I was intrigued nonetheless. Some drawings are elaborate and colorful. Others are basic and monochrome. Some people hate their homes. Others hate the idea of leaving home. Either way, these feelings are a reflection of the metaphysical self.

Marcus urges the reader to explore their own home relationships using her excercies. I finally gave in and found some crayons. I let go and just drew what came to mind:

house drawing

I went even further and talked to this illustration.
I said “House, this is what I have to say to you:
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