Q. Are you sentimental with material possessions, and do you have a hard time getting rid of them? We had my great aunt and great uncle over for supper this evening, and the topic of being sentimental with ďthingsĒ came up. My uncle said that as he ages, heís finding he is more and more sentimental about stuff he was given over the years. He says itís hard to get rid of things because of the memories the objects are associated with.
Personally, when I attempt to rid out, I have such a hard time stuffing things into the bag for Goodwill and letting them go. I feel sick to my stomach with sentimental feelings during the process, but I do feel liberated when I drop it off for good. I even have a hard time getting rid of my daughterís toys.
I feel guilty trying not to be sentimental, as if Iím being insensitive and perhaps donít love that person enough to keep and cherish the item. Do you have the same problem?
A. I am not terribly sentimental over things. Iíve experienced a loss of possessions, and it really changed my perspective about what is important to me. Iím prone to cherishing photos, ornaments and artwork that my children have created. I enjoy them now and I display them, but I plan to gift them to my kids when theyíre older (if they want them). Otherwise, no, I donít hang on to much of anything. I donít even carry a purse anymore.
I loved getting rid of toys in my house. I have four kids, and it was a wonderful parental milestone to reclaim a playroom and make it better suited for older kids. I donít need material objects to hold on to memories. My little family is my top priority, and I focus on creating new memories and making a space for my family members to live in that isnít cluttered with stuff.
Maybe rather than donating family gifts, you could give them to other family members or sell them. It often helps assuage feelings of guilt to know that these items are going to a good home. You donít have to be the family museum.
You explained what your ďproblemĒ is pretty clearly. You feel guilty and insensitive. Iíd like you to consider that the family and friends who have given you all of these items would not want you to feel burdened by them. Where are all of these items being kept now? If theyíre stuffed into boxes or closets, they arenít being treated like treasures, and you can live without them.
Keep what is useful to you and keep what you absolutely love (some things are worth keeping), but give it a place or space that shows itís important to you. That space can be created when you let go of the things that donít matter.
Regarding collections, try to cut them in half to get started. But youíll have the liberated feeling you mentioned if you can get them down to a single favorite item and let go of the rest. You can always take photos of items for reminiscing. Also, it might help if you had a goal. Maybe youíve always wanted something and didnít have the space or money. Reward yourself for purging the things that are cluttering your life.
Q. Do you have recipes for dishwashing detergent and the Jet-Dry Rinse Agent stuff that goes in the dishwasher?
A. Vinegar works well as a rinse aid. I do have multiple dishwasher detergent recipes on my community forums that you can try. Visit frugalvillage.com/forums/make-yourself/79736-homemade-dishwasher-detergent.html.
However, I donít recommend homemade dishwasher detergent, because results vary so greatly and some can actually void your warranty. If your dishwasher is older and you simply want to give a homemade version a try, the recipes that contain citric acid seem to work the best.
Easy hot sandwiches:I put cupcake liners in a muffin tin and fill them with cooked barbecue pulled pork or Sloppy Joe mixture. Then I freeze them, remove them from the tin, put them in a freezer bag and label them. The kids pull one out and microwave it for one minute, then put it on a bun. This has really cut down on our fast food stops!
L. Lynch, Georgia
ü Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email@example.com.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.