Minimalism: Your Home's Atmosphere

A couple weeks ago I talked about the Enemy of Minimalism: Sentimental Feelings.
What about other people’s sentimental feelings?
I think this has been just as hard as dealing with my own attachment to items.
I have gotten rid of a few things that some family members might have a really hard time with. They might think that the original owners of the item would roll over in their graves!
Truly, I know that all our family members that have passed on don’t even think about their material possessions anymore and I would bet that now that they are in their eternal home, they would wish that we wouldn’t care about material possessions either.
I have acquired many possessions that were very special to their original owners.
But, that is their life.
Do we need to continue holding onto our relative’s dreams, hopes or even guilt?
Do you have things in your house that someone would be mad at you if they found you got rid of the item?

You aren’t getting rid of the person. You are getting rid of a thing.
You are in charge of the atmosphere in your own home!
Do not let other people determine what you have.
There are times to be vocal about it, and times to just accept it graciously, allow some time to pass and graciously let the item go.
When it’s ok to be vocal about it and  someone is trying to give me something that belonged to… or was bought in… or came from… I gently tell them that I will not be able to take it. If it is something I can use (like a book) I do say that I will read it and then pass it on to someone else.
They’ve opted not to give us things.
That’s okay.
This is our home, our lives, our atmosphere, our responsibility.
Take charge! Take your life back!
For more minimalism inspiration, click here.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Jenni on 08/08/2012 at 4:34 pm

    This gets to the core of gift giving. A gift should be given freely and willing, and then it becomes the prerogative of the recipient to do with as they please. If the giver insists on checking up on the item — “Where’s grandma’s do-dad? I gave it to you for your living room.” — then it wasn’t a gift, but a power play, however well-intentioned.

    You’re right. Draw a line and stick to it. Initially, a stand against sentimental and superfluous stuff will ruffle feathers, but in time family and friends will respect (or at least tolerate) your values.

  2. Tommy and Mommy on 08/08/2012 at 6:29 pm

    Very well stated. Thanks so much for putting your finger on a problem that so many of us have. It is also a reminder to me as a mother and grandmother not to become one of “those people” that attach burdens with gifts.

  3. Janet on 01/11/2013 at 9:24 am

    I can really appreciate wanting to live clutter free. I haven’t quite achieved it, though I’m working at it. I suddenly lost all of my mother’s things including all the photos she had taken her entire life. I would have liked to let go of them at my own pace and I know of the need for some sentimental attaching. Children usually have a special box or place for their mementos and I think that is something we can do as adults; have a place to go to to reminisce. Sometimes that is needed. But the ones who have the attachments to the articles shouldn’t expect others to have the same feelings.

  4. Carolyn on 04/06/2013 at 1:07 am

    Oh how I can so relate to this subject. I have my MIL house full of stuff in my garage (she lived in the same house for 52 years and never threw away anything, including rubber bands, bits of string, utility receipts from the 50’s). My Mother passed away this February and I now have her stuff in the garage becoming friendly with the other stuff. Oh how I need to clean the garage!

    Thanks for the post!

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