Closet 101 Style

The Sentimental Items

In my prior post about saying goodbye to some bags from my closet, I mentioned that I was currently Birkin-less (yes, in my world that’s an official state). Anyway, that meant that a bag associated with one of my favorite vacation memories – an Etoupe Birkin with gold hardware that my husband surprised me with in Paris on our first trip to France together – was now gone. Afterwards, I received a few questions from readers about how I felt getting rid of a present from my spouse. That got me thinking about sentimental items…and whether I’ve kept most of mine, or not.

After some thought, I have to share that generally I’m not particularly sentimental about many things. My desire not to have unnecessary clutter usually outweighs whatever nice feeling I have associated with physical items. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up also was really helpful for me in that regard, in providing the encouragement to declutter, and move on.

My favorite Smythson paper

That being said, of course I cherish pieces associated with those I love…especially from my husband, and my family. There are also certain items I purchased myself to celebrate an occasion, that I have kept for sentimental reasons. They include:

1. My engagement ring. I’m cheating a bit with this one, because of course I wear it everyday and it’s obviously sentimental. But I so love mine and can say with full confidence that I will never, ever “upgrade” it…though I’m 100% supportive for anybody who does want to upgrade theirs (and I’m available to go shopping for it, too!). I’m always thrilled whenever I look at it.

2. A little picture of a tiger that my mom drew. She’s a really good artist! It used to hang in my closet, now it’ll go in the nursery.

3. The card that my husband wrote for me to read right before he proposed in London. It also has a little tiger on top. He gave me the rest of the box of Smythson stationery and I treasure those cards as well as I can’t find the pattern anymore.

4. My first Chanel bag, a little caviar bowler that I bought with my mom in New York more than ten years ago.

5. A sweet floral ring I bought myself as a little celebration for turning 25 and going to business school.

I don’t wear the last two – the bag and ring – very much at all anymore. Yet I’ve kept them, because when I see them in my closet, its a reminder to use them as they still have a place in my life. I still find occasions to bring both out.


As for that Birkin bag? I loved the fact that my husband was so thoughtful to find me a beautiful bag in Paris…and I always think of that occasion and smile. But the bag itself was just sitting by itself, very forlorn in a corner of my closet…and my closet isn’t too big, you know? It was occupying a lot of real estate, and I felt bad for it whenever I saw it, yet I wasn’t finding uses for it. I know it’s with a very happy new owner now…and I still have that wonderful moment in my mind, forever. I don’t need the actual item, I’ve realized…just the memory.

How are you about sentimental items/gifts, and keeping them? Do you find yourself keeping items that you know you may never use, or are you able to easily part with them?

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  • Sonya
    October 13, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I was about to email you to say that comments were not allowed on this post. I’m very sentimental and need to be less so. I have all the jewelry boyfriends have given me even from junior high school!

    • Katherine
      October 14, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Lol! Well if the jewelry is good….

  • Jessica
    October 13, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Did you end up keeping the nlack sellier kelly?

  • Diane
    October 14, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I have a Taylor reflex hammer that belonged to my father. (He was a psychiatrist.) He never took it to his office. He kept it in his study at home. I assume that it was left over from his med school days. We children used to play with it, hitting ourselves under the knees until our leg reflexes kicked. There were a lot of bruises involved. But I loved playing with it and after my dad passed away, it was one of the things I took. I keep it on a small stack of his old books and still smile when I look at it and remember whacking myself trying to get that reflex going.

    • Katherine
      October 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      This is such a sweet anecdote – thank you for sharing!

  • guest
    October 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I love this post! I also love the Chanel bag, too!

    • Katherine
      October 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      THank you!

  • Whitney Farris
    October 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I do mass purges frequently. My daughter is the recipient of most of my accessories. She doesn’t get the clothes, being either a zero or two

    I have items that I am sentimental over, but they aren’t anything of value….just valuable to me. A porcelain lion, that was in my grandmothers stocking when she was a child. That means as much to me as some of my very fine pieces of jewelry. It’s missing a paw and its tail, but is priceless to me. It’s displayed on an antique coat rack in my dining room.

    • Katherine
      October 15, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      That porcelain lion sounds so charming 🙂

  • Anonymous
    October 15, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I purged so many things after reading the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (from your recommendation). My two-year old just started at a pre-school where he creates “master pieces” daily (“paint” – i.e. paper with colors on them, things “built” by dried spaghetti etc.). My husband wants to keep everything because they are, of course, so “creative”. We finally settled on keep some first items, the rest I’ll just take pictures. I just know it’ll get harder and harder as he gets into more things…

    • Katherine
      October 15, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      That is so sweet, I think I’ll have the same struggle. Good idea for the pictuers!

  • Teresa
    October 16, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Kat. I too, am going through a season of decluttering and purging, and even after throwing out more garbage than the collectors can take in a week, I’m still not done.

    I salute you for being able to part with the Birkin – mine are all attached with very rich sentiments and I find myself still being unable to part with them. Maybe in time, I will learn to treasure the memory more than the item itself like you have.

    • Katherine
      October 16, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Thanks Teresa! And believe me, I have many items which I find myself unable to part with as well, even though I probably should.

  • Mercy
    October 18, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    This is another post that I really really like from you. I am about to trade my first Chanel bag into another bags (Celine mini luggage+Prada saffiano) but I feel sentimental thinking about it. Good on you that you’ve kept your first Chanel. Ahh, what do you think I should do? I actually need bigger bags that I can use and take to work. It’s a seasonal black Chanel flap with charms but it’s only sitting in my closet, I haven’t used it at all aside from taking pictures with it.

    • Katherine
      October 19, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      If the bag makes you feel a bit guilty when you see it – I’d personally trade it in. Good lck!