"That was given to me. I'd feel guilty if I got rid of it."
When I first read this excuse I didn't think I had anything that fell into it, so I dropped the first sentence and kept the second. You see there are certainly things in my house I would feel guilty if I got rid of.
The first and second picture, though you can't see them well, have items from when my boys were babies. Blankets I made, or a few items I saved in a box. The third picture is of board games we own which I feel guilty we didn't play enough of so I feel guilty giving any of them away. And the fourth picture has old school work in it, and more is in the attic. Almost 12 years worth are in the attic. I have guilt when I consider letting that go for a few reasons.
But the more I thought about what I have stuck in corners which never sees the light of day my mind wandered to other parts of the house as well and I realized I do have items which were given to me which I would feel guilty to give away. A blanket made by an aunt, one I made for a grandmother which was returned at her death, items purchased to help make a house more presentable for sell, quilts made by a grandmother, and a few other items found here and there. But not all of these items are clutter, nor do all of them need to be given away.
The thing is, I shouldn't keep anything out of a false sense of guilt. The authors do an excellent job at describing what real guilt is verses this false guilt we place on ourselves, or which others place on us at times as well. But the truth of the matter is our relationships with people should not center on a gift they gave us which we no longer use. Our relationships with others should be about the two people, not anything else. Sometimes it doesn't work that way, whether our own fault or the fault of others. Or maybe both.
There is a quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful," William Morris. I thought I had been doing that, but when I stop to consider I realize there are still items I keep because I don't want the person who gave it to me to know I gave it away. I am not keeping my house only full of items which I love, but also that which guilts me, and those who gave me the gift would never want that. While I do not want to get rid of everything others have given me, I don't want to keep items out of guilt, nor do I want to pass items on in that fashion either.
I guess I didn't share one story here about an item that would fall under the excuse, but honestly I don't think I could. I would be too worried about hurting or offending someone I love. I guess that goes along with why I have kept such items to begin with.
As far as the pictures above, I realized as I was thinking about them how I could keep that which really needed to be kept, and give away that which didn't serve a purpose anymore. It will be difficult, but I think I can do it and clear up a little more space when the time comes.