Editing my life


In a year where I want to get rid of some things cluttering my life, I only have two boxes of stuff I don’t use from the kitchen. It’s a start, and I guess I will go through each room in the house. I want to remove what isn’t serving me anymore and leave room to receive the things I want. That isn’t always store-bought items either. What I’m going through though is. Almost everything has a memory attached to what was happening, the person who gave it to me, or when I bought it. Not all these memories are good or even useful, no matter how well-intended.

Did I mean to collect teacups? No, I did not, but I couldn’t bear to let them be given away either from relative’s houses. So, here they sit. I intended to collect books, and I doubt I will get rid of any until forced to when I downsize someday. Record albums over many generations will stay untouched for now. My rock collection will remain along with my angels. Do I need ten wind chimes in my front window? Probably not. That’s negotiable, but the real problem is being an only child for two generations. I feel like the family keeper. There are some things I can pass down to my children, but the rest…

Editing a book is a very similar process. It’s hard to let any of it go, but it will make for a better story. So, I guess that is where I am in my life, the editing process.  Time to sell, give away or dispose of things I can’t use anymore to improve my home and life, like I do with my books.

Here are a few of my favorite things where their value is priceless to me and they won’t be edited out of my life.

Top picture: Some of my dolphin collection. (D-L-FINN)



  1. A statue made by my father-in-law.
  2. Nightmare Before Christmas town.
  3. My tiny happily-ever-after crystal castle.
  4. My grandmother’s monkey. Yes, he’s wearing a tie now.


  1. A signed poster from Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
  2. My Disney books from when I was little.


Final picture: Art from my three children that’s still proudly displayed.

Please check out my interview over on Heather Kindt blog:

Interview with D.L. Finn


Embrace your inner child, and soul, by enjoying what you have and passing on what you don’t need anymore.  D. L. Finn

35 thoughts on “Editing my life”

  1. You have some wonderful memorabilia! When we downsized from our house to an RV I had to get rid of a lot of my collectibles, but I couldn’t bear to part with my books or nature prints (some are 3 ft by 4 ft), so they kind of lean against the walls and hang wherever I can find a spot- hard to do in a holiday trailer!

    1. Books are hard to part with aren’t they. I could see keeping the nature prints, that would be hard to let go of. I’ve have put a lot of thought into downsizing for an RV. Thanks, Jacquie:)

  2. It’s so odd to happen on this post this evening, because earlier today I was clearing out a closet and deciding what things I could part with and what items just had to stay. Most of what I went through were collectibles. All had memories attached which made the decision making process harder.
    I love your collectibles! What wonderful photos and what treasures to hold onto!

    1. How funny we are both going through our memories to clean out. Hard to do when those times come back. I hope it went well for you. Thanks, Mae. This is sure going to be a process.

  3. It is so hard to get perspective on what to throw away and what to keep. I feel your pain, Denise.

  4. We used the move to triage our stuff. Sure enough we went looking for some of the “did not cut it,” category long after it was gone. Those Christmas Stocking mantle holders have to be here somewhere. Nope, Goodwill got them before we moved.

    1. Moving sure does help with trimming the clutter. I’ve gotten rid of things only to find a need for them later. Yet, I manage without.

  5. I can relate, Denise. I have a little different story. I gave a lot of my clothing to Goodwill. Some were still new. But a month ago I wanted to look for some pants for color coordination with some tops, I realized they were gone. I also gave away many books. Last week I wanted to write something about a topic and remembered I had a couple books for that topic, but the books were gone.

    I’m still decluttering. We are doing well considering many neighbors filled their garages with stuff. I don’t know how they can find thing and use them.

    I’ve heard of friends cleaned up their parents’ home after they were gone. I want to clear up my house before I’m gone.

    1. That’s a familar story, Miriam. Getting rid of something and then needing it later. Then having to go out and replace it. Luckily that isn’t always the case. I’ve had to clean out relative houses so I know the work but ended keeping some of their memories. I only want to leave behind what the kids will want and some things I can enjoy up until then. I have a garage full of my daughters stuff, so that will be my last place to go. It will feel good to enjoy the things I have so I will keep going.

      1. I only have some absolutely basic clothing for different weathers. I hardly buy new clothes or anything for that matter.
        I’ll continue to clear up and clean up. My daughter may not want any of my things. She inherited two households plus her own. They gave away a lot of things to Goodwill, the Facebook “Buy Nothing,” and sold a few things.
        So I’m doing like what you do, keep the minimum for us to use the rest of our days.

    1. My books will be my last thing to go. A while back I did thin out my books by donating or selling to a book store. My husband brought me some books later the library had gotten rid of and it turned out to be one of the books I had gotten rid of. It had found its way back to me including the book mark I used.

  6. Denise, I’m doing this same thing… trying to get more into a minimalism lifestyle. It truly is hard, but we’ll get there! Thank you for sharing those lovely keepsakes. 🖤

    1. It is hard, Marlena! My son lives that lifestyle of a minimalist and doesn’t want all the things. Having to clean out three houses of relatives made me realize how unimportant things become and yet made me hang on to some of those things. Yes, you are right we will get there room by room.

      1. Yes, you’re exactly right! Moving into my grandmother’s house, going thru all her things, helped me realize the same thing.

  7. That is a GREAT analogy for editing, Denise – clearing out the clutter, even if it pains us. 🙂 You have some awesome collections. Only let go of what won’t cause you regret later. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Jan! It actually helps me if approach this cleaning like an editor. There are some things I’m not ready to part, maybe someday.

  8. I struggle with wanting to go through all the STUFF and pitching most of it, and wanting to keep things, especially things I kept when my dad sold the house we grew up in. Old toys, stuff of my mom’s, a case full of slides. So many memories, but so much! My hubs isn’t any better (actually, he’s worse), and of course I can’t purge his stuff (you know how that goes). Some day, though. As for books, I have so many favorites I don’t think I’ll every get rid of. The rest get donated to the library’s book sale 😀

    1. It’s hard to let go of those toys, Julie. I have mine and past relatives along with my kids and now grandkids. My husband has hung on to a lot like me as well. He keeps his dad’s old nails and screws, but then I’ve hung on to old linen napkins from my grandma…lol. It certainly is a process!

  9. I went through that last year when I decided to travel and sold everything in my home. I kept a tiny prayer book from my mother dated 1928, her first communion book. Her handwriting is inside where she wrote her name as Reta Curtin. I always thought it was spelled with an ‘i’. And after my father died, my mom gave me a small silver container that would hold a “host” from communion services when my father was too ill to go to Church. Other than that, it’s the envelopes filled with photographs and the memories I will always carry in my heart. Thank you for sharing.

    1. What beautiful things you kept. It’s funny how the expensive stuff isn’t even on the radar, but it’s the little things that link us to our loved ones. You are right it is all there in our hearts, Lynda.

    1. Thanks, Teagan:) The hardest is when its not by choice. I’m trying to get ahead of that. I will enjoy the treasures I hang on too for sure.

  10. Thanks for this lovely blog post, D.L. All I can say is, KEEP EVERYTHING! I’ve had to let go of many of the things which completed my life – even books, ornaments (which were probably only important to me because I could give their history: who gave it and why? or where did I get this gem of a vase? Oh yes, when we were part of a team having to clean out and re-do a house of a lonely millionairess whose family had long since given up on her). The list is endless and I could write a book about memories – good or bad – which make me what I am today. Unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on one’s point of view, we emigrated twice – once from South Africa and then, from Botswana to United Kingdom. And as a necessity, I had to let go of things, but I refused to come across the waters with only that which I could carry in a back pack. I said to my family that I do not want to wake up some time in the distant future, and not know where I am, being in a place with all things unfamiliar. So, we did bring a container and despite everything being packed by us, we still lost a few things, but nevertheless, it was worth it. 🙂 Sadly, I couldn’t bring any potted plants, but they found a good home at one of the Senior Citizen’s Nursing Homes where the elderly folk make it their business to nurture every little plant. We brought both our dogs with us to Botswana at great cost, and they lived with us for the ten years we were there. My daughter’s little dog – a maltese – we were unable to bring when we came to the UK and I managed to find a home for her with a childless couple who already had a similar small dog, BUT it wasn’t easy to let go. Truth be told, I’m not even sure that I’ve put down any real roots here, even after seven years. So there you have it. If things are not in your way, pack it in a box somewhere, and look at it with fond memories every now and then. (I still read my mother’s letters every so often, and even friends’ letters, whom I’ve lost contact with). It seems to help me to try and put down feeler roots. Best wishes for a pleasant weekend. Maretha Botha

    1. I wish I could keep everything, Maretha, but its just too much and overwhelms me. Funny you bring up plants and being attached, I have my great grandma plant from Hawaii. Had it over 30 plus years and still healthy. I won’t let go of the things that being me joy i just ended up with other peoples joy and memories, too.. I couldn’t have just packed a container to make the move you did. I’m glad you did that over a backpack! It is so hard to let go of the memories and past, but they are always there in our hearts and of course our words as writers:) Thanks, Maretha!

      1. Interesting thing you should mention that you ended up with other people’s joys and memories. That is true, so those are probably the things to let go of. Thanks D.L. I hope you have a pleasant weekend. 🙂

  11. I am the same, Denise, I love to collect things and don’t like to make relatives feel as if their memories are unimportant so I also take their stuff. Luckily at the moment, we have a big house. It will change one day and I’ll have to get rid of some stuff.

    1. I know what you mean it feels like like you are throwing them away by getting rid of their stuff. We have a big house, but it finally filled up. Now I am keeping them in my heart and only hanging onto the things that are most important to me. I think time helped me get to this point. Thanks, Robbie.

  12. Hi, Denise! I can relate to your struggle. My husband and I moved to a house half the size of our previous home. We had to get rid of so many things we had accumulated throughout the years. It was so hard. But like you, there were things I couldn’t part with because they had sentimental value. Editing a book is extremely difficult as well, but we have to kill our darlings. If it doesn’t move the story along it has to go. 😘

    1. I envision the same type of move in our future, Vashti:) My husband isn’t as enthusiastic about decluttering other than going through his tee shirts. That’s a start though. The sentmental stuff stays, at least for now. I am killing my darlings editing, but I did revive one last night…lol. xo

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