‘On the Couch’ with Jasminda

DEAR Jasminda,

During my recent council roadside pickup preparation, I tried to discard some of my son’s belongings that he hasn’t touched in over five years.

He wouldn’t allow me to do so, saying it would ruin his childhood memories.

I’m sick of storing stuff for no good reason. What should I do?

Mrs Jodi L.

Dear Jodi,

THE problem here is that we are attached to objects for a range of different reasons, and none of us can really judge the desirability another person puts on something in terms of its sentimental value.

What you may see as a clapped-out tennis-table table, is, in your son’s eyes, the remnants of his childhood, specifically the day he beat that show-off Johnny Smythe.

It is the same reason I keep a pair of very short shorts with frangipanis on them in my wardrobe. I know I will never wear them again, but it’s nice to hold on to the memory of the tanned legs and flat stomach that once accommodated those shorts so perfectly.

As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and this becomes all too apparent when you do put your belongings on the grass strip awaiting collection.

Before long, passers-by will start rifling through your memories, and in some cases load them into the car boot, at which point you will feel a sudden surge of affection for that camping chair with a rip in the fabric and contemplate chasing after them.

There is also an equivalent of buyer’s remorse, known as chucker’s remorse.

The calculation goes something like this: Item value minus the number of years you have last used it multiplied by the number of hours it sits waiting for collection plus the number of people who stop to look at it equals the likelihood of you running back out to the front of your property and retrieving it before it gets carted away.

The longer you wait, the more likely you are to return your junk back to the mezzanine for another two years where it will gather more dust and rat poo, and the decision-making process will start again.

Maybe suggest to your son that he can have a designated area in the shed, and if his belongings don’t fit into that space, they need to go.

Also, once he leaves home, DO NOT under any circumstances let him store those items and the associated memories at your place.

They are his to deal with at that point, and he can then decide how much they really mean to him.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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