Reader Ellen submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
I recently ended a very long-term relationship and I have no idea what to do with the gifts I was given over the last ten years. Some of them (CDs, books) are impersonal and I still use and enjoy them, but other items – some engraved, some very expensive, some very romantic – are causing problems.
I can’t use them without feeling upset. I can’t give them away, as most of them are personalized or unique in some way. Most are made of materials that can’t be recycled. It feels wrong to put an item worth a hundred dollars into the trash.
Do you have any creative suggestions? Or any advice on new ways to think about the problem?
I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t have anything in your life that you don’t need or love, so I don’t see a reason to keep any of the items that make you upset. If it makes your stomach churn when you see it, this is a pretty good sign that it’s time for the item to go.
Gifts that have been engraved can be polished clean by a jeweler. I suggest having these engravings buffed out and then selling these items. Even carvings on wood can be sanded out by a woodworker. Buy something you want with the revenue, invest it, or donate it to charity.
Jewelry stores are also great locations to dispose of jewelry because they can melt down pieces and refashion them into new pieces you want. I actually took diamonds from two different pieces of jewelry boyfriends gave me and had them made into earrings. One diamond had to be tweaked with a little to match the other, but it wasn’t very expensive and it was worth it.
I’d also consider donating objects to charity or to someone in need, if appropriate. You might not yet have the nerve to sell something, but a homeless person might not have any issue with walking those diamonds into a pawn shop and getting money for a week’s worth of food and some clothes.
Be sure to check out the comments for even more ideas. I’m sure our readers will also have great ideas for you. Thank you, Ellen, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column.
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