for sentimental reasons


why is it old bean .  .  .


sunlight and breakfast

 that people who are minimalists .  .  .  such as myself

are often thought of as having no sentimental feelings about things or people

or events in our lives?


simply because we don’t collect any ‘ keepsakes ‘ of those memories and have

them all out in the open in every room on tables and walls.



people have often said to me . . .  ” how can you BE like that? “


” you’re just not a sentimental person. “

as if i might be missing an appendage or something!


as if i don’t care deeply about the people and events that happen in my life.


and then in the next breath they would usually invariably add . . .



it used to make me wonder if there was something innately WRONG with me!

LOLOL !  it really DID old bean.  especially when i was younger.


to tell you  the truth .  .  .

back then .  .  .  those kinds of comments used to hurt my feelings a little bit.



just as most people who have something ‘different’ about them learn  .  .  .

i also soon learned not to let people know how i felt about all that.


you know  .  .  .

how i never bought trinkets or mementoes when i visited somewhere.


and how i didn’t keep every little thing someone gave me over my lifetime.


i learned that to most people it’s practically SACRILEGE to pass on a gift like


it apparently shows a real lack of feeling and disrespect to the giver of the gift.


and THAT is never my intention nor my heart’s feeling about the gift at all!


it has NOTHING to do with a lack of gratitude or any supposed lack of feeling.


it is simply part of my approach to the simple life i lead.

a lovely life with very few physical things.


my ‘things’ are my memories.

of dear people i love.  of places.  of events.

both present and in the past.


i do not need physical things to take their place or to remind me of them.

hence the non guilt when i pass on something gifted that i have had the pleasure

of keeping for awhile.

and now will allow someone else that same pleasure!  that is how i look at it.


i think of it more as sharing.


i once gave an entire box of christmas decorations to a family who had lost

everything that summer in a tornado.

in that box were some things given to me by friends in various years.

it gave me a delight to think those decorations would bring happiness to a family

who had only devastating memories of a storm that took away all they had.

i felt no guilt at all in passing those gifts on to be enjoyed anew by that family.


i mean absolutely  NO DISRESPECT in passing things on.

nor does it mean any lack of gratitude!

and it is NEVER just thrown away.  it is ALWAYS re~gifted.


it is just simply shared then with someone else who will also enjoy it.

i see myself as a caretaker.  not an owner.


and to travel light is the only way i’ve ever travelled.

for instance . . .

i brought no keepsakes back from my trip to london all those years ago.


though i do admit to taking pictures with the marine’s camera on our very

last day there.

those pictures are now in my bookcase in a little photo album.

so i guess i DID bring something back after all!

i cannot tell a lie.  LOLOL!

rather i got them after we got back.  back when you still had pictures developed.


but i can tell you now this fact old bean.

even without looking at those pictures .  .  .

whenever i think about that trip .  .  .  OH MY!

i need nothing physical as a reminder!   it’s ALL indelible in my mind and senses.


i still can feel the fresh cool air on my face when i leaned out of our townhouse

window upstairs and looked upon the rain misted street scene below.

beloved english rain!


and i can hear the lovely sounds of cutlery and glasses tinkling as

the people in the little streetside café on st. james street sat at the sidewalk tables

and talked and laughed into the night.


i can still vividly see the flower boxes and the hanging planters from the old

fashioned street lamps . . .

the lush green of the many parks and the benches where the marine and i sat

and ate our lunches.

and the pubs.  oh the wonderful cozy pubs!  and the friendliness of the people.


i can feel the energy and the excitement of walking amid the crowds of people

rushing everywhere!  the sight of the sleek spotlessly clean shiny black london



OH!  so many wonderful memories!  the night at the queen’s theatre seeing

phantom of the opera.

the train ride and the infamous white cliffs of dover.  the ferry to calais.

the sweet sights and sounds of victoria station.  an electricity in the very air!


all those memories!  they are a pure joy to me still.


and i do not need any THINGS to remind me of any part of it.

it’s as fresh today as if it had all just happened to me yesterday.


but how do you explain that to people who equate the importance of

THINGS BOUGHT!  that are apparently necessary to keeping those same

memories intact throughout the years?   is that why they buy them?

i truly don’t know.  maybe it only SEEMS to be the reason.  and that’s not it at all!


but i DO know that my way is just not the normal way.  i well know that.


most people load themselves down with ‘ reminders ‘ of every occasion.

every trip they have ever taken.  every special moment in their lives.


and they just can’t understand why you wouldn’t do that too!


it doesn’t seem to be enough to them if you say . . .

” i keep a treasure chest of memories in my mind and in my heart. “


but it is true old bean.  i really do!


i can reach in that inner treasure chest and bring out any person or any moment

in time that means the world to me.  i can SEE THEM.  and hear them.

and i can re~live the occasion!


i can relive being there and being with them as easily as i could if i had a

thousand little knick knacks or mementoes or pictures sitting around on the top

of every surface to remind me!


it’s hard for them to believe that could be so.   but it just is what it is.

and it’s true.


bed w sunlite


minimalists like me  . . .  who treasure ultimate simplicity in all things . . .

are oddly content with bare beauty and few embellishments.


it truly is an acquired taste i’m sure.

although more and more people seem to be discovering

the sheer freedom and delight!

of living with LESS these days . . .


judging by many of the comments a lot of you make whenever i do a post on

my beloved minimalism!


many of you love it too!  and you share your own thoughts on it!

and that always makes me so happy!


but for the mainstream of people . . .

our way would  probably be an acquired taste.

just as one has to learn to like an odd flavor combination of some foods.


and most will never even want to acquire it at all!


in my case . . . it has just always been the way i am.

it seems to be in my genes.  i never had to WORK at liking it or being this way.


i have loved spareness and clean uncluttered spaces for as long as i can


even as a child.

and especially as a teenager.  and BOY!  you don’t think that made a difference!


that made me very strange and out-of-step with the norm indeed!   LOL!

i didn’t know why i was different then.  i just knew that i was.


then when i read thoreau’s ‘ walden pond ‘ when i was sixteen . . .

that cinched it!   i was hooked for sure!  and i didn’t feel ALONE in it anymore.

i had a kindred spirit.  even if he was from the 1800’s!


then i began reading about others who valued simplicity.

and the elegance of living with LESS.

and i didn’t feel out of step anymore.


i just felt like me.

and that’s the very best way to feel old bean!


i love order.   and sunlight.  and fresh air.  and just enough touches of something

to make a room beautiful.

i love lamplight.  and a sense of coziness.

but i like tables and any surface free of clutter  .  .  .

so one can easily set down a cup or a glass and maybe a book.


something purely functional can provide incredible beauty in a room.

especially if all else is wonderfully simple and clear.


so . . .

next time you see someone’s home that isn’t filled to the brim with family

pictures on every surface and wall  and mementoes filling every corner . . .


or all kinds of physical reminders sitting everywhere

of  every trip and event and past occasion . . .


just please remember!


those odd people are every bit as ‘ sentimental ‘

about loved ones and places and trips and memories . . .



they simply listen to the beat of a different drummer!


and THANK GOODNESS there is wonderful room in this old world


  to indulge in our sentimental reasons

just as we personally choose!


both collectors and non collectors alike!


til soon old bean.

til soon!

1st picture courtesy of

2nd picture courtesy of better homes and gardens


  1. I’m not a minimalist in your sense, but Thoreau and his different drummer was a godsend to me too. The nice thing about getting older is we no longer worry about what other people think. We accept them and ourselves. The universe is plenty big enough for us all.

  2. Becky

    I totally “get” what you are saying! I have begged my family and friends not to gift me with items, although they DO ignore me and carefully select things that they think are perfectly in tune with my philosophy. So I totally appreciate their efforts to express their love for me. Which is why I continue to carry about their loving physical accoutrements and try to work them into my interiors so they can visit me and see them in my decorative vignettes.

    • tammy j

      I finally have convinced my friends and family who insist on gifts to give me items that I can ‘use up!’
      like wonderful delicacies to eat that I normally wouldn’t buy for myself. or a special soap. or a journal.
      and they’re being wonderful about it! they know I don’t do knick knacks of any kind!
      they used to tell me I was the hardest to buy for. now I’ve been told I’m the EASIEST! LOL!
      I hope all the changes you’re making are going smoothly! can’t wait for a new post about it.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your point of view on “things” and memories etc. There are certain things I just can’t let go of and yet I know I will some day…mostly my books …or my dad’s writings etc. And photos – I’m so silly about photos – i have to take a pic of everything I see…but it’s worth it – I get enjoyment out of seeing them years and years later – especially scenery views …but I totally get your point of view and love writings that deat with simplicity and fresh air and beautiful wide open spaces and always love the photos you choose to post. Happy 4th to you!

    • tammy j

      i’m totally silly about photos too dear bean!
      thus the little album of my trip.
      and I can’t help it. but the ones I love are ones not from this era.
      I like to HOLD THEM IN MY HAND!!! most especially old ones of my mother and daddy.
      and the marine and I when we were little. those are very very dear.

  4. I rarely buy souvenirs when I take a trip. Like you, I don’t need a trinket that will end up contributing to clutter for me to remember the trip. For me, photos are far more important than those things.

    I have a few things I’m sentimental about…Christmas ornaments, my daughter’s drawings, the rocking chair I used when she was an infant. These things I will never part with. But mostly, a six inch replica of the eiffel tower isn’t worth my money or space on a shelf.


    • tammy j

      totally agree!
      and the things that have value for you were NOT bought in a tourist trap! ♥

  5. Linda Sand

    Maybe people buy trinkets to remind them of travels because they were so busy hurrying through their travels that they didn’t take time to experience them as deeply as you did. Dave and I were talking just yesterday about our first trip abroad and I was surprised at how much we did remember once we started talking.

    • tammy j

      LOL! hadn’t thought of that but you’re right.
      I remember seeing a very funny movie years ago. and I have never seen it since.
      the title was “if this is Tuesday … it must be belgium!”
      about just what you’re talking about. they rushed through it all mainly buying stuff!

  6. Chloe

    Totally agree becoming a mimialist as we speak. It’s so much more enjoying and making memories with my family vs having stuff to remind us and have to keep cleaning

  7. It is those memories of treasured times that I call “dentist chair” ammo. Pulling them out to linger over truly get me through times in that chair! However, you know me well enough to know that if I had been in London myself, I would have not only brought home memories, I would have wanted to bring 2 extra suitcases home with me. One loaded with books and another full of Copeland Spode china! And a Liberty of London scarf around my neck!

    No hope for me I’m afraid, Tam. Even though I’ll have to leave it all behind someday, I’ll be the one volunteering to set the table in heaven with plates of gold. Somebody has to do it!

    Love to my sentimental minimalist,

    • tammy j

      YES! I know you. and I love you.
      as you say… somebody has to do it! LOL!

  8. I love the way your posts, begin at the left side of the page. in other words, the lines are not centered. for these old eyes, it is so much easier to read.

    now I can say this, because you are doing it again. it’s not really nice to say one likes the “start at left” way, when someone is using the “centered” way. which is obviously, their favorite.

    hugs…. tessa

  9. “i see myself as a caretaker. not an owner.”
    Love that line…. or those lines, because there are 2 there. ,-) aren’t we all caretakers? since we are here, for such a little time, in the grand scheme of things.
    native american indians walked where I live. pretty sure they didn’t think of themselves, as ‘owners’ of the then forest. why should I consider myself the owner, of this little plot of land, now?
    and if I am to pass it down, shouldn’t I care for it, in a proper way? like not douse it with weed killers and chemicals?
    there she went again… off topic. but, not totally so.
    plus, I so agree with you. I don’t like a lot of stuff!!! I prefer clear counters and table tops and etc., etc., etc. and can not stand even the thought, of lots of “do-dads”, to dust.

    but oh sigh, over nearly 58 years, with only one move… 10 years after marriage…. so after 48 years of living in one place, can you imagine how much stuff, has accumulated…? because I live with someone who always can find a possible use, for anything! meaning, “let’s get rid of it.”
    enough! -grin- rambling again. 🙂
    gentle hugs, tessa

    • tammy j

      I love your ramblings. LOL!
      and isn’t it odd. truly. most men are the culprits that hang onto things.
      well. not my dear rummy.
      but many women have said the same thing. their husband always says…
      “keep this. it might come in handy someday.” so it goes back in the box in the closet in the garage…
      and on and on.
      and when they die… somebody finally has to ‘get rid of it!’ LOLOL!!! oh well.
      gentle hugs back dear bean!

  10. I’ve really thought about this one.
    I want to be closer to a minimalist.
    But right now, even though I’ve been working on it, I still have a lot to let go of.
    I will never be or really want to be, a complete pure minimalist.
    I enjoy everything that is hanging on my walls.
    When I look at them, they each in their own way, make me happy.
    But somethings I’ve come to realize are silly to keep because they are just things and not the person.
    Yep, I’m on a journey here and I’ve only started but I swear I think I can see the destination way out there in the distance.

    I must say I personally prefer someone elses home that is simple and spare, to a home full of STUFF. I think a few items that are kept and treasured, show more sentimentality than a bunch of things stored in boxes or crammed on shelves.
    I mean how can they be really treasured if they are are lost in the messiness?

    I know someone who kept all sorts of things that belonged to a deceased loved one and when we started to try to store through the stuff in their garage, things were found to be eaten by mice and mice poop and urine were on things and I even found things that had gotten wet somehow and now were rusty.
    I wanted to say to the person, do you really thing your loved one would be glad that you let this happen to their things rather than be donated or even thrown away. I mean, I felt like it was more of a dishonor to their memory.
    THAT was a real eye-opener.
    (Although I do not have a garage! LOL!)

    Anyway, I’m working towards a balance.
    Just what I love and need and none of the extra.
    Thank you for this post!
    You continue to inspire me.

    • tammy j

      you said the magic word darling bean…
      really balance in every aspect of our lives.
      and the story about the person keeping the loved ones ‘things’ in the garage
      until they were ruined. wow.
      that should be a wake up call to ANYBODY! so glad you shared it here.
      you’ll get there. in your OWN time and your OWN way! that’s what’s important!!! XOXO♥

  11. Love this, Tammy. And you are so right. My mental memory box contains a picture of my husband and I on a park bench in Hyde Park, watching the old men with their grandkids and their handmade remote powered model boats, the young families with kids and dogs drinking fantastic tea in paper cups in the cold, the plane trees, and the fresh London river air, and the relaxed unpushy atmosphere. My favorite gifts from friends, are slips of exotic plants. Including a rose slip from Kew Gardens. If they grow too big, I take a picture and hand them on. Mentally singing music is what I do to survive doctors and dentists. for dentists, I will survive is especially good. Or freak out.

    • tammy j

      I love your memory of hyde park! it was one of my favorite parks there.
      but NO AMOUNT of music will ever help me relax in a dentist’s chair! LOLOL!

  12. I recently culled my library and got rid of books that I will never read or refer to again. They were displayed at a friend’s restaurant with a board saying “pay what you want and take as many books as you want. Collection will go to finance animal welfare organisations”. A substantial sum was collected and donated as promised. In the process others also left books in the display!

    I refuse to be sentimental about things and I am willing to defend myself if criticised for being so. My memory is good enough for nostalgia and I do not need things to remind me of anything.

    I am also at an age when what other people think of me or say about me does not bother me. I think you are like that too. So, just keep being minimalist.

    • tammy j

      oh rummy!!!
      how wonderful. to earn money that way for such a worthy cause!
      and yes.
      we don’t care anymore do we.
      that was when I was young and foolish and still seeing myself through other people’s eyes.
      but not enough to change my minimalist ways… thank goodness! LOL!

  13. Tammy, your great sentimentality is evident when reading your posts about your Marine, your childhood and your husband. People just aren’t paying attention when they make those comments to you. Your “trinkets” are private, invisible and worth so much more. xoxo

  14. It is always difficult swimming in your own direction. We are who we are and there are a lot of us out here who love that you are so centered and know exactly who you are and how you function. Who wants us all to be alike? I love vignettes with lovely things to look at and that would drive you crazy. As would a simple house make me want to add flowers and books. I think your way is catching on more and more now that we are over consumers and find us with way too much stuff. You can be an inspiration to all.

    • tammy j

      well… i’m a true paradox! because my favorite décor is ‘ englsh country cottage! ‘
      and if that isn’t flowers and books I don’t know what is! LOLOL!
      I just can’t live with much of it myself. but oh how I love it! thus…
      the paradox!

  15. I’m with you, Tammy, everything I hold dear is locked in my heart. I’m not much of a shopper. I actually have some empty drawers and cabinets and a clothes closet that’s about 1/3 full and that includes clothes for all seasons! That doesn’t mean I don’t have some favorite books, and candlesticks and plants here and there, but I really don’t need any more than I already have. True believer that the best things in life aren’t things at all.
    Hope all is well with you, my friend. xo

    • tammy j

      my kindred soul!
      I would know all that about you.
      glimpses of your simple cozy living delight me. ♥

  16. Oh, Tam, what other people have in things, you have in heart – it’s HUGE, and it keeps on giving – love, devotion, consolation, comfort, joy, laughter, the list goes on. You share these precious ‘tokens’ with so many, filling their own hearts with love and gratitude, something they can easily carry with them wherever they may go, since they are souvenirs from your sweet soul.

    Love you, you sentimental bean!
    xo♥xo ♥

    • tammy j

      i only wish.
      but still. tears.
      and thankful for beautiful thoughts to live up to.
      love to you to my darling bean!
      REST every chance you get!!! XOXOXO♥♥

    • tammy j

      what a lovely surprise!
      thanks for stopping by.
      I know you’re enjoying being with your mom and dad.
      and you’re so busy. and you STILL came by! ♥

  17. “my ‘things’ are my memories.
    of dear people i love. of places. of events.
    both present and in the past.”
    Amen to that. Exactly how I feel as well. I have very few photos or souvenirs but I remember all the exciting experiences of my life very vividly. Why should that mean I’m not sentimental?

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