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I have A LOT of knick-knacks. My mom is a very knick-knacky type of person, and throughout my life I have gotten, and continue to get knick-knacks almost every time I see her.  Tiny elephant sculptures, fancily painted sea creatures, tiny turtles, little kissing cows, cherished teddies, little wooden owls, and other itty bitty creatures have been covering all my book shelves and table tops since I was a little girl. When I moved out on my own I literally had an entire shelving unit completely covered in this stuff. It had meaning to me. They were gifts; they had some sort of sentimental value. Each one had a story.

As I got older, and found that I was running out of space, I knew I needed to remove some. The first time I sorted through my knick-knacks I set aside more than half of them to put into storage. I feared upsetting my mom by removing them from my house, and I kind of feared missing their tiny comforting faces while out on my own, an hour from my parents and friends, but after a few days I had completely forgotten about them.

Over the following few years, I had collected a few more handfuls, receiving new knick-knacks from my nieces and nephews at holidays (tiny wooden trains they made on craft day, tiny picture frames that say “World’s Best Aunt” and tiny little candle holders spattered in pink and purple paint), and only a few from my mother who ‘just couldn’t resist’.  I took them in with pride and happily displayed them about my available spaces.

A year ago though, it came time to do something, again. It was beginning to feel like an endless battle. I removed all the little wooden gifts from the kids, which broke my heart since they were all handmade and meant just for me, but I literally was running out of space. They went into storage with all the cherished teddies and ceramic whales and were quickly forgotten.

It’s been another year, and the ones that are still in my apartment are the ones that I really, genuinely struggle with getting rid of. Ones that I’ve had since my earliest memories or ones that were given to my boyfriend and me as joint gifts… I can’t stand the thought of not having them, but at the same time: I’m 24 and have hit that point in my life where I really want clean, uncluttered shelves and more a modernized style. I don’t know what to do. No matter how clean the apartment is, it always looks cluttered, but it’s a fine line between ‘junk’ and ‘sentimental items’. Seriously, how do I decide?

Yesterday I honestly attempted to scoop them all up, every single one, and put them in storage. I can always get one or two back out if I find myself missing them, I thought to myself, and I walked over to my first bookcase, full of strength and indifference towards everything that wasn’t a book or a photograph… and I walked away with two things for storage, and about 15 still left scattered about. In my mind I really don’t “want” them anymore. But the rest of me doesn’t have the power to do anything about. I’m stuck.

Immediately after my failed attempt, I pulled out my autumn decorations and then scattered them about, and was immediately plagued with the feeling of clutter once again. I LOVE my autumn decorations, and I was honestly pleased about having them out, but at the same time my mind lately just can’t differentiate between ‘cute and stylish” and “crap everywhere”.

Sigh. I even told Kyle I don’t know how he lives with me sometimes, I can’t even stand myself when I’m in a period of adjustment or growth. I hate change but I want it so bad. Life is stupid.