Recently I sold a piece of furniture that has been in my family since before my birth. It was a French Provincial vanity table from the early 1960s that my Grandmother purchased for my Mom and her sister. When I was a teenager, I remember sitting at the table, digging through my Grandmother’s lotions, potions and cosmetics and gazing into the mirror to learn how to apply my own makeup. I inherited the table somewhere along the way and I enjoyed it for a while before it was relegated to the guest bedroom. By the time it was sold the table was old and a little beat up with a missing drawer handle and a few deep scratches on the top and the style matched nothing else in my home.
Even though I told myself I was ready to sell it I had a hard time saying goodbye to that old vanity table. Honestly, I was surprised about the emotions and thoughts that showed up around saying yes to the purchase offer.
· Would my family be disappointed that I had sold it to someone outside the family?
· Would my Grandmother think I now longer valued her things?
· Will my nephew want it someday when he is grown and married? By the way, he is only 12 years old and I doubt he has been coveting a 1960s table.
· Do I spend the time and money to refinish it and continue to use it?
So many feelings over one piece of furniture. I found myself asking “why am I resistant to selling this table?” However, after some reflection I realized that it was less about an attachment to the physical object and more about my relationship with my Grandmother. My need to have someone else’s approval to feel worthy was strong in this scenario. My need to avoid conflict and disappointing someone. As a recovering people pleaser, I still experienced a strong sense of self-imposed guilt. Over a table of all things! In all honesty, I would have sold the table years ago but was afraid that my Grandmother, who passed away last year, would be disappointed. Yet I never asked her how she felt about the table. Instead I made up a story that had me holding onto a piece of old furniture I no longer wanted.
Selling the table has been part of a larger effort to declutter my physical space and live a more minimalist lifestyle. A project that has been slow but steady over the past year . I feel lighter and less stressed with every box and bag that leaves my home. So far, I have released clothing, electronics, toys, games, technology and yes even some family heirlooms. As the granddaughter of frugal woman who went to Heaven and left a garage and house full of treasurers for the rest of us to sort out, I have always leaned more towards the OCD side of keeping a clutter-free, organized home. But due to life circumstances and unconscious spending habits over the past few years the “clutter” has slowly been creeping in. You know the things. The box of inherited family photos, the pile of drones received as Christmas gifts, the broken stereo, the extra electric cords, the Halloween costumes, etc. Some things have been easier to let go of and some (like Grandmother’s vanity table) have been harder to release.
In the end the table was sold to a Millennial who was super excited to get the table. She has been collecting the entire bedroom set and my Grandmother’s vanity table was the final piece to complete her collection. Unfortunately, I was gone when she picked up the table but hearing my husband talk about her excitement fills my heart with joy. It makes me happy that a little piece of my history now sits in someone else’s home creating new memories.
Kat Sanford is a business and life strategist that works with female entrepreneurs and leaders to curate a more heart-centered, intentional way of living and being.