How Can A Chair Stir So Much Emotion?


My clients will sometimes say to me when we are clearing the clutter “you could not possibly understand the emotional attachment to things because of what you do for a living”.

Whenever I hear that I often think about this chair. It was an original Knoll chair from the late 60’s that use to be covered in purple velvet fabric.

It was the dining room chair of my childhood. There were many Thanksgivings, Christmas dinners and birthday celebrations shared on these chairs.

In the early 70’s, the era of house parties, the purple velvet chairs were always a topic of conversation.

There were originally eight of them that were put in storage sometime in the 80’s, unfortunately all but one was stolen.

The surviving chair went from place to place until it ended up at my house in the late 90’s.

I had it recovered in black, had the metal cleaned and used it as my office chair for a couple of years. When we moved I changed the fabric to orange hoping I could make it work in my new home.

When I realized it was not really the look I was going for in my new house and no one in my family wanted it I put it on eBay and sold it to someone who was thrilled.

I knew it had value because I had done my homework which is important when you own things of value that you want to sell.

The funny thing about the chair, every time I looked at it my mind would immediately go to the past. When emotions are attached to an item it’s so hard to let it go.

I have never regretted selling the chair because my decorating taste has changed and I realized at one point I was trying to make something work out of guilt and the reluctance to give up the past.

How could I sell a family heirloom? What if I regret it? What if it’s worth more 10 years from now? Do these all sound familiar?

You have to live in the present with the things in your home that you absolutely need and love.

If you love your grandmothers dresser keep it but if you look at it everyday and think “how did I get stuck with this” then it is time to let it go and live in the present.

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