Sentimentality is my biggest failing

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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In last week’s column I told you that a toy clear-out was needed in the Hayden household.

My two daughters have far too many unused toys and they’re just using up valuable storage space in our house.

Sadly, as most of these toys aren’t fit for purpose and are damaged, I can’t even sell them on an auction website, take them to a charity shop or sell them at a car boot.

I fear that, rather than people paying me for my stock, it would be more appropriate for me to pay them to take the toys off my hands.

So unfortunately these once-loved items will end up in the bin next to some soggy tea bags and an empty milk carton.

Of course I’m imagining these toys will come to life and jump out of the bin and find themselves a new loving home, just like in the film Toy Story 3.

But lately my inner Derek Trotter has been thinking of ways that I could make more money.

Now Alyssa has grown from a baby into a toddler and Caitlin has grown from a toddler into a little girl, we have once-used items, still in good condition in our house that are no longer required.

Well why don’t you sell them, I hear you ask.

There is a problem – and that problem is me.

I’m a sentimental fool. We all have something we hold on to that no longer serves any purpose but reminds us of someone or something.

Sometimes these items are worth keeping but sometimes they, like the broken toys, are just taking up valuable space and gathering dust.

But where and how do you draw the line?

For example, we have several pairs of no-longer-needed baby shoes that are so small they can fit into the palm of my hand.

With no plans at the moment to have any more children, we could probably sell them and make ourselves a bit of money.

But annoyingly, the sentimental fool in me is more powerful than my inner Del Boy and I think back to when I was trying to delicately place Alyssa’s tiny feet into the tiny shoes and the thought of selling them fills me with guilt.

I worry that by getting rid of the shoes I’ll be getting rid of the memory.

Luckily my partner Serena is far more sensible than me and much less sentimental.

She reminded me that unless we put the shoes on display in the living room to look at every day, they are no use to anyone, so it makes no difference if they are in our attic or on another child’s feet.

So I gave in and they were put up for sale on the auction website.

The money that we made from the shoes and other items softened the blow.