The Crushing Weight of Everyone Else’s Stuff

What in the world do you do when someone you care for gives you something of theirs that they have cherished all their lives and want you to have because they know that you ‘will cherish it all your life as I have’??? And what if you hate it? Moreover, what if you just plain have no room for it?

Here’s the thing: we may love and adore those folks who want us to have some of their treasures–but we don’t necessarily love their treasures. As I am approaching the time when I start thinking I’d better start weeding out all our stuff, I wonder if my granddaughter will want some of my own treasures. The kid does love jewelry and I have plenty to leave her, so we’re square on that score.

But when it comes to things like my own grandmother’s beautiful old glass goblet from Ireland (the one that rings like bells when you pour red and white striped peppermints into it at Christmas) that I love–who will love it after me? The saying is that ‘you can’t take it with you,’ so as I go along I tend to gift things along the way to others who might like them. It’s the same way I feel about giving a gift to someone–once it passes from my hands to theirs, I no longer worry about it. The gift is the giftee’s now, and if they want to throw it up in the air and shoot it, it’s none of my business.

I have been reading about the recent trend of small houses lately. And by ‘small,’ I mean houses that are literally 250 square feet–and that’s one of the larger ones! I admire people who have adapted themselves to live in them. How did they ever escape the stuff their relatives and friends thrust upon them? I would think that, when all you own can fit inside a 250 square foot house (that no doubt includes a cat or dog or two), you really wouldn’t be interested in things that don’t have multiple purposes.

But back to the question: so what do we do with other people’s stuff? If we hate it but hang on to it because it was Aunt Mabel’s and we loved Aunt Mabel, then maybe we should keep the love but pass on the stuff. Love is so very convenient, and it fits any space. Not only that, but it seems that the human heart can hold a great deal of treasure and still have infinite room for more.

One of my goals this year is to clear the clutter, give what can be given, donate what I no longer need, gift where possible, and throw out what really needs to go. There are some treasures I will pass on when I’m ready to let them go, but I know that the love and memories of the people who owned these things will be stored up safely in my heart. And that, my friends, I can take with me.


One thought on “The Crushing Weight of Everyone Else’s Stuff

  1. Phyllis Ring says:

    This really hits home today, Jane. Wonderful. Sharing – widely.

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