As we are slowly cleaning out my dad’s home of stuff we either don’t need or use any longer, the Crankee Yankee and I are doing the same at our house. Perhaps it’s a case of early spring cleaning, but the fact remains that we have way too much”stuff.”
By “stuff,” I mean old photo albums, newspaper clippings that have gone yellow and brittle with time; magazines we kept because there was one or two articles or recipes we wanted in them and never cut them out, clothing that is out of date but too well-kept to be thrown away, and the list goes on and on.
Before Mom died, she and Dad cleaned out a lot of stuff in their house themselves. They got rid of a lot of things that were no longer useful or necessary. Great idea—now if only we can follow in their footsteps.
I’m a sentimental person. I keep things that really should be tossed; to this day the sight of my mother’s lovely loopy writing is a soft nudge to my heart. But I can also hear her in my mind saying, ‘throw this crap away! It’s just taking up space; what—do you want to become a hoarder?‘
She’s right, of course. I used to watch a program about people who had too much stuff, and a professional cleaner worked with them to create three areas for all the stuff they were hanging onto: “Keep,” “Donate or Sell,” and “Throw Away.” They made it look so easy!
But in reality, it’s not all that easy. I have so many things from my mom that I cling to, yet I am well aware that most of it is just taking up space. When I take clothes, CDs, etc. up to our local Goodwill, it gives me a momentary pang to leave them there. But I know that others can use these things, and that way, all these things get a new life with others. And just maybe it may spread some of my mom’s good energy around the planet.
Most of our memories lie in our hearts and minds anyway. As for the things I still cherish, I know that my granddaughters will inherit them and hopefully enjoy them. My oldest granddaughter, who is five and a half, loves anything that sparkles (that’s my girl!!). I told her that she and her sister will have a great time going through all my baubles.
I look at the beautiful (and huge) ironstone tureen my mom used once a year for Christmas chowder; it’s lovely, but has no place in our home. Same with pictures and paintings and household things, not to mention furniture.
I have owned my grandmother’s Victorian sofa for over 40 years. Gorgeous carved wooden grapes adorn the back of it, and the legs are beautifully carved with scrolls. I had it upholstered in spruce green material, which has miraculously escaped the notice of our four cats. As a little girl, I used to sit on it on Christmas morning and unwrap my presents.
But a Victorian sofa is hell on the back. It was made during a time when ladies were severely laced and corseted, and never slouched. Those who sat on such a sofa would never allow their backs to touch its back; I can only imagine how their poor backs must have ached at the end of the day.
So it is far from a comfy couch, it weighs a ton and it takes up valuable real estate in our small living room. So I have contacted a local antiques dealer to have a look at it. I am hoping that someone with want it, love it and cherish it as I have all these years.
As hard as it is to give up some of those things we have lived with for years, we come to an agreement between ourselves and those things. We realize then that the stuff we really keep settles deep in our hearts where there is always room.