My parents grew up as part of a generation that kept things. All. The. Things. My mom must have a thousand rubber bands because “You never know when you’ll come upon hard times.” I’m not sure how rubber bands will help with hard times but it shows how she appreciates and finds a space for each and every “thing” in her life. My generation has spawned the minimalist. I believe some of this is due to being overwhelmed with ‘stuff.’
I can’t handle clutter. It makes my skin crawl.
My parents recently “gifted” me much of the stuff they’ve “kept” for me for years. Pictures, baby books, blankets, crystal, china, napkins from my graduation and wedding, socks, knick knacks….and it’s everywhere. I mean—literally—everywhere in my house. There is not a single room in my home that isn’t cluttered with our stuff mixed with our “new” stuff.
I used to be a “keeper” of all the things. Toys (organized in sets, of course) dolls, craft supplies, and enough markers, colored pencils, and crayons to circle the earth seventeen times over. Last weekend I lost my marbles after unloading my truck and seeing the chaos in every room in my home.
I posted a picture of a bunch of dolls and clothing and a price of $150. It was worth in excess of $500 but I just wanted it gone. In less than twenty seconds I had it sold and had six additional people asking me to be next in line.
And one comment that made me pause. “Save it for grandbabies.”
I stopped in my tracks. And I cried.
The reason my aging parents’ things have made their way to my home—and the homes of my siblings—is they’re moved to a senior living apartment. They are doing great and life is wonderful. But my home, the only house I ever lived in as a child is going to be sold. Along with much of their ‘stuff.’ “Save it…” stopped me in my tracks. Was I overreacting? Was I simply getting rid of clutter only to find sadness in lost memories waiting for me? Should I keep it all?
I found my center. I took photos of the very special things that we love and have absolutely no desire to own. And then I donated…and donated…and gifted…gave away…forced upon others…all of those things. The next task. Deciding which children are old enough to appreciate the things we saved for them. Some items will remain safely in my possession until they are older. Other items—even expensive things—are out and being used. Because what good does that stuff do in a box. Enjoy it, use it, make new memories with it. We tell my parents daily what we’re using and how much fun it is to have some of the special things in our home. Glasses and tablecloths that were always out and welcoming in Grannie and Grandpa’s house now brighten our home and hearts daily.
The things we will keep always have treasured spots in my house. Or rather they will. When I can unpack the boxes and deal with the clutter. Right now I’m doing what I can each day and leaving the memories in the boxes when they overwhelm me.
You never know when you’ll come upon hard times. If I do, I’m set. I just found another package of saved rubber bands. About 500 of them.