I’m not a very sentimental person. At least, I’m not someone who gets attached to things. Fortunately, this trait comes in handy when it’s time to do a purge of “stuff” – even when the stuff isn’t mine. In 2010, we moved my parents from the house they had lived in for over 45 years to a much smaller house right across the street from us. My purging skills came in handy because my Mama was the complete opposite of me; for Mama, the memories and the items were tied together so she didn’t get rid of much. Let’s just say there was a lot of stuff to go through. We made many trips to the landfill and Goodwill. Of course, there was also a pile of things that I set aside for family as well.
Also in 2010 we moved my mother-in-law from her condominium into an Assisted Living facility. Fortunately, my in-laws had already downsized a couple of times: the first when they moved from the home where they raised their sons into an apartment, the second when my mother-in-law moved from the apartment to a condo after the death of my father-in-law. So, while we had some things to go through, it was nowhere near as much as what we dealt with when my parents moved.
The next opportunity to practice my “skills” came after my Daddy’s death. Kenn and I were still working full-time so Mama moved to North Carolina to live with my oldest sister and her husband. We tried to do some cleaning out before Mama moved but it was too hard on her so most of it took place after she left. This was the hardest one. There were a lot of items that went to friends and family but there was still a bunch left. This was the hardest purge for me. I was heartbroken and missing my Daddy and Mama’s leaving was kind of like losing her too. Yet, we needed to get the house cleaned out so that the owner could rent it out again. I did as much as I could but once I hit the I-can’t-do-this-anymore wall, we took the remaining boxes of stuff and stored them at our house. When we unexpectedly found our dream home a few months later, all of those boxes moved with us.
I steadfastly ignored the stack of boxes for as long as I could but finally had to grit my teeth and start working my way through them. Some were easy such as the boxes and boxes (and boxes) of papers to shred. Fifty year old income tax returns and bank statements anyone? However, there are the things that fall into What The Fluff territory that I have no idea to what to do with; the things that seem like they would be important to someone, but who? My Daddy was into model railroading and we had several boxes of N gauge train cars and tracks, miniature buildings, etc. Kenn had a brilliant idea and contacted the local model railroading association who gladly took all of the railroading paraphernalia off our hands. I came across several metal boxes containing photographic slides among my Daddy’s things. The photos dated back to the 1940s and 50s; none of them were labeled. I didn’t know who any of the people in the pictures were and had no way of finding out. Even though it hurt my soul a little, these pictures went into the trash. Cold? Possibly. However, I just can’t bring myself to keep boxes of photos that mean nothing to me.
Now I find myself faced with items like the ones pictured: newspapers and magazines dating back to the first moonwalk and possibly other historic events. These aren’t newspapers that have been properly preserved; they are folded in half and yellowed with age. However, I can’t just toss them because of their historical significance. So, dear readers, do you have any recommendations? A Twitter friend recommended contacting local museums however, where I live there are no local museums, LOL.
Dealing with all of this stuff for so many years has made me determined to not leave our boys with a mountain of crap to deal with when Kenn and I shuffle off this mortal coil. Of course, there will be some stuff, that’s unavoidable. Sorry, not sorry, for the random rocks and baggies of shark’s teeth guys!
Until next time, happy (and hopefully uncluttered) trails!