Going through household items

DawnStormOctober 7, 2004

In October of 1955, my parents moved into the house my mother still occupies. Naturally many items have been accumulated and donations to the church thrift store, and 'bequeathings' to two kids when they struck out on their own have only made a slight dent. Now she's torn between wanting to get the basement cleaned out and dreading it because of the memories it'll raise. I tell her that the basement isn't going to go anywhere, and that the County has not yet condemned the house as unfit for human habitation, but she's still beating up on herself for not doing more and more often. Don't get me wrong, she's gone through many things and either a) discarded them; b)given them to my brother/myself; or c) given them to the thrift shop. Some things she's kept for their sentimental value. However every time I go over there, she's bemoaning the fact that the basement is still cluttered. What can I say--if anything--that'll help her take the pressure off herself? Note: my mom still thinks that she should have the energy of a 30 year old--it's an old old complaint. News flash Mom: you're in you early 70s!!! You can slow down now!!

Anyway, thanks.

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Tell her she's not the only one to have accumulated a lot of "stuff" over the years.

Several years ago, we moved my wife's grandmother from the house she lived in for decades, to be closer to family. Her house was a 2 story, 9 room farm house and we moved her into a small mobile home. Needless to say there was a huge amount of accumulated stuff that had to be dispensed. One of the things that really struck me was a box of papers we found in the attic that, among other things, contained her son's first grade report card...from over 60 years before!

Since my Dad passed away, Mom has also been fretting about all his stuff in the basement. SHe is hoping to sell the house and move into an apartment in the Spring and is worried about how she will dispose of all the stuff. I told her not to worry, there is plenty of family to help with that and we'll cross that bridge when the time is right.

After the family and extended family gets what they might want, we'll probably have a yard sale and whatever doesn't sell and can't be donated, will be pitched.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 3:34PM
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If she really wants to do it, maybe the two of you could work on it together. Set a date and just work an hour or two. It may be that once she does a little, that will cure her urge for a while. She can plan for it, sort thru, maybe, one box, and y'all could make a memory of it. Derry

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 6:23PM
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It kind of sounds to me like it may be the *cluttered* nature of the basement that is bothering her, rather than the accumulation itself.

Would it be possible for you to spend a day or two and try to organize things a little? (I know that Flylady says you can't organize clutter, but I do think it can be straightened and "organized" to some degree.) Anyway, whatever you could do to make it less unpleasant and guilt-inducing to visit the basement would help, I would think. And if you could organize everything somewhat, then maybe she could bring herself to spend 20-30 minutes at a time making decisions concerning discarding, giving, storing.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 7:44PM
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I too think that you two should try to go in and do a little at a time. It's probably just overwhelming her to think of going through all of it. Maybe you could suggest to her for you and your sibling to go in and look through things that you might want and then, of course, get her approval as to whether you take it or not. That would help eliminate some of the stuff and she wouldn't have to do it herself. Maybe she could just sit and watch you all. When you come across things that she really wants to keep, then put them in a box for her and find a place in the house for the items. Looking through all of those items from times past may generate happy memories in her and she my be surprised. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 9:25PM
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That is tough...my mom went thru that after dad died. No easy way to do it and i was not much help. i think back and wish i had helped her more with that, the clothes thing anyway. but she also seemed to want to do it by herself. i would think that it would be a good way to share memories when doing this.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 10:46PM
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I'm going through this right now, but I have to do it at warp speed. My mother died last month and FOUR DAYS (yup, count 'em) after her funeral, her landlady hit me up asking me if I could be out by the end of October. I told her NO, it would have to be November 30. But even then, I'm being forced to do in two months what many people take years to do. I haven't lived in that apartment in many years, but there are so many memories there and so much of my stuff. I'm going to end up putting more in storage than I'd want, simply because I can't go through everything and I don't want to rush.

P.S.: Note to b**ch landlady: thanks for your sensitivity, hon. I'm surprised you didn't hit me up at Mom's wake.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 4:36PM
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People can be so thoughtless...it is amazing to me. Derry

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 10:45PM
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