Things

clutterMamacita says: Clutter.

I think far too many people set far too much store on “things.”  The value of our “things” – be it sentimental or actual – is often so high, in our minds,  that it is inconceivable to us that everyone in the world doesn’t want a chance at our “things.”

Thieves steal other peoples’ things.  Things are ruined by flood, tornado, hurricane, and other natural disasters, for Mother Nature also seems to want a chance at our things.

Some of our things are necessities, of course, but others are just pretty, or sentimental, or add to the decor in some way, or help us remember someone else.  There is no need to get rid of everything, but wouldn’t a happy medium be nice?

The older we get, the more people we know and have known, the more experiences we’ve had that we want to remember, etc, and the clutter souvenirs and mementos start to pile up.

We’ll be adding some of my MIL’s things to the things we already have, but to do that, we’ll first have to get rid of some of OUR things.  We work all day, and many nights, so until we can find a few larger blocks of time, some of her things will remain in her house and other of her things will join our things,  but until we get rid of some of our things there’s no ROOM for her things so her things will be sitting in the middle of various rooms until such time as we can find time and space for them.

I’ve also discovered that certain things that once held great value of some kind for me no longer do so, and I can give them away or even discard them without a lot of gnashing of teeth and unfettered weeping.

What I’m really discovering – once again, because I already knew this but it fades back in between times – is that the blending of our loved ones’ “things” with ours, is a kind of continuity of life.

In my home, there are things that once belonged to parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, friends. . . . when I see and use these things, it’s almost as if someone I loved and lost is there with me again.

Grandma’s bowl, Mamaw’s serving dishes, Mom’s casseroles, Dad’s books,  Grandad’s toolbox, Papaw’s hat, Great-grandma’s aprons. . . . Our beloved dead aren’t really gone, you know.  Bits and pieces of them are still here with us, carrying on with us in a day-to-day fashion, and when we use  the “things” they left behind, still warm inside with the heat of their hands and bodies, shiny with the patina held only by silvery things that have been handled by many, many people – no new silver shines quite like old silver –  they are with us again.  The fingerprints of our beloveds are all over the most important “things,” and the MOST important thing they’ve marked is our hearts.

Vases break.  Flowers die.  Fabric rots.  Pictures fade.  But memories?  Nobody can take those from you. *  Even Mother Nature’s worst can’t wash away the memories.

Best of all?  When the family gathers to SHARE memories.  No mere treasure can hold a candle to it.

*Except perhaps Mr. Alzheimer, but we won’t go there


Comments

Things — 16 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. If who your giving the items to- if they don’t want some things saying their too old or worn- consider having a yard or estate sale..I’m sure that their are people that will love those things as much as your family did. I understand that you can’t bring everything into your home…but a few treasured memories will be just nice. Some times its a job that I wish I had lived close enough to help with when my Mom or Grandparents or when my Dad passed 5 years ago. I pass things on to freescycle all the time- their should be one in your area. I gave a lady some yarn that I had and wasn’t using today- and she is using it to make blankets and things for others. Just a thought or two. Hope it was helpful in some way for you. Hugs, eileenb

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss. If who your giving the items to- if they don’t want some things saying their too old or worn- consider having a yard or estate sale..I’m sure that their are people that will love those things as much as your family did. I understand that you can’t bring everything into your home…but a few treasured memories will be just nice. Some times its a job that I wish I had lived close enough to help with when my Mom or Grandparents or when my Dad passed 5 years ago. I pass things on to freescycle all the time- their should be one in your area. I gave a lady some yarn that I had and wasn’t using today- and she is using it to make blankets and things for others. Just a thought or two. Hope it was helpful in some way for you. Hugs, eileenb

  3. What saddens me is looking at all of the things from my great grandma or great uncles or even Grandma or Grandpa and knowing that the connection with those wonderful people will die with me. I am the only child of an only child and, when I go, no one will remember those people nor cherish their things. When I moved last year, I threw away some things that Goodwill wouldn’t accept because their condition was too rough and I just sobbed as I did it but I couldn’t clutter my today with their yesterday or else I would be betraying the hard work they put in to make my life better than theirs. I guess it’s just another sign that I’m growing up. (Not well pleased with the concept, but accepting it and moving on.)

  4. What saddens me is looking at all of the things from my great grandma or great uncles or even Grandma or Grandpa and knowing that the connection with those wonderful people will die with me. I am the only child of an only child and, when I go, no one will remember those people nor cherish their things. When I moved last year, I threw away some things that Goodwill wouldn’t accept because their condition was too rough and I just sobbed as I did it but I couldn’t clutter my today with their yesterday or else I would be betraying the hard work they put in to make my life better than theirs. I guess it’s just another sign that I’m growing up. (Not well pleased with the concept, but accepting it and moving on.)

  5. I think we are souls separated at birth! As I review my blog, I find that many of my posts refer to this very thing. My most treasured ‘things’ are the ones that belonged to loved ones…my grandmother’s bread bowl (so worn through that it was repaired), my grandfather’s chiffarobe, well, I could go on for twenty pages. My recent home projects have resulted from the fact that I am getting ready to bring my grandmother’s pump organ to my house from my mother’s…and I will treasure it, too.

  6. I think we are souls separated at birth! As I review my blog, I find that many of my posts refer to this very thing. My most treasured ‘things’ are the ones that belonged to loved ones…my grandmother’s bread bowl (so worn through that it was repaired), my grandfather’s chiffarobe, well, I could go on for twenty pages. My recent home projects have resulted from the fact that I am getting ready to bring my grandmother’s pump organ to my house from my mother’s…and I will treasure it, too.

  7. You’re so right! Someone said: “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or–worse–stolen by burglers. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglers. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” I guess Jesus had it right, didn’t He? (That’s The Message Translation of Matthew 6:19-21, above) But the tempta-tion to stockpile here is constant and unrelenting, especially for us post-depression children. I’m still working on it. Gotta get rid of more stuff.

    Jane, thanks a bunch for the investment you continue to make in my life and the lives of my loved ones! You helped to make this bad week better. Love you lots! (Our bodies are back in MI, just waiting for our minds to catch up, as we unpack and sort through mail from the past two weeks.)

  8. You’re so right! Someone said: “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or–worse–stolen by burglers. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglers. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” I guess Jesus had it right, didn’t He? (That’s The Message Translation of Matthew 6:19-21, above) But the tempta-tion to stockpile here is constant and unrelenting, especially for us post-depression children. I’m still working on it. Gotta get rid of more stuff.

    Jane, thanks a bunch for the investment you continue to make in my life and the lives of my loved ones! You helped to make this bad week better. Love you lots! (Our bodies are back in MI, just waiting for our minds to catch up, as we unpack and sort through mail from the past two weeks.)

  9. Every day as I teach I use the sturdy stapler my beloved grandfather used for 30 years in his job. When I get home, I relax in a rocking chair that goes back in my family for 6 generations and I love the way the wear and tear on the arms matches where I put my arms- the connection is so strong to the women I’ve loved who rocked their babies in that chair.
    I gladly give away my stuff to people who need it, and as I approach 60, I find more and more that I need very little to be content and grateful for the people in my life. Wish I had understood more of this when I was 30!

  10. Every day as I teach I use the sturdy stapler my beloved grandfather used for 30 years in his job. When I get home, I relax in a rocking chair that goes back in my family for 6 generations and I love the way the wear and tear on the arms matches where I put my arms- the connection is so strong to the women I’ve loved who rocked their babies in that chair.
    I gladly give away my stuff to people who need it, and as I approach 60, I find more and more that I need very little to be content and grateful for the people in my life. Wish I had understood more of this when I was 30!

  11. I got a quasi-buddhist lesson on things a couple of years ago, when I moved back to California from Kansas. I had two choices: rent a small u-haul trailer and get rid of 90% of my stuff (including the nearly-new purple couch and loveseat and my beloved bed) or rent a larger one and sleep in the car on the drive out here. My choice was kind of made for me because I didn’t have anyone to help me pack my stuff into the trailer, whether it was large or small, and so I got rid of it. I pared down a two-bedroom house to what would fit in a 4×8 trailer. I cried when I sold the couch, and again when the bed wouldn’t fit.. but yanno.. I’ve been back here for two years now and I’m doing just fine without all that stuff. Stuff is so easily replaced.

  12. I got a quasi-buddhist lesson on things a couple of years ago, when I moved back to California from Kansas. I had two choices: rent a small u-haul trailer and get rid of 90% of my stuff (including the nearly-new purple couch and loveseat and my beloved bed) or rent a larger one and sleep in the car on the drive out here. My choice was kind of made for me because I didn’t have anyone to help me pack my stuff into the trailer, whether it was large or small, and so I got rid of it. I pared down a two-bedroom house to what would fit in a 4×8 trailer. I cried when I sold the couch, and again when the bed wouldn’t fit.. but yanno.. I’ve been back here for two years now and I’m doing just fine without all that stuff. Stuff is so easily replaced.

  13. “I’ve also discovered that certain things that once held great value of some kind for me no longer do so, and I can give them away or even discard them …”

    I have discovered that for myself and it surprises the heck out of me. I never thought I’d get to that point – and I am really glad that I have.

  14. “I’ve also discovered that certain things that once held great value of some kind for me no longer do so, and I can give them away or even discard them …”

    I have discovered that for myself and it surprises the heck out of me. I never thought I’d get to that point – and I am really glad that I have.

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