Due to health issues the old guy and I have made the difficult decision to downsize and sell our beloved house in the woods. With downsizing comes the job of sorting and parting with some of our stuff.
We began by creating piles labelled keep, donate, sell and garbage. After the first donations and garbage left our house the keep pile was sorted again, keep, donate, sell and garbage; then repeated again. I can’t believe how attached we are to stuff. Memories tug at our hearts.
When an item recalls a memory we are doomed to keep it. When we moved to the house in the woods our adult children questioned if we had a secret to share with them. The boxes labelled baby clothes and blankets seemed out-of-place. To avoid tossing these hand-made treasurers we divided them among the kids based on who the item had been knit or crocheted for, what they do with them I don’t want to know.
Recently I was chatting with some ladies at the Activity Centre and discovered that I am not alone in keeping the perennial ‘Mothers Day’ gift from school. One mother has a bar of soap, coloured with crayons, stashed away in her keep-sake box. One of my memorable gifts was a single lily of the valley planted in a Styrofoam cup. I lovingly planted it in the flower bed and mother nature took over. Several years later the flower bed was overrun with the prolific lily of the valley. When moving to the woods I dug a few roots to take with us. Today they have left the flower bed and are galloping wildly across the lawn. I have been told that I can’t take any to the new house. We will see.
I love books, real hold in your hand books and as a result I often buy old school readers at yard sales and flea markets. My most treasured book is a New Testament. The inscription inside was to a boy and from the Ballynahinch Sabbath School, printed M.DCCCLX (1860). This boy grew into the elderly gentleman I knew from my youth. Worn thin and tattered this book was on a twenty-five cent table at a flea market. It broke my heart that this gentleman’s daughter and grandchildren did not cherish this bible. Some day my children will be sorting through our stuff and wonder “What the heck?”
My ‘Algebra for Beginners’, 1862 may not hold as much love but I will still keep it.
Tablecloths, quilts, jewelry, sewing baskets, candle holders, old documents and the list goes on of items we will move. It seems that we are doomed to place significance on items depending on who or why they came to reside in our house.
My theory is that if people like us did not hold on to our treasurers; the museums would be empty.
I must return to the keep pile and once again sort keep, donate, sell, garbage. Eventually our stuff will be pared down to a manageable size.