The topic of conversation this morning between Chris and I is clutter. In a house of 14 people, clutter is more of a problem for him than it is for me. One advantage I have is that when I get rid of something, there isn’t someone behind me bringing in more stuff. But that problem is directly related to the stage of his family life.
I realized as we talked that my clutter problem has a different dimension than his. When I look at an item, I ask myself whether it would be of any value to my descendents. I am not talking about things like lamps or dishes that could get a grandchild started with setting up housekeeping. I am talking about things that tell part of mine or Bernie’s life stories.
As I sit here in my living room I can look around at three areas above my head, shelves deliberately built into this house to hold memorabilia that I have been hanging on to for years. They are above my head because they can be seen, but no one can see the dust that they are accumulating. Clever, huh?
What Chris and I were talking about this morning is the problem that my family may have to face when I kick the bucket. First of all, they won’t be able to tell where these items came from or why I saved them. In other words, do they actually say something about Bernie or about me? I have a rocking chair that my grandmother rocked me in when I was a little girl, for example.
I pointed out to Chris a small bronze statue of two children on a teeter-tauter, which he could see from where he sat on the couch. “I was given that as a gift when I retired from parenting education,” I said. There is really no way of knowing whether that would have meaning to a grandchild in the future but they certainly wouldn’t know what it meant to me if I don’t make some effort to communicate. So, I think, one thing I need to do is go through my stuff and make labels. My mother-in-law did some of that. It was useful when we later had to decide what to do with all of the stuff that came into our house when she moved into the nursing home.
I’d be interested in knowing how others have dealt with all of their stuff accumulated over the years. The kids are gone. At least I can count on the idea that if something goes out the front door, something else isn’t coming in the back door.