I was talking with friends at Toastmasters this week. We find solace as women, in sharing stories with one another; it helps us to find our peace with the way things are. I and two other Toastmasters are in the same situation at present. We’re wondering what to do with all of our parents’ beloved possessions.

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If it was up to my nephews, they’d “back a truck up to grandpa’s section and just throw everything in.” But, it’s different for me and my women friends.

Our parents’ things, their worldly treasures have emotional resonance.

We value their collections, their chosen artworks, however, we can’t keep all of our parents’ possessions. It would be impossible. So we’re left to walk the tightrope of this critical decision making on what to throw and what to keep.

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One friend was saying her mother had collected the old fashioned bread plates and had a hundred and twenty of the pottery bread bases hanging on the walls in her house. Now, the family is stuck with what to do with them.

My other friend has an elderly mother who is currently downsizing, while she herself is retiring to a small town. Her mother had a treasured full dinner set with gold trim, which she’d bought when she first arrived in New Zealand, in the 60’s. My friend can’t take the big dinner set with her into retirement. She’s going to offer them to her daughter but her daughter is into minimal living. So the freighted question has to follow? Re-cycle, re-use or reduce?

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It’s such a hard call, because it feels like you’re parting with your parents in a very real way, dispersing their belongings, which they had gathered over a lifetime, while they raised you. I want to keep everything!

But, then I would be repeating the same cycle of having loads and loads of possessions I neither use nor look at.

I think I’m with my friend’s daughter. I prefer the idea of minimalism.

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If there’s one thing that dad’s death has brought home for me, it’s that we have far too much “stuff” generally. My parents, god bless them, liked collecting cool things too, shells, rocks, driftwood, amber (kauri gum). Yet, the boxes upon boxes of these treasures were accompanied by hordes of acquisitions over the years, which they had stored in the garage and forgotten about.

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I think it was after emptying the tenth or twelfth trailer full of rubbish from my parent’s property and seeing all the old crockery, and broken appliances, and junk going into that landfill, that I felt, this is wrong. Over consumption is killing our environment.

It made me want to do better, to yearn for simplicity in my own life at home.

After coming home from the first working bee with my siblings at my parent’s house, I started spring-cleaning my house. I gave away boxes of unnecessary bits and bobs to charity. Because I had seen firsthand that we’re weighted down with belongings we never look at and never use.

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At the same time, I feel a great need to simplify primarily by consuming less.

I need to be far more discerning in my shopping choices, from now on. I want to buy quality brand products when I do need to buy things, and buy as little things we don’t need, as possible. That’s the goal, anyway.

Wish me luck!

How about you, have you felt the need to simplify?

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Talk to you later.

Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. E.e. Cummings

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Comments
  1. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    We’re going through collectibles and are going to sell most of them. I still have boxes to go through from our last move and never seem to catch up on shredding old papers. My mom has been cleaning out things the past five years, giving things to us if we want them, and if not, she offers it to another family member or donates the stuff to charity.

    I understand the sentimental attachment to your parents’ things. There are some items I have that meant a lot to my great-aunt and uncle, so I don’t want to part with those things. Not yet. I have a tea towel that belonged to my grandmother and it’s pretty worn out, but I’ll continue to use it until it’s completely worn out. I have some of her miniatures and a few other knick knacks, and I can’t bear to part with them because I want to hold onto those precious few belongings that were once a part of her life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yes, I’m with you. There are some things you can never bear to part with. I have a whole new collection now of bits and pieces that belonged to mum and dad distributed throughout the house and garden!

      However, one thing I’m a stickler for, if I’m bringing stuff into the house, then I have to throw/give away at least as many old things. So, I’ve had big clearing sessions so far. In between the working bees at my parents house, I’ve been sorting out boxes of our old gear. I’ve released at least as much as I’ve gained, thank goodness.
      If I can’t stay on top of that ratio, I start to feel overwhelmed with “stuff.”

      I am becoming far more of a minimalist in my old age! 🙂

      That’s a good idea to sell stuff, too.
      I’m preparing to sell my entire darkroom and set of camera equipment (from my days of hobby photography), because it’s sitting there, not being used. Good luck with selling your collectibles!

      Like

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