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A Thank You to My Parents – Because I Don’t Want Your Stuff

The seasons have changed for my parents. They are at the time in their life that are selling their home to live half the year in Florida and half the year at our cottage on the lake.

Whenever someone has a big life transition especially selling a home it can be really stressful.

The amount of stuff that one accumulates within their time at that home is astounding!

So for my parents it was their time to purge and downsize. And for this I am so THANKFUL.

Years ago when I was a Professional Organizer I had seen it all. Many of the older generations keeping their “stuff” just to hold on to it because it was theirs. It wasn’t giving them joy, in fact most of the items were stuffed in a box, put away for the day “the kids can get it when I die.”

The thing is…your kids probably don’t want a lot of the items you think they will want. Your China, your entire collection of spoons from around the world, the stuff that was passed to you and sat in box for all these years. They have no memories connected to those items because they were in a box.

What we do want, is stuff that will bring US joy, happy memories, things that we will use, things that we will display in our own home to be cherished. Not just passed from generation to generation to be stuffed in a closet.

So if you are part of the generation that just doesn’t need the “things” now, wants to downsize, it’s time to go through your things but WITH your children or grandchildren.

Or if you have parents/grandparents that are in that season of life ask them to start going through their items and learn about them.

My Grandmother used to collect salt and pepper shakers. These were some favorites.

I’m giving my parents a big thank you.

I’m thanking them because we started going through those totes and boxes that they had stored away of my Grandparents and Great Grandparents stuff together.

Doing this together NOW, instead of when they are gone, I got to learn a little about each item. Who it belonged to, how was it used, how old was it. I also found a lot of items that were displayed in my home growing up that I had memories of seeing or playing with.

If it never happened and I was left to sort through their belongings after they had passed I would not know any of this. I would be overwhelmed and grieving my parents at the same time.

I took what I wanted and my parents either donated, sold or got rid of the rest.

My Mom’s first sewing kit, it will be given to my daughter when she learns to sew.

Now my parents when they visit my home, they can see the items actually being displayed, being used and cherished instead of packed away.

Plus, with the items they have sold they can use that money to continue on their season of life of traveling and crossing things off their bucket list.

Old kitchen utensils used to be displayed in my childhood home, now displayed in our dining room.

So Moms and Dads and Grandparents and Great Grandparents, now is the time to start unpacking those boxes of “stuff” you have stacked in your closet thinking “well my kids can deal with it when I am gone” and tell your kids about the items. Tell them your memories. If you’d like to pass it on ASK them if they want it. If they don’t want it, it’s okay. It’s just stuff. The emotional connection is not in the things, it’s in the memory. And that is something that won’t be forgotten.

If you need ideas on how to display you sentimental items check out this post.

A Jar of small sentimental items creates a beautiful display.

OzarkMtn Nana

Sunday 20th of January 2019

Take pictures, print them and put them in a scrapbook with notes about the items. Great project for retirees that family will cherish and pass down. Much easier to store a scrapbook with family history notes than the items.


Wednesday 13th of June 2018

I agree that going through things WITH them while they are still here is the best thing to do. it is a lot of work but you won't regret it, ever! I found boxes of old cards and letters I had saved and I'm going through them and Mom has been right there with me to enjoy reading them again. I have scanned in some to cousins who have enjoyed seeing those old letters too. but now, they are out of my house but so many of us got to fun with them. I even tore off the stamps and sent them to a friend who wanted them.

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