Has anyone read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or seen her on Netflix? It’s a charming book and show – I highly recommend it! In a nutshell, you look at your “stuff” and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” If it does, you keep it and if it doesn’t you thank it and let it go.
Clean out your “stuff”. Good advice for both parents and adult children. Bailey and I had been looking for homes for about a year. We never really found the perfect fit. Close to the city, large private lot and no one parking on the street for a reasonable price just doesn’t exist. My mom decided she was ready to downsize and sell her house to us. It’s a great house –my grandparents built it back in 1968 and I’ve spent many Thanksgivings and weekends visiting. The other thing about this house is that it has tons of storage. Over the years, it has collected “stuff”. What kind of stuff? Here’s an abbreviated list:
- My scrap books dating back to middle school
- Both mine and my sister’s sorority composites spanning years 1994 – 2002
- My sorority paddle
- Barbies, a Barbie Dream House, Barbie pool, Barbie McDonalds…Barbie, Barbie, Barbie
- Stuff animals and dolls
- Doll furniture
- Books, books and more books
- No less than 50 picture frames and 20+ old framed art
- Things that were my grandparents my mom wasn’t ready give away (luggage, items from my Grandpa’s desk from the day he retired, dresses, glassware)
- An orange sofa from 1982
- Every piece of furniture my mom won’t let us get rid of because we “may need it one day”
Going through all this stuff now, I regret every weekend I couldn’t come over and help clean the basement out. Of course, I let it go until it’s time for me to move in. It’s comical really.
Besides the basement, there is an assortment of “things” Southern women acquired over the years that my mom wasn’t able to take with her to her new house. Between my mom, Grandma and I, there are no less than 6 china patterns, 4 sets of silver and a “variety” of glassware (a number will not fess up to). There are extensive collections of Mackenzie Childs, Majolica and Flow Blue porcelain. The kitchen – 3 mixers, 8 cookie jars, Tupperware and CorningWare not sold anymore. We’ve spent the last two months combing through every room and it all goes into 3 piles: Take – Leave – Donate.
Believe it or not, it’s been a fun experience (aside from the hassle of moving). I found stuff I hadn’t seen in years and had memories flooding back. There are little jelly jars all the grandkids used for catching lightening bugs where my Grandpa poked holes in the lids, so we could keep the bugs as “pets” and they got air. We found a “pot-roast colored” macramé cover for yard sticks. My mom and I were dying of laughter watching Bailey holding it up to his belt and drawing it like a sword. There is a stash of letters my Grandfather sent from WWII, flags he has kept over the years and some great furniture we’ve inherited.
I’m on round four of the clean out. We had 800-Got Junk and Sozo out before the move for pickups in December. For round three, we’ve had an antique dealer out to take and sell items at Hannah’s Antiques. The final round, at least for now, we have scheduled the Community Furniture Bank coming to get the rest of our “stuff”.
Important message to adult children: help your parents. Parents: don’t leave your adult children with things they will never want. Take time now to go through everything together. Here’s my advice on tackling this task:
- Make piles: Take – Leave – Donate
- Another pile: Sell – have a garage sale if you are up to it
- Don’t leave this task to the last minute
- Take it one day at a time - one area at a time
- Schedule a pick-up date with the organization you are donating to – this is setting a deadline for yourself
- 800-Got-Junk can be your friend
- You don’t have to get rid of everything at once. Make it a process so you don’t feel threatened you are going to miss it.
Don’t leave it until the last minute like me. Schedule The Great Clean Out of 2019 this year and spark some joy!