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kswl2

It Was Bound to Happen: The Backlash Against Ruthless De-Cluttering

kswl2
7 years ago

Comments (61)

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    7 years ago

    My mother had the benefit and the curse to know that her illness was terminal. She left her two daughters with a very neat home, mainly because she had moved a few times over the last 10 years of her life and things got purged.

    My sister and I took the few items we wanted from her home after she died, and then began to organize the rest for a Salvation Army pick up. We could only go to the home a few hours at a time because a heavy weight, almost physical, descended on our hearts every time we began going through closets. The smell of her perfume in the clothes brought back waves of memories that left us limp and drained. There was never any thought of a tag sale because the two of us would not have survived the event. With that thought in mind, my sister and I are purging our homes so this same event doesn't fall on the shoulders of those we love.

  • Fun2BHere
    7 years ago

    What a lovely article. Thank you for sharing it, KSWL. I'm sure no one I know will want my treasures, so the girls can hire an estate sale company and enjoy whatever proceeds result from the sale. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my pretties every day that I live and the too-small clothing and too-high-heeled shoes can languish behind closed closet doors until the next time I move. They don't weigh on me because I never even notice them.


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  • IdaClaire
    7 years ago

    This article was timely for me as well, as we are in the process of downsizing and will be taking a lot less STUFF with us to our new home. This isn't my first decluttering rodeo though, and it's gotten easier for me over the years. (My family and I held a combined auction to drastically pare down our possessions quite a few years ago, and got rid of literally TONS of things. It felt good, but yes - I managed to RE-collect a lot in the ensuing years.) I now have very little difficulty in discerning what's truly a meaningful treasure and what's merely a tchotchke. I'm actually rather amazed at how much crapola I've accumulated. I have a lot of things that are vintage and cute, but that I can easily live without.

    I couldn't quite tell if the author's insistence that her children take and live with her possessions was tongue-in-cheek or not. If not, I do think it's rather presumptuous. Not everyone is sentimental over grandmother's Fostoria and things of that sort, and I think that's fine.

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    I think the author is nuts :-)

  • awm03
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Both DH & I come from the working poor and have only a handful of trinkets from previous generations. There wasn't enough money to purchase things worth passing down, I guess. I do have rose bushes grown from cuttings from my great-grandmother's roses. That's a nice thought: roses from 1920s Kansas growing in 2015 Connecticut.

    So no family heirlooms, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the notion that my thrift shop/garage sale finds are extending the useful life & appreciation of someone's beloved possessions. A cast iron dutch oven that was some family's workhorse cookware back in the 19th century is still serving my family in the 21st century. (I rescued that abandoned bucket of rust from an old Massachusetts barn.) I truly hope another generation will find it as useful & as amazing as I do.

    I love Holly-Kay's sentiment: "...I imagine the joy that it brought to the original owner and in my mind thank them for sharing with me."

    eta: Perhaps it's the history buff in me, but IMO old, used goods are a lot more gratifying to purchase & own than new goods (except electronics).


  • ianna
    7 years ago

    unless one has a tower of London to keep their family heirlooms, one really has to learn to downsize and go minimal. I'm in the middle of downsizing is its a lot of work to get rid of materials. I wouldn't wish this stress on my daugther.


  • Kitchenwitch111
    7 years ago

    I cleaned out my old house when I downsized a year ago and I have PTSD every time I see the attic on the opening credits of Antique Roadshow, LOL

  • palimpsest
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Why shouldn't I have to take on the burden of going through my parents' and grandparents' belongings? Why shouldn't the next generation have to do the same when I die or am too old to do it myself? Are we supposed to be too weak for that somehow?

    I feel like I am clearly only the caretaker of some of the items that circulate through my family. I don't see a problem with it, in particular.

    The problem with relentless decluttering is that the outcome is almost certain that your descendants will have no family items of any particular value because most stuff starts out losing most of it's value, and is either viewed as something with utility or no particular utility and "old fashioned junk" by the original generation it belonged to and at least one generation after.

    And maybe that's how people want it. But, for example, I will probably never have to buy a tablecloth or cloth napkins in my lifetime, because we are using our mothers, our grandmothers and our great grandmothers. And I don't think a 40 year old tablecloth or 120 year old tablecloth take up any more room than some new tablecloth from Bed Bath and Beyond. Probably a little bit more because it's not paper thin and half polyester.

    Almost everything goes through a period where it's either good quality and dated or dated and "junk. And it's often the person who bought it who thinks it has the least importance.

  • robo (z6a)
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love old stuff and I wish I'd inherited more from my grandparents/great grandparents. Part of this is the lower/lower middle class roots of my family - truly not much was worth passing on. They probably mistakenly thought no one would be interested in other stuff of theirs. Plus my grandparents on one side (in addition to being quite poor) had 10 kids, many of whom I'm sure gladly accepted their discards for purposes of need.

    I'm a maximalist and will never have a perfectly decluttered home. For me there's a huge qualitative difference between old (non-designer) clothing/sneakers/plastic containers and my carefully hoarded treasures like handmade pottery, modest oil paintings, and creepy vintage tin toys. To some minimalists it would look the same, but one category has a lot more beauty and value to me than the other.

    I think managing stuff takes time (and maybe money) and adds stress to your life - so I can see how people who lead stressful lives would want to reduce their stuff. But I do take some pleasure in going through and touching all my stuff once a year and as soon as I purge a great amount, I seem to fill the empty spaces back up again so I guess I have a high stuff equilibrium point.

    I'm currently living in chaos with an unexpected adult roommate of a year (and ALL his independent household of crud) plus two long years in waiting to buy a cottage (hoarding all my old furniture in case this stupid cottage ever comes along). Even my maximalist tendencies are being exceeded, I can feel my home bursting at the seams, and it's quite demotivating. I haven't broken down and gotten a storage unit yet since I still hold out hope the roomate will be gone in a couple of weeks.

    kswl2 thanked robo (z6a)
  • palimpsest
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't think that most things that get passed down or "through" families necessarily started out having a particularly higher value than average for whatever sort of item they are. My father spent his teenage years in a house without running water and his parents lived in it until 1965 when he built them a new house. And we still have items from that side of the family that are intersting or useful. None of the labels on the table linens we use from earlier generations say "Pratesi" on them. Some of my mother's actually say "Sears*Best".

  • melle_sacto
    7 years ago

    Doesn't it partly come down to space and storage options? I love older things, and I do have some special sentimental passed-down items...not of great value, particularly, but special memories nonetheless. But our home is SMALL.

  • Nothing Left to Say
    7 years ago

    I think there is some value to some family heirlooms. I have my great grandmothers secretary for example. And some family dishes Not very valuable in terms of money. But I'm glad to have them.


    But there is just no reason to keep kool whip containers. And as another example I frankly couldn't imagine anyone ever being interested in my high school year books--I appeared in most of them two or three times total. I recycled them about a year ago when my parents shipped them to me (they didn't ask first if I wanted them) and was relieved that I didn't have to find a place to store them. Many things my mother has simply don't get used but for once or twice a year and wouldn't be used in my house at all. For example, I don't use table linens. My mother has multiple table clothes and uses them at most twice a year. So each table cloth is only being used once every other year or so on average. And I will never use them. Why pass them on to me so I can store them indefinitely (apparently in a warehouse)? Why not send them on to someone else who will use them?


    I don't think everyone needs to live with two outfits and one pair of shoes and nothing else. But the idea of expecting children to warehouse large quantities of stuff? I hope that was a jest, because if it wasn't, what a burden to hand down.

  • runninginplace
    7 years ago

    A topic I ponder frequently-within the past couple of years we inherited the house of a friend who died almost entirely un-connected: an adopted only child who never married with parents long gone, reclusive and ill for over a decade so very few people left in his life at the end. I know I'm not the only one who has had to go through someone's house after death and especially someone who for whatever reason couldn't, wouldn't and didn't do any clearing out.

    It is a monumental and almost impossible to describe ordeal. The sheer amount of stuff to go through, and the sheer uselessness of so much of it. Even those items people are insisting are sentimental or useful *to them* are going to be someone else's nightmare to deal with. No offense but a piece of someone's ship (I didn't even know who Thomas Lipton was)...after you are gone who other than a Lipton descendant is going to crave that? And all the other pieces of a life; it is part of one life but rarely is it part of anyone else's.

    The ghost of my future ordeal looms also-my mother in law. She's another who has an entire house full of stuff, stuff she is sentimental about but which is utterly useless to anyone else. My dread arises from the fact that her son, my husband, is consumed to an unhealthy degree by the 'you can't throw this away it's useful/sentimental' mania. This is a guy who has tried to bring home strangers' award plaques he rescued from garbage piles. I can only imagine the battles we will be having when he tries to salvage his mother's entire household, because it isn't coming over here.


  • rococogurl
    7 years ago

    When our Mom passed my youngest brother cleared out her apartment and boxed things up that he felt the rest of us needed to go through. When DH and I visited, my step sister came over and we opened the boxes. There she found albums with photos of a father she had never met; someone she had once been told was dead. Additionally, there were photos (unidentified) of his family and my sister had no way of knowing who anyone was. Traumatic is an understatement.

    A woman I know went through her father's study when he died and found letters revealing an affair. Like Bridges of Madison County. It happens.

    There is stuff. And there is stuff. I'm certainly not ever going to get down to 2 pairs of shoes. Or even 20. There are possessions and there is clutter. I don't consider them to be the same.

    But I'm not going to stick DD with the job of clearing up after us. I just don't feel it's fair.

  • runninginplace
    7 years ago

    And of course then we have stories like this one and it keeps the whole topic from being simple or black/white!

  • palimpsest
    7 years ago

    I don't think I would read letters that were not addressed to me or were addressed to one of my parents, or from my parents to someone else. Those would get shredded unless the sender was Abraham Lincoln or something like that, and even then I might have someone else look at it first.

    Some things are a burden, some things are a pain, some things are even traumatic, but I think if my parents are putting me through those things after they die, it's probably not anything worse than I put them through when they were alive.

    We went through about 98% of everything and my father is still alive, he will be 91 soon, and he participated, which helped. But I am glad my dad did not get rid of all my mother's belongings wholesale when she died, and I am glad she didn't make a unilateral decision to get rid of things that were in her possession before she died. Because I know my father was surprised, and she would have been surprised what the things are that we, and their grandchildren wanted to keep (and what we didn't ).

  • duluthinbloomz4
    7 years ago

    Having gone through this with relatives who kept every scrap of paper and personal possession since the '29 Crash, a sense of value (or not) develops to what, in its accumulated state, is just pretty much stuff. Fortunately, I had access to people who knew jewelry, watches, bona fide antiques, etc. and there were the childless deceased's nieces and nephews and surviving siblings who wanted a keepsake or something they could use. Off premises estate sales took care of the rest.

    That was all so much easier than dealing with my own accumulations. I am much less sentimental now as I age - and I have no children. I inherited this house fully furnished and accessorized and, naturally, added my things to it when I took over. So, a lot of extraneous things are routinely going to the local charities. There have been a few trips to the dump also. I am determined not to leave a mess or boxes full of papers and those head scratching "what the heck?" things for someone else to deal with.

  • TxMarti
    7 years ago

    I loved that, thanks for posting it. I love satire.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    7 years ago

    Oh, I think letters are treasures. They are bits of history. They open a window into past times. After her death when cleaning out the house, my dad burned all the letters he wrote to my grandmother when he was in North Africa and Italy during World War II. I couldn't believe it when he told me. He didn't burn them to keep them private, but because "who would want to read them?" Well, I would have.

    I have all the letters my DH wrote to me when he was in Vietnam and I suspect my son will enjoy reading them someday. They show a side that he does not often allow people to see.

    People who feel strongly about not having their letters read after they die usually destroy them. Martha Washington did. Of course, I wish she hadn't!

  • palimpsest
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    One of my great Aunts moved abruptly to NYC as a single woman right around the Crash, then eloped on a Freighter to the Yucatan and married her husband in Mexico. He was apparently promiscuous, she left, contracted dysentery and nearly died on the way home, and divorced him The whole drama is played out in letters, telegrams, photos and legal documents, all packed into a little suitcase. The family all knew the basic story, it was no secret, --and I had seen some of the pictures-- but certain facts were determined by the documentation. One of her sisters insisted that they had never been married to begin with. That was kind of fascinating. But I don't think I would read letters that were found secreted, and were say, love letters from one of my parents to another.

  • roarah
    7 years ago

    My parents are not hoarders but do have a large home and both have family heirlooms and I think the act of going thru their possesions after their passing will actually give me a welcome distraction to help escape my grief. If they were to do it now to spare me that responsibility they would be robbing me of one very important opportunity to get to know them in a different way and one last chance to remember my orginal home.

  • rococogurl
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As an aside, the woman who found the letters is writing a book about her family based, in part, on the find. Apparently it was a fancy family.

    Letters are history, as are photos, I agree. Think of the Civil War documentary Ken Burns did. Most all of the narrative came from letters from soldiers on both sides.

    Thanks for the chuckle marti. I'm afraid it is unintended satire, however. The writer was an important shelter mag editor at one point. The Times doesn't let that sort of thing come from just anyone with a thought about cleaning the house.

  • desertsteph
    7 years ago

    " Of course these things are sentimental to me, but will they be of any interest to our kids?"

    Things like this I'd keep. Make a nice, neat box/bin of them. You never know what your kids will cherish when you are gone. Even down to gkids. We inherited a ton of things like that when my MIL died. I cherish them - more so for my kids and the family history. I've kept that type of thing. Some of the things I read thru from my Xs family were real treasures. a news clipping and picture of the business his gdad built in our home town, another news clipping of his mom at their kitchen table promoting Easter Seals. I've had that table in every home since I was a young bride. My X and his brother crayoned on that table top as little tykes. When I redid the top (mega yrs ago) I carefully preserved their crayon marks for future generations. I don't know about my dd but my son is very interested in family history items.

  • rosesstink
    7 years ago

    The things that people (non-hoarders) keep is very personal and those of us who have to deal with it after they've gone just have to accept that. I have cleared out the homes of several relatives. Why did mom keep every card she received? I have no idea but it was important to her so I didn't resent having to deal with them. I found some treasures (to me) in the backs of cupboards. A decluttering of everything not used in two, ten, forty years would have gotten rid of those things. I'm glad my parents didn't do that.

    On the other hand, a friend of mine is so sentimental about every little thing her loved ones possessed that she has a hard time letting go of even the most mundane things. Her parents would have done her a favor by at least paring down the every day objects so that she wouldn't have to, as an example, decide which of twenty bottle openers she can bear to part with.

  • Butternut
    7 years ago

    My mother just did this 2 years ago when my grandmother needed to sell her house and move into a senior apartment. It was even more difficult with my grandmother by her side, asking how many anchovy can keys she could keep :) Of course, now mom's basement is full of the stuff from Grammie's basement that neither could stand to part with.

  • robo (z6a)
    7 years ago

    Pal-in my case it was more like no table linens and cheap furniture that wore out quickly and was used to the utmost: my grandfather's gift to my grandmother upon their marriage was to get all her teeth pulled. No just poor but, like, poor. That said on the other side it was a little more genteel but nouveau genteel, my great grandfather was a sharecropper but my grandfather got some nicer stuff (Sears quality) in the 60s and his mother took up quilting. For some reason only red and white quilts...

  • amck2
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Funny how the interest in some things seems to skip a generation. My sister and I didn't want the giant wooden spoon and fork set that was on the wall in my parents' dining area for decades. But to their grandkids - millennials - they not only held sentimental value but were considered retro-cool. The old record collection - our kids refer to as "vinyl" - is highly coveted. They also wanted some of the small pieces of furniture my parents bought when they married in the early '50's. These weren't designer pieces, but they were well cared for and mix nicely with IKEA.

  • texanjana
    7 years ago

    Speaking of letters, my husband's paternal grandmother discovered a decades long affair by his grandfather after he died. She found boxes and boxes of love letters. I can only imagine her pain and suffering-they were married almost 70 years. However, some part of me can't help but think he wanted them to be found. Or maybe he just forgot about them.

  • Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 4b
    7 years ago

    joanie, if I had even a hand full of any of any of my ancestor's wedding stuff I would be thrilled. They/we did the dumpster thing 30 years ago. I regret it so much.


  • cpartist
    7 years ago

    My Mother passed away last year. I never want to leave that much stuff for my kids to have to sort through. As it is, I know I have too much stuff. My sister is having a tag sale in a few weeks and I'm purging a lot. What doesn't get sold will get sent to Goodwill and I'll be happy about it. How much stuff do we all need?


  • hhireno
    7 years ago

    While cleaning out my Dad's place, I found a copy of a letter he wrote to a company following up on a product he ordered. We didn't find any personal letters, thank goodness, because I wouldn't have wanted to read those. Everything we found was financial or business correspondence and looking through that didn't seem as though we were invading his privacy as we decided what to keep or discard.

    While reading this particular letter, I was shaking with silent laughter & couldn't speak and my sisters thought I was crying. The letter, a joke, started off as a I haven't received by order yet but then goes off on a wild, hysterical tangent.

    There is a person mentioned, Mr. Reynolds, in less than flattering terms in the letter. As we were at the airport to fly home, there was an announcement "Will Mr. Reynolds please pick up a white courtesy phone." That set us all off in hysterical laughter all over again. What were the odds the same surname would be announced while we were there? We were all together the whole time so one of us could not have set that up announcement.

    We all have a copy of the letter and sometimes read it aloud when we get together. Its my best keepsake from him because it reminds me he was much funnier person than we normally got to see.

  • anele_gw
    7 years ago

    I am a fan of Konmari and have been making swift progress. I think the issue here is that people get stuck on sentimental items, when, for most of us, sentimental items comprise the smallest category of items that cause clutter.

    Some families do, indeed, have many treasured items. But, one would presume that the items had some sort of value, at least in that they were made well enough to withstand use throughout the generations. Should those be discarded? Certainly not for the sake of simply having less, and only if they don't bring joy.


    But, I would suspect those families are not the norm (they may be here but this forum does not accurately represent the US). Most have more typical items that interfere with and do not enhance daily life.


    Konmari isn't about having less for the sake of having less. There is no minimum, no maximum. It is a personal journey to commit to living with and caring for only items that give one joy. How can anyone argue with that?

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    7 years ago

    Maybe I missed this in the above comments, but this decluttering 'craze' lately seems to cause some people as much anguish & anxiety as the clutter ( I know someone like that, BTW.) I think that was addressed in that poetic article right @ the start. For some, it's just another distraction that should make one 'happy' - like the opposite to 'retail therapy'; another trendy thing that you're supposed to be doing because it's cool. And what if it's not achieved 'properly'?

    I agree that there's certainly an argument to be made that learning to be comfortable in one's own life - messy or not - is the best route to inner peace & happiness.

  • melle_sacto
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Most have more typical items that interfere with and do not enhance daily life

    Well-written anele, exactly my struggle. Gives me stress to see it everywhere in the house, gives me stress to think about getting rid of it.

  • kswl2
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Anele, I have a problem with it because nasal spray does not bring me joy, and yet strangely, I think its wrong to discard it. That's an obvious example, but the line gets blurrier as you get older and your responsibilities and/ or imfirmities ncrease. The joy of some things decreases while their necessity increases. I think Kon Mari gives the advice of a young woman and because of her age it is equal parts ignorance and presumption. She is the latest in a long line of organizational "gurus" who come and go.

    And I did buy the book, have read some of it, and have read so many articles about her and her method I am sick of it already :-) The opinion article was funny and timely, and contained at least a few grains of truth.

    Adding, we are revising our estate planning and there is not much joy in holding some things that must be held for future generations, but we have a responsibility to them and there it is.

  • Lavender Lass
    7 years ago

    I didn't see any article (not a subscriber) but my grandmother saw both sides. She saved heirlooms for the family and handed some down to me, .because no one else wanted them. She said there's always one 'saver' in each generation.....and I was it! LOL So, good or bad, it fell to me.

    But, she also said she had to go through HER mother's stuff....and it was a mess! Too much junk, not anything people would want, very difficult at the time (due to her mom just passing away) and being out of town. She was determined she would NOT do that to her kids.

    Most 'stuff' only means anything to the owner. Is it fun to read through letters or look through collections....maybe, when you have plenty of time and you're doing it with the person WHO OWNS THEM. Not after they're dead. IMHO, it's better to downsize while you can, rather than pass it all on to someone else to deal with.

    That being said...I'm all for pretty, functional and collections that make you happy. But, let the family know....everything in these two rooms has no intrinsic value to anyone but me. And tell show/tell them, while you're still alive to share the stories :)


  • anele_gw
    7 years ago

    Kswl, re: nasal spray does not bring me joy--it may! For example, if I've ever forgotten my toothbrush, I quickly grow to cherish my toothbrush again as soon as it is reunited with me or replaced. Perhaps NEEDING the nasal spray does not bring one joy, but the spray itself does.


    Melle, re: being stressed, I think it is important to be in the right mindset when you are in the process of deciding what to keep. Start with easy items like clothing, and move from there.


    Konmari method suggests thanking items for their service, which sounds so silly, but it helps have closure and appreciate what we have had.

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    We downsized, we not only de-cluttered, we de-amassed, we are thrilled with the results. In my opinion, anyone who gets "joy" from a bottle of nasal spray is going to turn into a hoarder :-)

  • kswl2
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    The fallacy is accepting the qualitative measure as valid. One may not find joy in nasal spray, but choose to keep it because they find fewer drips with it. That's my entire beef with her method: the standard is absurd.

  • melle_sacto
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I do have the Kon Marie book, an audio version. I like her suggestion to thank the item, expressing that appreciation makes it easier to emotionally let go. Clothing isn't the biggest issue for me, although I haven't adopted her folding practices ;-) I guess my biggest struggle is unfinished projects laying around, and cluttery items that don't have a home (can't necessarily group them into a particular category otherwise).


    On the subject of nasal spray, wouldn't the joy of symptom relief count as bringing joy? Once it's empty, expired, or extraneous the associated emotion might no longer be joy but be thankfulness?


    We had relatives from Japan visit last year. I wondered what they thought of our cluttered, "spacious" American homes ;-)

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    7 years ago

    Wanted to add that I believe there might be a distinction between 'decluttering' & 'purging'...?

    Has anyone checked out the Organizing The Home forum?

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    I agree Carol, that's why I said we both "de-cluttered" and "de-amassed".

  • rococogurl
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As usual, I'm with you sjhockeyfan.

    Konmari "method" sounds insane to me. I'm going to say goodbye to a dress I can't remember buying?

    On another note, pat me on the back. I had a kitchen full of heavy French hammered copper cookware that gave me 40 years of great service. I had 5 big pieces retinned and polished for DD and DSIL who are thrilled to have it. I did keep a few of the smaller items I do use frequently. Expect I'm indulging in "reno therapy".

  • anele_gw
    7 years ago

    Kswl, I think of it the way Melle does. The relief of symptoms gives me joy; an empty, ineffective, or otherwise useless bottle does not.

    To be honest, though, I don't get caught up in the details. I am just finding that the attitude of swiftly choosing items to keep is working for me. I used to use Fly Lady and I always thought, someday. Someday when I don't have young children, I can do it. Well, I've had young children for 13 years so I have felt stuck. Finally, I feel total freedom to say goodbye-but be appreciative, decisive, and guilt-free. I have never had hoarder tendencies but it's been a matter of logistics. Now I feel that everything gets taken care of quickly. My progress is the fastest it's ever been,

    Rococogirl, nowhere in my house do I own things I don't remember buying. I don't buy very much.

    Melle, as for the unfinished items-- if they bring you joy, keep. Period. The other etc. items can be saved for last. I am not following the book exactly by any means. If you get stuck, move to an easier area or category.

    My mom had a friend from Japan visit. Her friend lives comfortably and has traveled extensively, but she did mention that my mom's relatively modest house was huge by Japanese standards. I am sure Japanese people would wonder how we might accumulate so much even with our larger homes, as you said!

  • rococogurl
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    anele -- LOL. I'm a lot older than you! I don't buy much these days but in the past I bought too much. I look at what's still around now and can't imagine what I was thinking. It's quite odd and it should make it easier to get rid of things but somehow it doesn't. As you say, I get stuck. And you're right, I should just switch to another category.

  • gsciencechick
    7 years ago

    Saw this house on RetroRenovation. By many people's standards it's cluttered--especially for a modern house, but wow, it looks lived in. How do you strike this balance is key. I still have too much stuff/clutter at my home and at my work office. In the process of summer "purges."

    http://retrorenovation.com/2015/05/29/matt-lyda-kahn-eichler-house/

    My mother was great at throwing out or donating things that no longer served their purpose. Seriously, that was the best "gift" she left us in that we did not have to hire dumpsters after she passed away like too many people have to do.

  • Lavender Lass
    7 years ago

    Gsciencechick- I like the pots hanging up and the utensils. They're functional...and easy to reach. The books are okay, too. I wouldn't want the upper shelf lined with chotskies :)


  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/
    7 years ago

    gsciencechick what a great home! Easy to not appear cluttered or crazy with the large amount of square footage.

  • funkycamper
    7 years ago

    I usually hang out in Kitchens but just popped in here to find this. Interesting discussion. Personally, I think the author is a selfish witch to want to burden her children with all this.

    I'm on year 5 of attempting to curate the possessions my parents left me, determine what has sentimental value and actual value, which things to keep forever to pass down to my children (with their input of what they would want), and sell or donate the rest. My house is not my own due to all the boxes. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. It is taking me forever because it's emotionally overwhelming and the sheer huge number of items takes time.

    And all this is after two garage sales of all the items that were clearly not sentimental or valuable. And two family work days in which they have already taken the items they want or have room for now.

    As I go through these items, I'm photographing items and scanning photos/letters/documents with the idea of creating photo books full of the photos and family stories/history. I will leave these for my children. I am also trying to value items that I intend to keep and will leave my children a notebook with photos of the items so they know as much as possible about the specifics of the item (value, date/country of origin, history of why it's in the family, etc.). This will make it easier for them to make decisions when the time comes. My mom would periodically tell me these things but even though I requested she write it all down numerous times, she never did. I'm not sure how accurate my memory is so I'm struggling to do the best I can on this but it would have been so much more accurate had she done it herself.

    Due to having to deal with this mess, again, i would never burden my children with this. I bought my parent's home. I have the luxury of time and space to do this. It is highly likely my children won't. Neither live locally. My son works overseas and will likely remain an expatriate. They will probably need to make quick decisions that would result in the loss of family history if I don't get this done.

    In the end, my goal is to leave them with several different printed photobooks with as much family history and stories as I can gather and include. These will likely be divided into:

    • maternal history from great-great grandparents to when my mom married my dad
    • fraternal history from great-grandparents to when he married my mom
    • my parents life together
    • my life before marrying my husband
    • my husband's life before he married me
    • our life together up to the point where I actually complete this project and create the book

    I have also gathered up and organized all the school papers, art projects, and such I kept from their childhoods and will create a book of photos and stories about them from birth to high school graduation. I'm doing this more for their children's enjoyment (if either ever have any) than for their own but I'm sure they will enjoy that, too.

    Once these are done, I'll print three copies, one for each of my kids and one for me. I will also gift my nieces the books about their grandparents.

    My goal is that they will simply need to look in the book listing the items in the house to determine what they want to keep (and then they'll know everything possible about the item), and be able to make quicker decisions about what's worth trying to sell to collectors or eBay or whatever, what is garage sale, and what items should really be donated to a couple of our local museums. If they're not in a position to keep any or most of the actual items themselves, they'll have the books. That's the most important thing to me anyway. It's not the items themselves but, rather, the family stories and history behind them.

    I just hope I live long enough to complete these projects! So very time consuming.

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