I do empathize with you. Going through your mom's things is tough. I know.
I had a thought while reading about your dad's letter. Is that something your mom might enjoy you bringing to read to her in the nursing home?
It took me many years to let go of things that belonged to my deceased 2nd husband. I do not regret that it took so long. I still come across more things of his that I am not quite ready to let go of, and some that I can now let go of, quite easily and that is fine. He died 22 years ago and I have been married to Hubby for 10 years now (we just had an anniversary on Sept. 11th.)
Going through my mom's things after her death was not easy, and still there are some things that I find are emotionally charged. She made us go through many of her things before she died, with her making distribution decisions and telling stories about some of it. But we didn't get through everything before she could no longer do that. It was tough when she said she wanted to do that, but it was much harder after she was gone.
You're doing very well, it sounds like. Keep up the good work.
Loving v5, but of course, still getting used to it.
Post by joyinvirginia on Sept 24, 2009 0:06:23 GMT -5
Thanks for the encouragement, Eagle.
Today's topic: JOY DECIDES THAT SCARLETT O'HARA HAD THE RIGHT IDEA
In one of the most recent boxes from mom's house, I found a pile of old Christmas cards, jumbled in a big plastic bag along with old catalogs, old phone bills, a few photos, old newspaper clippings. Many of the old Christmas cards in this particular bag are from friends of my parents who I also knew well, from when I lived at home during high school and college. Seeing the handwriting of someone I knew well, who died 15 or 20 years ago, is emotional. I can't throw these away yet, so I added those cards to the Saved Card and Letter Pile.
I did find old Christmas cards that were sent to me and DH and kids from last year, year before, and THESE I can part with! DD works with art group that can use old Christmas cards as part of crafts, and I gave her all I could find so she can take to work. Maybe in a few days, or weeks, I will be able to part with the old Christmas cards from my mother's as well, and just save a few special ones.
I did open downstairs bathroom closet to check it out, and pulled out a paper bag from the bottom. I found mail in there that was 2 and 3 years old, mostly mail dealing with my mother's stuff. Things that should have been in a filing cabinet. I went thru it quickly and pulled out mail I can safely recycle and discard. The books covering Medicard Part D for 2007 and 2008 are no longer needed! The somewhat lighter bag went back into the closet, I was not feeling in the mood for filing.
Finding this bag was disturbing for me. I have tried really hard the last few years to avoid stashing stuff in paper bags and stuffing it away. For the first 5 years or so that we lived in this house, I had a literal wall of boxes and bags full of all kinds of paper stuff primarily. It was hidden behind a screen but I hated having so much mess, and I had no idea what was in all the boxes and bags. I HATE finding a bag that proves I still do this! I HATE finding a bag that I stuffed with miscellaneous STUFF, because that is EXACTLY what my mother did. Especially as I am now having to go thru HER bags of miscellaneous and mixed up stuff. I just have to continue to plug along and try to take care of some of MY problem areas while I deal with her stuff too.
It is important to keep working, but also important to take a break when needed. I was tired when I got home from work today, so instead of more sorting, I loaded and ran the dishwasher, concentrated on dinner, then watched TV with DH and youngest DD, then got online for a while before bed.
Like Scarlett O'Hara, I think "tomorrow is another day", and I'll worry about that Pile O'Stuff tomorrow. Fiddle-dee-dee!
I think you are doing really well because you are incorporating (sp) a lot of thought into this and dealing in a rational manner- for example re the cards you said they are keepers for now which implies that with time you will let go--- and that is ok-- I really admire you continued work and yes- tomorrow is a new day-- when I am dealing with papa hubby's things I originally kept almost all but now I am finding things that I can let go of-- today it was book he had been reading and he has no name in it and I decided that I can share this with the church-- time does help us to let go...... and there is no limit on that time. I really admire your look and this blog as it has help my thinking--
It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."
Post by joyinvirginia on Sept 26, 2009 0:17:34 GMT -5
MY DD HAS STUFF IN THE PILE O'STUFF TOO!
Plugging along tonight. I spent an hour on the decreasing Pile O'Stuff tonight, did about 30 minutes last night. Last night I found that a box and bag on the dining room table belonged to oldest DD, left over from when she came home from college in June! Bag was full of plastic containers and cups, which got put in dishwasher, and box was her Magic Bullet stuff. She does use her Magic Bullet - it is a small blender - but she just uses a small part, which is stored in kitchen cabinet. The box with remainder of the parts is now living on top of the big freezer, along with the chocolate fountain that I use once or twice a year. Moving those two things from the table freed up LOTS of space on dining room table, where I can unpack boxes and see what I have.
Tonight I got a bag of books and photos and letters sorted out, found some really cute photos of me as a baby and my DDs as babies, in photo books my mother had. More letters to add to the Card and Letter Tote Bag. Opened a box which is VERY slow going, full of lots of small things from my old bedroom and knick-knacks and assorted stuff from my mother's.
I have started one more donation box for church, with some Christmas items, some Valentine items, small gift books, note cards, candle holders, ceramic figurines, children's gloves, pair of sandals I don't wear, things like that. The DDs have come up with three large garbage bags of clothing to donate or sell. DDs will go thru this on the weekend to determine what might be good enough to sell at a local teen consignment shop, and what we should just donate to church sale.
I am coming across some things we now have duplicates of, that I don't want to get rid of. Nice sets of measuring cups, some nice pots and pans, things like that. I will be packing up a box, clearly labeled, of these things and storing in the attic in a designated, easy-to-get-to spot for future use by DDs when they move out eventually.
I am really making progress, and I am very, very happy about it. I have to do a work activity on Saturday, and I have to visit my mother on Sunday. That will limit time available to work on this project this weekend. I can still do a short period of time. That actually works best, as I get tired of doing the sorting task after about 30 min. Gotta plan those rest periods, or at least switch to another household task.
I hope everyone has a productive weekend, with time for fun and rest and relaxation.
Post by joyinvirginia on Sept 28, 2009 12:19:55 GMT -5
THE STORY OF THE GLOBE - OR I got the Whole World OUT OF MY TUB!!!
One day when I posted about "Things that I need to do something about... eventually", I shared with the board that I had a globe of the world in my bathtub. Another poster responded that it made them start singing "I've got the whole world - in my tub!" That made me laugh a LOT.
Here is THE STORY OF THE GLOBE. When I was about 10 or 11, my parents gave me a National Geographic Globe of the World. On its own STAND. It was IMPORTANT. I liked it. I used it. My dad traveled all over the world and I could find places he had been on it. It sat in my room at home for years. When I got married, and we eventually moved into a bigger house, my folks wanted me to take whatever furniture I wanted from their house. My mom and dad REALLY wanted to get rid of that globe! The DH and I thought it was nice, tho outdated, but we had a place for it and to our house it came.
Fast forward about 20 years. The kids do NOT want the globe in their rooms. Kids use this new-fangled device called the internet, imagine! But I don't want to give it away, after all my folks gave it to me when I was a kid. Globe lived in computer room/ office in corner until one day - Leg falls off the stand! Horror! And the computer room is getting awfully crowded with STUFF. It has become the catch-all room, don't know what to do with something, throw it in there! So - I don't want the globe to get broken, I will find someplace to nicely display it, but ... not right now. So there is empty space in ... the bathtub!
Before you go jumping to conclusions about my personal hygiene, here is the setup at our house: The two DDs have a bathroom they share and keep clean. The DH and I have a master bath with a large tub and a separate shower. It seemed like a good idea at the time to get a large tub, but it takes a long time to fill the thing and the hot water usually runs out before it is completely full. So we actually DON'T use the tub very much, and it has become Handy Place to Stash Things when I am having a get-together, or when I am cleaning out my closet or the bedroom, or I don't have an official Home for something.
My church is having BIG white elephant/ bake/ craft sale and I am still working on donations. Saturday evening DH and I loaded up the car again with 4 large garbage bags of clean and gently used clothes - mostly from the DDs, they are decluttering closets so they can buy new stuff! DH and I were both in the bathroom, and I looked at the tub, and the globe, and said "It's been there for six months or so, I suppose I really should get rid of this thing, don't you think?" My wise and patient and wonderful DH said "If you have left anything in a bathtub for six months and not used it, you really don't need it."
My 40+ year old globe is now sitting at the church, awaiting the white elephant sale. I have MORE than enough stuff to remember my dad with. My dad didn't want it in HIS house, so why should I even have a second thought about getting it out of MY house?
My children have already told me I better not go to the sale and come back home with that globe!
Sing it with me now, "I got the whole world Outta My Tub!"
EDITED TO ADD THE REST OF THE STORY, OR, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GLOBE: I went to the church tonight (Sept 30) to drop off some other things. Talked with the ladies there some. I asked about the globe, where is it displayed? Ladies pointed to under a table near the door, and said "IT HAS ALREADY SOLD"! My globe will have a new home where it is appreciated, the church will have some money from the sale, and I will have a clean bathtub, AND peace of mind in that I don't have to make any more decisions about The Globe and What To Do With It! Sounds like a WIN to me!
oh I wish I was going to the sale--LOL you are so brave and I am sure that it will be a blessing to someone- I know folks who collect old globes--you have done wonders and you are such an encouragement to us here on squalors-- global hugs from Meme
It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."
Post by joyinvirginia on Sept 29, 2009 22:31:14 GMT -5
MAINTAINING ENERGY WITH ONGOING DECLUTTERING PROJECTS or Now I REALLY understand why it took my dad and his siblings THREE YEARS to empty their parents' house!
It would be ideal if I could work on the Pile O'Stuff in the dining room EVERY DAY, at least for a little while. That is a goal. But it is a goal not achieved this week, anyway. I work Mon thru Fri. I have to pick up DD several days per week. We have church activities. I sometimes have work stuff to do in the evenings or on weekends. We have to have dinners, do grocery shopping, do laundry, walk the dogs, usual maintenance cleaning, etc, etc. I get TIRED and sometimes I just want to VEG OUT in front of the TV, or walk the dogs, or read a book - and NOT look at the Pile O'Stuff! I need time to recharge the old batteries!
This past weekend we went back to my parents' old house with the goal of emptying the two china cabinets, and also moving a few more larger pieces of furniture from there back to our house. I called the renters ahead of time to make sure the time would suit them. We drove the pickup truck to get the things.
I seriously underestimated the number of boxes that we would need to pack up the stuff in the two cabinets. HOW did I do that, after all the packing we have done already? There was LOTS of china and figurines and knick-knacks, the cabinets were just packed. I only had enough boxes to pack up one china cabinet, and it took an hour. Doesn't seem too long, but my back was hurting after that hour.
We brought home two cedar chests and one upholstered love seat and one small wooden cabinet my DH really likes. Stuff is still in transition, with two love seats in my music room, and the cabinet in downstairs hall. We did swap out an upholstered cedar chest with a kinda beat-up looking chest, and the two oldest chests are now living in the garage. DH is a genius, he has things arranged in the garage so we can walk around in there AND get two cars in the two-car garage!
I had energy to sort thru some stuff on Sunday night, and a little bit last night. Tonight is my night off! Maybe tomorrow, too. Thursday we go to the Virginia State Fair, so maybe Thursday off too. I have officially run out of gas and am giving myself a few days to ignore the Pile O'Stuff.
What about the other china cabinet at the house we are renting out? Once again, like Scarlett, I will think about that tomorrow. Fiddle-Dee-Dee!
Post by joyinvirginia on Sept 30, 2009 23:13:51 GMT -5
SLOW AND STEADY MAKES THE PILE O' STUFF SHRINK, LITTLE BY LITTLE
This evening after getting home from work, I spent an hour on the Pile. I unwrapped things from two large paper grocery bags. We had run out of boxes, so some china and breakables ended up in these bags. There is still room on the dining room table to place things I want to keep for now. There were a few things that were not sentimental or valuable that went into box for church sale.
I got to church tonight to make another donation for the white elephant sale. I dropped off another two bags with clothes - some mine, some from older DD, also some pillows, a blanket, gloves. Also dropped off two small boxes with donation items including a ceramic pitcher with grapes all over it, that is quite possibly the ugliest thing I have ever seen. Candle holders, gloves, unmatched glasses, salt & pepper shakers were a few of the other things in the donation box.
Two bags are empty and folded. More stuff is out of my house! More stuff is visible and on my table where I can make a decision about what to keep longer term, and what to store together. This being such a slow process is very frustrating, but I CAN see progress. Hooray!
Post by joyinvirginia on Oct 4, 2009 17:37:13 GMT -5
I WENT TO THE CHURCH FALL FESTIVAL AND ALL I GOT WAS...
a delicious coconut cake, a sweet potato pie, a pound of home-made pork barbecue. Oh, and a bunch of paperback books that WILL be recycled at the library, at the clinic waiting room, and at a coffee house/ music club that we go to sometimes. I worked as a cashier in the morning and got to see quite a few of the things I had donated go to new homes! The advantage of working at the sale was that I could not shop, so less temptation! The church made about $3,000 off all the white elephant/ yard sale stuff that was sold. The bake sale brought in another $1,000, and another $4000 was was from craft sale and food sales - barbecue, Brunswick stew, and sandwiches sold on the day of the event. Organizers left everything up for today, on sale, and yes I got another bag of paperbacks for one dollar - but those books are NOT coming in the house, they will live in the car trunk and be dropped off at the clinic waiting room this week. The leftover clothing another church is taking for their sale in a few weeks; the leftover white elephant stuff is being picked up by a local charity tomorrow; and the leftover craft stuff will go into storage until closer to Christmas, when it will come out as possible Christmas gifts.
A funny thing happened, 15 yo DD and DH came to the sale in the afternoon and she looked around - and demanded I buy back three of her t-shirts for her! I ONLY donated what the DDs had put in donation bags, and told her so. She must have put those three in by mistake, or her older sister got ambitious! All the clothing and shoes were sold for 25 cents apiece, so it was an inexpensive mistake - that SHE could afford to pay for!
I was extremely motivated and energetic when I got back home, so I spent about two hours working in the dining room on the Pile O'Stuff, unpacking boxes, organizing things on the dining room table so I can see exactly what I have. I can now get to the dining room table without leaning and reaching! Today I intended to spend the afternoon working on my bedroom, but spend more time in the upstairs hall, moving another Pile O'Stuff that was outside 15 yo DD's room, pulling out more things to donate, getting the storage box of gift wrapping, that was under the pile and has been in the hall since last Christmas, finally on the attic steps.
DH and older DD wanted to move a nicer bookcase that is cluttering up downstairs bathroom. They thought it would look good upstairs in the now-neat hall, and we can get rid of a very old and beat-up looking bookcase. They were right, and I have a bookcase AND more books to donate now, also! My favorite thrift shop supports lots of community projects, and they get my donations when the church is not collecting things.
This is going to be such a blessing the church and others as they will find treasures- and it is good feeling to not only let go but to have the control of things gone- yes, do proud - I know every little accomplishment I make gives a proud and happy feeling- some times a little panic and temptation too to go back on my toss but in the end when it is gone----wow- that sense of relief and finding space and being able to enjoy the things I did keep because they are clean and neat -
It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."
Post by joyinvirginia on Oct 11, 2009 22:45:22 GMT -5
LIFE IS BUSY!
Things have not progressed this week because ... WE meaning our entire family are BUSY! DH and I and 22 yo DD all work full time. 15 yo dd is in high school and busy with her school and church activities. So besides work, this is what has kept us busy: This week I took 15 yo DD to Norfolk to see Grizzly Bear, a group very popular with college and high school age kids. There went Tuesday night, considering it was 3 hours of driving total to get there and back. 15 yo DD needed toting back and forth to school for band practice, going to a dance, going to a football game, going to guitar lessons. Thursday night we had dinner with a friend we haven't seen in a while. The Richmond Folk Festival was this weekend, so DH and I went Friday night and Saturday all day. Oldest DD was working there, very busy. Sunday today I had to go see my mother in the nursing home, and pay the bill there, and also visited with a cousing. The rest of the family went to the Folk Festival. I have not worked on the Pile O'Stuff. I do have to be proud of the maintenance I have done. I got two loads of laundry done last night just because I stayed up until midnight. I got the litter box changed because I got up early to do it. The dishwasher does get run. The dogs get walked. We get fed, on the go very often with peanut butter and jelly, but we get fed and the pets get fed. This week won't be AS busy as last, but Tuesday night David Cook will be in Richmond. He won American Idol in 2008 and I promised DD I will take her. That gives me several other evenings at home to work. Wish me luck!
Hi Joy -- You have a wonderful thread going here. I just popped in today and was pleasantly surprised to see that it is something I can directly relate to. I too have an elderly mother in declining health. She still lives in her home with my brother. I provide support, as needed.
Their house is like your parents' -- tidy but lots of stuff. Some hoarding -- but it's hidden in drawers, closets, spare BR. Lots of paper piles. Seven years ago I went through 30 years worth, so it's not overwhelming. Why does Social Security include SS numbers on each and every page of correspondence, no matter how insignificant?? Means all has to be shredded or the number ripped off.
I'm currently clearing out a hoard of white wine (still in unopened store bags) from the spare BR. All our friends are being gifted with wine Who says dehoarding/decluttering can't be fun
PEACH ~~ May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell others of your virtues. ✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.
Post by StuffNoMore on Oct 12, 2009 19:34:24 GMT -5
I just got to read your blog in its entirety and was so very impressed with the stamina and courage it's taken you to go through all this. I can see how a time frame to get something done can be so movitating yet exhausting. I have until Christmas to get my things in order for my visit with dd and her fiance. I don't have the added stress of going through many sentimental items so I have that advantage.
I'll be watching your progress and cheering you on for a job well done!
TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY, YESTERDAY IS HISTORY, TODAY IS A GIFT, THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED THE PRESENT. --------------------------------------
~~Rottweilers leave paw prints on our hearts~ RIP ~~ LOUIE ~~ Oct 24, 2009 --------------------------------------
Dog ownership is like a rainbow. Puppies are the joy at one end. Old dogs are the treasure at the other.
Post by joyinvirginia on Oct 25, 2009 22:25:41 GMT -5
BEING SICK IS NO FUN! - AND REALLY SLOWS THINGS DOWN
Thanks Peach and Stuffnomore for the encouraging words. I think many more people will be dealing with what to do with elderly parents belongings in years to come.
I have been dealing with a cold - NOT the flu, thank goodness! - for the past week. I had to go to work at least part of the time. I have had no energy to tackle cleaning. DH reminded me today that it is one week to my self-imposed deadline of Nov. 1. This week the Pile O'Stuff will be attacked each evening with renewed gusto, since I feel almost 100% well now.
I did spend last Sunday afternoon cleaning out my bedroom, and opening the cedar chest for the first time in a couple of years! I found a quilt that I forgot we had, and since my grandmother did not make this one, I will probably put it on craigslist for sale. We now have three full bags of clothing for donation. There is a clear spot on the top of the cedar chest for my little kitty to lay and look out the window. That is visible progress that makes me feel good whenever I see it.
Off to bed now, to get energized for this week at work and a new assault on the Pile O'Stuff!