My parents were forced to move when my mother could no longer care for my dad. If your parents are aging and you think that you have a plan, or you choose to stick your head in the sand, you'd better pull your head out with both hands. (I could teach a class on that.) My parents knew that at some point they would need to move out of the house where they had lived for over 50 years. My mother was the most able-bodied of the two and they were supposedly going through and purging things in preparation for an eventual move. I do realize that she had her hands full taking care of my father, but I also realize that this was something that she did not want to face.
When the move occurred, I was shocked at the amount of "stuff" that they had kept throughout the years. They collected antiques and vintage items. Furniture, pottery, glassware--you name it. Some trinkets were purchased and some were gifts or family mementos. There were old receipts, even for a appliances purchased many years before my birth. At one point, my mother's cabinets were so full of stuff that the mounting began to fail and the cabinets had to be emptied and reinforced. I did not realize that she filled them up again. Most of those things were moved to my house. We managed to incorporate some items into our home decor, but some things still remained boxed up We tried to start the process, but either Mother's sleep disorder would kick in or we would spend too much time reading every piece of paper, looking at every picture, reminiscing too much, and laughing too hard.
Fast forward to the present. My dad passed away in 2005 and my mother passed away in 2008. Guess which only child has been too overwhelmed to deal with it all? Guess who left her mother's room mostly as it was when she had to go to a nursing home at least a year before her death? Guess who has also inherited the hoarding gene?
This weekend, I realized that we never opened my dad's briefcase after we moved him to the nursing home. It was just as he had left it the last time he went to church with it. A Bible, pens, and sermons were still neatly in place. There was even a card that he had received from one of the families of one of his churches. Last night I finally went through the chest of drawers and discarded old unusable stuff and organized probably 20 handkerchiefs. I even found gloves that I could have loaned to Queen Elizabeth for the Royal Wedding. Tonight it was a box of papers--sermons, class notes, and cute inspirational sayings, poems, whatever. Being a hoarder myself, I am actually struggling. Even though I know that most of this stuff I will never need, I feel guilty every time I toss a piece of paper in the trash pile. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are boxes of cookbooks and recipes. Handwritten recipes, recipes torn our of magazines and/or newspapers. There are probably thousands of pieces of paper. Here's one more guess who. Guess who now does the same thing?????
I have come to realize that I won't be able to go through every single thing before we move. (I need Peter Walsh or Hoarders, but I don't live in California, and I can't wait.) I will go through at least one box/bin every day. I am trying my best to not move some of this stuff' again. I also must start Fly Lady again. That will keep me organized and keep this hoarding under control. Wish me luck!
|Windsor, Canada from the 1960's|