My first admission is that I love to shop – specifically I love, love,love shoes (never met a heel I didn’t like), and then of course there are my purses and all of the clothes that go along with the shoes and purses. I have a great closet with a wall of shoes and purses (and my husband has some space in there too). My husband and I are blessed with a house full of items which we have picked out and purchased over the years. I can walk you through the house and tell you when we bought the formal dining room table, how the wall behind the couch in the living room was empty until we found the print
we I wanted. I love my home as we have spent years making it our own.
However, over the past few weeks I have been faced with a dilemma. What does one do with not only one full house but two? I am fortunate in regards that I don’t truly need any of my Mom’s furniture and I have been able to sell some of the larger items. However, I am now left with the small stuff. It’s been overwhelming to go through and empty out drawers and closets. (For the record, I do believe my mother has more clothes than I have ever had – she was a single woman and she took advantage of every closet in the house). I feel I have needed to sort through items as I wasn’t truly sure what existed.
Over the weekend, I pulled out all of my Mom’s Christmas items. I feel like I am learning something about myself as my Mom loved Christmas just as much as me and she has an ENORMOUS Christmas collection. The most emotional part for me was seeing how she had individual wrapped many of the smaller ornaments. This is something that I do and it made me realize that I learned that from her. Beautiful glass ornaments (placed back in the original boxes), an angel collection, snowman collection, beads, garland, wreaths, enough Christmas lights to light a forest – you name it and she has it. At first, I didn’t want to think about parting with these things – but then I reminded myself I have a storage room full of Christmas. (Yes, I decorate several trees in my house).
So after going through and categorizing her Christmas, I have taken a few items for my own and encouraged my brother to do the same. I will have my aunt and some of her friends take what they would like and then I will place them for sale.
The reality is that all of the items in my Mom’s house are simply stuff. Yes, it was her stuff and she loved most of it but these items are not my Mom. My Mom is more than the dishes she ate on, the clothes she wore, the collections she loved. It does her memory no good for me to box some of these things up, bring them to my house and perhaps never use them.
Sadly, she has ALOT of stuff – but then each of us do. Although I always try to get rid of one article of clothing when I purchase something new – there are times when I don’t. I know we have appliances in our pantry that we haven’t used in years. I have boxes of home decorations in case I want to change the decor – and please don’t ask my husband about the amount of greenery and other decorations I have from Hobby Lobby.
I have friends who have basements full of furniture from loved ones homes but they aren’t using the items. I could easily move some of my Mom’s items to my house but I don’t need them. Of course, there is also my Nanny’s house – another home full of a lifetime of living. I walked through her house today because I hadn’t been there in weeks and I simply needed to be there.
As I sat in her bedroom, I realized she is no longer there – only her stuff. She has some beautiful pieces like my great grandmother’s cedar chest which I would like and I am determining if I want her bed for my guest bedroom. However, as I told my aunt – most of it is just stuff.
I don’t want to sound callous in regards to calling it all stuff. (It’s taken me several weeks to get to this point of realizing these items are not my Mom and Nanny). I know that the items in each of their homes were important to them (but then also there is a lot of things that just need to be thrown away). My Nanny has a kitchen and freezer full of food (product of the depression era) I’m reevaluating my own stuff – why do I have what I have? Why do I keep certain things? Why do I buy what I buy? I know for certain that there were times when my Mom did retail therapy – and in her closet were many items which still had the tags on them. After all, who isn’t guilty of buying something as a pick me up? We are stressed, unhappy, bored and that item makes things better if only for a few minutes.
I don’t predict that I am going to suddenly become someone who doesn’t shop. After all, my happy place is Target and they know me by name at White House Black Market. However, my hope is that I can truly get a better handle on the physical stuff in my own life. Let go of what I don’t need, or use or even want. I hope that you can begin to do the same.
I only occasionally shop at Sam’s Club (my true friends know I loathe WalMart and am counting the days until Lexington gets a Costco) – but this quote has been at the front of the store for some time and it always makes me think.
“It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells you what kind of life you have lived.” ~ Helen Walton
I’m hoping my friends will have more to say about me than my great collection of shoes, purses and clothes. I know my Mom’s friends didn’t say a word about her stuff but remembered her caring, kindness and love.