My mom has recently become engaged, and now she and her fiancee are going through the house to see just what’s in it and what needs to be done before they combine households. Totally cool with that. Here’s the thing – my mom is a holder-onner when it comes to stuff. As in, she has found a medal wagon that my brother used to use when he was a child to get around. Um, my brother is now 40. (To be frank, I don’t even remember what wagon she’s talking about.)
She said that they cleaned up the wagon, and that people have told them it’s “worth money” because it’s not made of plastic. Um. Ok. Here’s the thing – she wants to hold onto all this stuff for us to sell when the time comes (i.e., she’s gone) because in her mind if it’s worth something today, well, it will HAVE to be worth more come the next 20 years or so…. I tried explaining to my mom that we have no idea when her time will come, and where each of us will be when that happens. (Personally, I’m thinking I will be on the other side of the country.) My sis has three kids. My brother is in NYC, but he’s also very busy. We won’t be able to come home for weeks on end to get rid of all of her stuff.
I have always joked with my mom that if she feels like the end is near, and the “light” is calling to her, I’m going to reach over and pull her back into this world if she thinks she’s leaving us with a house full of stuff to clean out. We laugh every time I bring this up. When my grandma died, my found had found a note from her apologizing for having left so much stuff behind. That was classic “my grandma.” Compared to the amount of stuff my mother has and has always kept, to my mind, the amounts just don’t compare. Plus, my grandma would leave the cards that came with stuff that had been given to her as gifts so we would know who gave it to her, and the idea was it would go back to that person. My mom knows how hard it was to go through her stuff, and in fact, she probably still has a lot of my grandma’s stuff.
Please, people….don’t do this. Don’t hold onto things with the idea that because it’s “worth something today” that it will be “worth more tomorrow.” Especially when you don’t have a buyer lined up (which is the case with my mom.) In my mind, until you have that buyer lined up, it’s worth nothing other than sentimental value which you might have with it. Especially when it is literally taking up space. My mom doesn’t pay extra for storage space right now (Thank God) but a lot of people do just that. I asked my mom to sell some of the stuff yesterday. She said “maybe.” (It could have been said just to get me to stop talking, not sure.)
Personally, I look around at my place and although I’ve been culling out crap now for the past two years, I still see way too much crap. That is a huge turnaround from when I left my marriage a few years ago and held onto things as a sense of security. Today, as I get rid of stuff, I feel lighter and lighter and lighter. And I know I still have my work cut out for me if I am going to live in a motor home or other small dwelling. I am thankful that I no longer hold onto emotional ties with most of my stuff because it just weighs me down. There are a few things I do hold emotional weight with and I am working through those: my many seashells that I collected over years of going to the Cape with my ex-husband (because I love the sea), my wedding proof album (we never ordered the actual photos, and while I can’t bring myself to actually look at that album, I have not yet been able to get rid of it. I know where it is, but I still don’t want to look at it.) I guess with the album, part of me feels that if I get rid of it, it’s like that part of my life didn’t exist, and I can’t just wipe it out of existence. Does that make sense?
I have two photos of my grandparents in frames on my bedroom dresser. It is the only one I have of my grandfather, who I never met. So that is going to be going with me into the RV. And the photo of my grandma with her mom, and sisters from the early 1900s, that, I will also keep. The rest, I will digitize and put into a digital photo frame. That’s my plan.
If any of you have parents out there like my mom, and have suggestions on how to encourage her to get rid of stuff, please tell me. I’m all ears. My mom is in debt and wants to be rid of it before she gets married, so I am trying to tell her to sell stuff she doesn’t need and to put it toward that debt. I recommended she check out Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, and have mentioned his financial peace university classes that are held in churches around the country. (She’s religious so I thought that might be an extra bonus for her to hear.) But I’m her daughter, so she may not listen to me. (Please note, I’m not a total Dave Ramsey fanatic, but reading his book helped me get some priorities together, like on getting out of debt.)
Seriously, any suggestions, anything, I will gladly receive!
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