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April 25, 2019

Packing up a lifetime taught me to only ...

Now that my mother is living in a nursing home, my brother, sister, and I have been tasked with dismantling her apartment. As anyone who has been through this knows, it’s a major job. Dealing with the memories and the actual objects quite literally filled our hands.

We found so many keepsakes that she saved lovingly: a box full of rose petals gathered from all the flowers my two brothers had given her; my sister’s grammar school uniform; all the sculptures I created throughout my school years. There were boxes filled with the letters we’d written and the drafts of letters she wrote back to us.

Seeing our history displayed in front of us brought to mind the question of what to do with it. We don’t want to get rid of it, but where does it go?

Our solution, or lack of, was to load the keepsakes into a large box and wait to go through them until we had some wine and more time.

Then there was the furniture, artwork, accessories, and objects. Again, they weren’t just furnishings; they were the treasures we cherished; the pieces that filled our homes and felt like old friends each time we saw them.

The task of emptying my mother’s home was the inspiration I needed to clear out my own. If I was going to add these special items to what I already had in my home, I needed to remove all the things I was holding on to that were by no means treasures.

I needed to start asking myself what I really wanted. How much memorabilia do I want to fill my life and how much of it is really important?

I don’t have answers yet, but I am finding it easier to spot things I don’t need or want and say out it goes. Those three words are music to my husband’s ears.

I have to add a note here: Growing up, we always knew that the items that filled our lives were important. They were not pieces that could be replaced because they were our history. As it is in many European families, our furnishings are meant to be passed on to the next generation.

What about you? 

What do you do with memorabilia?
Are you attached to the items that have always been part of your life?

I'd love to know your thoughts.

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