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The Stuff That Surrounds Us

Yesterday would have been my Grandmothers 109th Birthday. She brought me up, so was basically my Mother. She passed away in 1999 from a heart attack. When she died, she was still living in my childhood home. A place I’d spent most of my life. My bedroom was still how I’d left it, minus my clothes and the personal effects I’d taken when I got married.

Watching my family throw most of the contents in a skip was heartbreaking. There was just so much stuff. But I managed to salvage a few things…had to actually buy two items of furniture from her “estate” or they would have ended up in a junk shop. It was an awful time, watching your memories thrown away like rubbish. I wanted to save more, but with 3 small children, and an overflowing house already, I was limited on what I could take.

Over the years, a few things have been lost of broken. One of her mirrors disappeared during a house move; another mirror crashed to the floor and broke a few months ago; the handle of the bread knife I’d known since I was little disintegrated; her two cake mixing bowls (I can still picture her making her Christmas cake) cracked and split, making them unusable. And some things I just cant bring myself to use, for fear of damage…like her tea and coffee sets…

They went straight into storage in 1999, and it was only a couple of years ago I was finally able to get them out of boxes and put them in my display cabinet in my dining room. They’ve been through 7 house moves (thats how many times we’ve moved since she died) and now we’re moving again…

I’m reading “Let it Go by Peter Walsh” at the moment (still have the urge to break into song when I see that title lol), which is a guide to downsizing. In there he says that your sentimental/precious items should be no more than what you can fit on your dining room table top. A good way of looking at it I feel…but…how the hell am I going to achieve that? I have SO…MUCH…STUFF. Its really not even funny. I’m trying to laugh about it…trying to stay calm. But it’s weighing me down. I’m sure its why I still cant shift my Ocular Migraine, and probably why I’m not sleeping (typing this at 4.30am).

One thing that really stands out about the whole downsizing malarkey is that, if I don’t do it now, when I pop my clogs, I’m subjecting my kids to what I had to go through, and most of my stuff (including my Grandmothers bits) will end up in a skip or at the local charity shop. I’m under no illusions that my own children wont have room for all my bits when that time comes. Peter Walsh suggests attaching notes to very precious items, so your children (or whoever is sorting through your stuff) can share the memories attached to that item, and understand why that particular thing meant so much to you. I love this idea, but I don’t know that I have the mental capacity at the moment.

This Pandemic is making me realise its people who are important, not stuff. You don’t need a mixing bowl to remember watching your Grandmother make Christmas cake and pinching one of the brandy soaked cherries when she wasn’t looking lol…but it’s still very difficult to let go.

I guess I should just pull myself together and make those difficult decisions on what has to go…But I feel like just curling up in a ball and trying to forget about it all. Sit on the sofa with a book (NOT the downsizing one) and a hot chocolate. But sometimes, self care conflicts with the things you need to do in life.

And just to remind me that it has to be done…we have another house viewing today…

5 thoughts on “The Stuff That Surrounds Us

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