Sunday, January 17, 2010


My sister and I spent about five hours at my mom's house this afternoon going through her office. Last week we spent about seven hours, and got all the bedrooms, her bathroom and the living room done. Comparitively, it seems like we didn't accomplish as much today, but given the volume of stuff packed into her office, we actually did.

Going through mom's stuff is really making me look around at my own things with a more critical eye. I have a lot of things - things I like to look at, that mean something to me, or both. And I have those books, lists, magazine pages... little stashes of things that I want to do something with... or that I think will have some purpose at some point. But as I clean mom's house, I'm finding it easier to clean my own. I've loaded several bags of stuff in my car to get rid of over the last week, just because I don't know why I have it. I really want to have things in my house that I'll use, or that means something very special to me. Now, there are things I have because they just make me happy to have them, but I'm finding it way easier to get rid of those things lately.I can have things that make me happy, AND that I'll use. It's just a new way of looking at stuff.

At mom's there were shelves full of books, magazine boxes full of magazines, files of important stuff and non-important stuff and way too many office supplies! We filled a couple of boxes with stuff to keep, made a pile of stuff for our brothers to decide on, filled a couple of bags full of trash and a box full of stuff to shred, and the stuff we're going to sell was left on the bookshelves. Not bad, really. There are a few boxes of things that we'll have to go through slowly with a bottle or two of wine, but that will be left for another day.

Some cool finds:
a great little envelope full of pictures of mom during the time she was a Tupperware Lady, most of which I'd never seen before;
five or six diaries and journals belonging to mom;
notes and letters we'd given mom over the years that she kept;
several lists of mom's belongings that she assigned beneficiaries to... most of which we agree with. :)

We also found a certificate that mom got from her flight school when she made her first solo flight on July 11, 1990. We decided that we should get our brothers to join us on July 11 this year, the 20th anniversary of that flight, to take her ashes up in a plane to... what? Distribute? Sprinkle? Dump? What do you call it??? Wouldn't that be perfect? We think so.

We kept finding piles of newspaper articles on gardening, magazine pages with photos that mom had written notes next to.. "these stairs"... "cabinet doors"... "fireplace mantle".  Mom loved visual inspiration, and I've inherited her tendency to keep those bits and pieces. She also had a few little notebooks with sketches and notes in them that detailed ideas she had probably seen in a magazine, or on a t.v. show... or maybe they were just her own ideas. Oh, and books with little sticky notes on her favorite pages. Yes, it's genetic, I'm sure of it. So, I loaded up a couple of tote bags with her decorating books, and one of her file folders labeled "Craft Projects". I figured I would go through them before putting them on the estate sale shelves... a little more visual inspiration is always welcome.


pentalia said...

Wow! You two are doing some great work.

I, too, save magazine and catalog pages for pictures of clothing, knitting, decor, craft, etc. design ideas. Sometimes I think it's silly, but let me tell you, when I have needed inspiration, they are priceless. However, someone else's pages wouldn't help me at all.

Here at my house, I'm trying to purge, but I keep telling my husband that as long as we're poor and not moving out of this house, I will continue to save things like jars and old clothes for making rags or quilts.

idyll hands said...

To say there were magazine boxes full of magazines is an understatement. There are probably 20 magazine boxes full of magazines. 20! That's a lot.