Monday, 30 April 2012


Image from here

If you are ever tempted to hoard stuff, don't.

I spent yesterday clearing out my Mum's old house.

She is now in a retirement village/nursing home environment and her old home is being sold.

It is a job I have been dreading with every inch of my being, for a variety of reasons. I know she is resisting. I have involved her as much as I can. Torn between practicality and speed, and giving her some dignity in this whole entire process.

Room by room I came across boxes and boxes of stuff. Cubboards and drawers, crammed with stuff.


Just stuff. Piles of stuff. A decade of things.

I have no idea what to do with it all.

My instinct is the skip.

My conscience suggests she would really wants to keep it all. It is hers. An accumulation of a life.

Practicality dictates that she (and by default, that means me...) must whittle it all down.

It makes me want to go through every inch of my own home and declutter. More space, more air, less stuff.

My memories are indelible. I do not need stuff.

It is all just stuff.

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  1. " My memories are indelible. I do not need stuff."

    Precisely Lucy. And therein lies the problem for hoarders: the fear that by throwing away stuff you are throwing away the memory. It's tragic....and quite often intractable until they voluntarily take the risk and see what happens when you let go.

    Much love to you and your Mum at this difficult time x

  2. Keep the really special stuff. Sometimes it helps when memories get a bit hazy. Accept the fact that you may not know which is the most special though and that's OK too.

    Nothing lasts for ever and sometimes stuff just swirls around us and drags us down a little.

    Take care Lucy - you are doing something very special for your mother, even if it is terribly hard.

  3. We went through this a few years ago when my father in law moved into a high care facility. He had so much 'crap'- one of the hardest things was weeding the actual mementos out from the old telephone bills and junk mail.

    What I realised cleaning through his things is that marking photo's is so important. He has boxes and boxes of photographs, and we have no idea who the people in them are or what they meant to him.

  4. Ohh, that's tough. I have not yet had to have this journey into someone else's stuff. I might talk to my Mum about it now and whittle it down at least in theory well in advance. Best wishes with it all lovely Lucy.

  5. I need to do this in my own home. We really have too much stuff.

  6. Oh. A big job. A tough one, emotionally for you too? My Dad's place is like this. It's not him, it's his wife. She has dementia and has been hoarding for the last 40 years (long before he met her). She won't let him touch any of it.

  7. It does feel good to go through the old stuff and declutter, like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. But it does feel good to keep the stuff that means too much to part with as well. Just a little. Not a lot. x

  8. This is really hard. My mom and have had to do this my grandmother as well! The worst part was my mom brought a bunch of things to the thrift store that she later asked for. Luckily the main thing she wanted was a clock and I had one just like it to replace it with.

    I wish you the best with this it is a time consuming process and as Melissa said and emotionally draining one!

  9. This makes ME want to go and declutter ever inch of my house too. which is saying something cos I am a little bit of a hoarder. Not TV show kinda Hoarder but I have a hard time throwing things out. Why ?
    Good luck with your mum's collection, some hard decisions coming your way.

  10. I'm not a fan of stuff at all. My Mum is. I've never understood it. Piles and piles of envelopes and junk and cupboards and drawers overflowing with all sorts of stuff that I throw away on a weekly basis. She has recently started cleaning out her stuff for the first time in over 30 years. She tells me that she's doing it so that one day I don't have to. I'm just happy that she'll get to live without all that stuff around her. I'm sure it weighs her down more than she realises. xx

  11. I can't stand 'stuff'. It drives me crazy. Literally. I have to have a good clean out of everything every few months and become a bit obsessive about it really. I have thrown out a few things in my frenzy that I regret, but for the most part I too don't need the 'stuff'

  12. I'm currently de-cluttering and my mum has been sorting out the old family home for a couple of years now. So little really matters. The boxes of slides are going digital, and I think I will be OK to store the slides themselves for the moment... but.... yes... I'd rather not hang on to too much STUFF... nor buy it in the first place really!! (Sez I, just bought new pjs, carpet and Dyson... but those are needed, surely!!)

  13. My Dad has always been a chuck it out person. Always. It was, is, a symbol of his strained family life as a child.

    But, as a result I sit somewhere in the middle. I get all antsy and need to just chuck a few times a year, but there are some things I just can't bring myself to throw.

    I have too many baby clothes from my own kids. I must really donate them. I am though a little scared that I will regret throwing away some things. I really am torn. But I am getting better. My mantra is I mustn't be a hoarder.

  14. That is awful Lucy. On so many levels. Get rid of it. She doesn't really need it and neither do you. Sorry it has come to this so soon x

  15. Oh Lucy, I am sorry to hear this has fallen to you. It is hard enough that mum has become too unwell for self-care. Now this. Trying to balance between practical duties and keeping some memories alive for your mum. I feel for you. I have been a bit of a sentimental keeper but with moving a lot & realizing I was the only one the "stuff" meant anything to, I've started way do I want my kids or grandkids finding old memories of mine. But back to you. Hope you are ok.... & selling mum's house is a blessing in many ways Denyse x

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