Yesterday my Dad and I went over to my Grandma's house for the first time since she died. It's such a weird experience, going into someone's home, with the sole purpose of sorting through their stuff, and deciding what you want. It's amazing all the "stuff" we build up over a lifetime. There is all the furniture, knickknacks, trinkets, kitchenware, clothes, pictures, little things we saved like birthday cards, postcards from all your trips, etc. We found the business ledger for my Grandad's first year of business. In another closet I found cards, letters, drawings, poems, etc. that we Grandkid's had given her over the years. It's also amazing the things you learn about people by going through their stuff. For instance, there were several boxes of sewing stuff; my Grandma sewed? I had no idea. She also apparently starched and ironed her sheets; I practically cut my hand on them. Then there are all the questions. The shells in the bathroom, did she find those on the beach, buy them at a store? What stories lie behind all the pictures? Who read all the classics I found in the bookcase? I also discovered she left me her wedding ring and several pieces of China. I wish I had known, I could have asked her about those items.
I also found a Treasure Chest. Filled with memories and stories, some of which I will never know. Picture's of my Grandma growing up on the farm, her early years with my Grandad, a letter she wrote her Mom when she was eight about how mean her brother was, her baby book, reports my Dad wrote in elementary school, a diploma for my Great-Grandma, who graduated High School in 1906. Amazing. Have your created your own Treasure Chest for your family to find? One tip, share it with them, and often. I have so many questions that will never be answered.
What will people wonder about you when they go through your house? Are you a pack rat? Do you have any weird quirks? Have you shared your stories with those you'll leave behind? And who decides what is trash versus a memorabilia? It's an odd experience, but I am definitely inspired to do a little Spring cleaning of my own now. It's interesting the things we hold onto, old high school awards, letters from childhood pen-pals, fuzzy pictures, etc. Many it's time to minimize.