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A confession: I have been poking around the internet for literally weeks now, in hopes of finding a particular blog post that a friend mentioned having seen, but she'd lost the link, and . . . well, so far, I haven't found it yet. And I am giving myself one more week to find it for you, and then I'll just wing it.


In the course of looking for said fantasy link, I came across something else, which is precisely what the internet is so good for (and why it can be such a huge timesuck). This article, though, may help some of you who are struggling with the clearing out of other people's belongings, either because you're in the process of moving a parent or other loved one out of their single dwelling and into assisted living or a nursing home, or because you have inherited a whole lot of stuff that you haven't actually taken ownership of in your heart. It's still "so-and-so's stuff", at this point, and you have to decide whether to keep it, and if so, how much.

Today, I'm pointing you to "Letting Go of Sentimental Items" by Joshua Fields Millburn, which details what he did with his mother's stuff after her death. Here's a snippet:

If you’ve ever lost a parent or a loved one or been through a similarly emotional time, then you understand exactly how hard it was for me to let go of any of those possessions. . . .

I started boxing up her belongings. Every picture frame and every little porcelain doll and every white doily on every shelf. I packed every bit of her that remained.

Or so I thought.

And then I looked under her bed.

Among the organized chaos that comprised the crawlspace beneath her bed, there were five boxes, each labeled with a number. Each numbered box was sealed with packing tape. I cut through the tape and found old papers from my elementary school days from nearly a quarter of a century ago. Spelling tests, cursive writing lessons, artwork, it was all there, every shred of paper from my first five years of school. It was evident that she hadn’t accessed the sealed boxes in years. And yet Mom had held on to these things because she was trying to hold on to pieces of me, to pieces of the past, much like I was attempting to hold on to pieces of her and her past.

That’s when I realized that my retention efforts were futile.

Read "Letting Go of Sentimental Items" by Joshua Fields Millburn here.

And now, to return to the series of tubes that is the internet in hopes of finding the particular wormhole that brings me that article I'm looking for . . .

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2013 12:28 am (UTC)
Nice read. It's true. It can be so hard to let go of loved ones things, and yet, when you do it is very freeing. I had never thought of taking photos. That is a wonderful idea.
Aug. 21st, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
If you like that idea, you'll like the next one more.
Aug. 22nd, 2013 12:17 am (UTC)
When we moved out of the house I put a bunch of old papers of M's mother's--first driver's licence, report card from medical school (!), old photos--into a scrapbook. We haven't looked at it since, but it made M feel better that we weren't disposing of his mother's momentos.

Aug. 22nd, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a great idea - and is, in fact, the topic of what I've been looking for: a downsizing/clutter-clearing scrapbook. It's next week's topic!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 22nd, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
Freeing is a great feeling, isn't it?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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