Monday, January 17, 2011

Something Old and Something...

I've been busy helping put to rest a family estate.  Nothing big, just the home of my mother-in-law with about 3 queen sized couch beds, a library full of books, and more sewing and knitting patterns in books and magazine pages than I think I've ever seen in one spot before.  My sister-in-law and I have cleaned out three rooms in the last three weeks and sorted through so many memories.

It's funny how much is left after a family member dies, especially one who collected things.  Not anything like salt shakers or normal collectible items of course.  She was a knitter and in every place possible there were knitting needles, and scraps of patterns for scarves, sweaters, mittens and so much more.  We've found every size of knitting needle you could imagine - straight, double ended, and circular in boxes, bags and plastic cases and lots of plastic totes filled with fabric and yarns.

I've done this before when my own mother died, but this was a different undertaking.  My sister-in-law had already spent weeks going through and organizing, and donating some of the contents of the condo before I joined in the process, but just the rooms I helped with were almost totally filled to the ceiling, and sometimes on metal shelving units.

My mother-in-law was a person who was very frugal and kept so much for that proverbial, "rainy day" (and those, "just in case I need an item," times.).  Going through all the sewing items, knitting paraphernalia,  papers, notes, music and music books has helped me see the need to begin to empty my own house.  It's interesting how much she had accumulated (I know I don't know how much I've saved, that's for sure!).  But I have to admit that unlike many who lived through the Depression (like my Mom-in-law!) I haven't had that huge urge to compulsively save all kinds of things, for which I'm extremely glad for since I've so enjoyed going through all that my Mom-in-law accumulated.  I've actually had 2 LARGE garage sales through this past summer!


  1. Wow I want to see what you accumulated ;) But I am sure you won't be selling those CDs eh?

  2. Seeing all that Mom had accumulated put me in the "let's get my own house in order" frame of mind. I'm still working on organizing my house, and it has been a little over 3 years since Mom passed away.

  3. Linda,
    I find that I want to NOT have as much things as my Mom and Mom-in-law in my house anymore either! I understand how the Depression caused a feeling of need, but I NEED to organize and whittle down what I have in my home - like you are!!

  4. People who lived during the Great Depression have a totally different mindset. We don't know what frugal is. I think using a double coupon makes me frugal LOL!

  5. Stephen,
    You're right about the mindset difference!

  6. I've really pared down over the years, but I know how it is when you live (and nest) in one place for a couple good decades.

  7. I've always traveled lightly, so I have very few possessions. All the clutter in my house comes from things my daughter owns, or has owned. A mountain of clothes higher than Everest, a salon's worth of beauty products, and various sentimental items she's collected along the way-stuffed animals, childhood toys, etc. She's started to donate things to the Salvation Army, so at least that mountain is getting smaller.

  8. Robert,
    We've been in our home for over 35 years and I thought I had gotten rid of so much - that is until I started going through everything!!

    I fell your pain! (LOL!) I have three sons who when they lived at home saved EVERYTHING! I dumped and am dumping so many assignments from when they were in school, and my youngest is 29 so you get the idea how much I have to go through!!

  9. The last generation certainly did learn to be hoarders! My mom has been trying to turn me into one since I got married. She keeps giving me stuff and buying things I really don't need like Christmas dishes. I keep foiling her plan, though, by moving every few years and having to downsize.

    Are you a knitter?

  10. AWalk2write,
    I sure do like the way you're foiling your mom's plan! I'm lucky though, I love the knit and crochet. I'm not a really good one yet, because I'm still learning many stitches. I just finished a poncho for one granddaughter, though and have done many a pair of 2 needle mittens over the years.