Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Smothering Power of Stuff

Yesterday I went with my mother, aunt and cousin to my grandmother's house to clean out any food that was left.  My grandmother's house is packed with stuff. My grandfather was a "collector" and hobbyist who left behind tons and tons of stuff. Not hoarder level or anything. But just every space is packed, from the basement to the garage to the shed. Being there is overwhelming.

Besides feeling like I was drowning in stuff, the stuff brings out an ugly attitude in my mother. She accuses the caregivers that lived there of stealing what I think are pretty worthless valuables. She rants and raves about them. Meanwhile, she has inherited what most people would consider a sizeable sum, but yet is obsessed over the loss or theft of this $500 or less trinket. It blows my mind.

We also had a huge fight because my grandmother had always wanted me to take her china when she passed. There are 8 place settings. I declared that I only wanted 4 because I did not have room and would never use 8. My mother insisted that I take all or none.

Today with the benefit of a little space and time, I realize that I never want to go back to my grandmother's house again, at least not when my mother is there and probably not ever. The stuff is literally toxic in my mind now. There's no room to breathe and I personally feel there is nothing of value there and it should all be thrown out. My mother has declared that everyone in the family will come on one day in a few weeks and take what they want, but the few things that I would want are not worth going back for. I think my mother will be surprised because I think most of my cousins also won't even bother coming. What would they want out of a 95 year old woman's house?

It's a good lesson learned as I simplify my own living space. A good reminder for why it really is much healthier to live with less. I want to make room in my house for love, for light, for my soul to breathe. You can't do that when you are buried under mounds of stuff.

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