Let It Go

Thea here in this season of graduations, retirements and tag sales, sitting in my house that looks like we’re perennially moving in.  This is the first time I’ve ever thought, everything’s got to go.  The big stuff, the stuff we’ve collected or inherited from our parents.  The stuff I’m not sure my sons will really want.  Things I want them to keep forever.

Because everything has story:  my husband grew up with this item; his parents collected that stuff on the Cape in the 1950’s;  they bought that painting from a local artist there; and brass bed at an auction in Maine.  Things that my husband is loath to let go.   On my side, there wasn’t quite as much of value, but  among the things I kept were the living room lamps from my parent’s first apartment. I remember that apartment vividly even though I was only four or five at the time.

The lamps sat on two tall side tables flanking a camelback sofa.  There was a large framed print over the sofa of a medieval farm scene, and the lamps, perhaps hand-painted, echo that theme.  They’re tall and urn-shaped, with a little curly-cue on each side.  Those curls reminded me of my mother’s very curly hair.  I remember playing with those curly-cues when I was very young.  And because of that I can’t bear to get rid of the lamps even though they don’t fit anywhere in our house.

Or maybe there’s a different reason for my reluctance, and that is in letting go of those objects we are in some respect erasing our story, our past and our present both.  Because what will our sons do with all we’ve assiduously collected?  The books and paintings we’ve loved.  The Eastlake dresser that was one of first things we bought after we got married.  The painted sleigh bed.  The antique dishes.

There’s a memory. a story behind each of those things.  And in them, the story of our lives together.  We’ll be married 48 years this month, and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the night we met in September.  How do I let it go?

And how do I let go the memory of that little girl playing with the decorations on those lamps because they looked so much like her mother’s curly hair?

Are you clearing out and paring down?  How do you handle it?












5 thoughts on “Let It Go”

  1. Beautiful memories, Thea, and congrats on the anniversary! Huge! I’ve gone through several moves in my adult life and each time I get rid of a little more. I say the best way to clear out the “stuff” is to sell the house and downsize, LOL. Barring that, it pays to develop a zen attitude about possessions. Attachment to material items is a heavy burden in the grand scheme of things. We think we are being disloyal by letting go, but the truth is, the memories will always be with you, even if the belongings are not.

  2. Good morning, Paula. It was also suggested in a workshop I attended that we photograph those precious objects. That way, we’ll have a physical reminder of the objects — and they’re portable! (I’m not there yet, but intellectually I know you’re right.)


  3. I went to comment, but your blog didn’t get online. However, here’s my scoop. We are doing exactly that, pairing down. I get into the mood, rarely, but when I do, I toss. At the moment I am, and so is Tom, bless his soul, he tosses more easily than me. Although when he isn’t sure he asks what I think. Is that fair to ask the queen of stuff? When I’m in the rare mood, it’s safe, I suggest he toss too.

    I stuffed into the black bag about six pair of boots I haven’t worn in forever, probably ten pair of shoes that have been piling up in an upstair-out-of-the-way closet, and a myriad of pants, dresses, blouses, jackets and coats. Closets are still stuffed, but I ran out of time, not stuff. Tonight I cleaned files in my office/studio, and I’m not done yet. Even my plants have been relegated to the outdoors. I don’t have extra lamps or furniture because that is under control. Accessories, yikes, I sold some a few years ago. Don’t want to go to ebay, that is for another life, but this expensive stuff is hard to discard. They are mostly in a closet, waiting for some other way to exit. I can’t stand too many accessories out, they collect dust making more work for mother, for me that is. My biggest issue are books. About one thousand of them, some I had categorized ‘library of congress’ when I had my design school, for my students to use. When I sold the school, I kept the books, and have been adding, adding, and adding. I use about fifty percent, hmm, does that mean I can get rid of the other fifty percent? But, but what if I need them someday?

  4. Yes, beautiful memories. And congratulations on the anniversary, too. I find more meaning in celebrating the anniversary of when DH and I started “going steady” than our wedding anniversary, so your “50” coming up is a big deal!

    I read somewhere that a helpful tactic for getting rid of clothes specifically is to turn all your clothes hangers backwards. When you wear something, you can turn the hanger back. After a year, whichever items are still on backwards hangers should be donated to charity or thrown away. Use it or lose it!

    My problem is I throw away everything. I hate clutter, so I’m constantly getting rid of things. So I have the opposite problem!

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