By: Cathie Shaffer
The Greenup Gazette
A common lament I hear from parents with grown children is this: When they leave this mortal coil, said children will not want their stuff
That’s true. What’s also true is that our kids don’t even want their own stuff.
I came to this realization during my ongoing attempt not to burden my children with the sentimental items of my life when I am gone. I’d have a lot less to deal with if they hadn’t left so much behind when they merrily entered their own adulthood with their own houses and own decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of.
Many eons ago, I purchased an inexpensive two-drawer filing cabinet in which to keep my important papers. Over time, much has been added but little has gone away. So I spent an hour one evening deciding what was essential and what was not.
Dearly Departed Hubby was big on keeping every piece of paper that came with a purchase. So getting rid of the warranty for a toaster from 20 years ago was pretty easy. I also pitched the bill of sale from cars I barely remember, canceled checks from a bank that no longer exists and such other extraneous items.
Then I began looking through the files pertinent to my children. I found a receipt for tuition to the community college, shocking now by how cheap that seems today and what an obstacle it was when I had two of them going to college at the same time.
My delving into the filing cabinet brought some chuckles too. Among the things I found was a paper written by my daughter for her college psychology class on the reasons why having a dog is better than having a brother.
She tells me, after re-reading it, that her opinion still stands. And since she only has one brother and two dogs, well, draw your own conclusion.
Many moons ago, that same child decided she wanted to trade coffee tables with me because my living room had more space than hers. I agreed on the condition that if I changed furniture, she had to take it back.
That coffee table, long removed from in front of my couch, sits now in my basement awaiting removal. I figure I will be enjoying my heavenly reward before that happens.
At various times, my grandgirls have lived with me. And like my children, they too left things behind with a promise to get their belongings later.
Right now, those left-behinds include a cat which Grandgirl III can’t have in her new place. Luckily, the cat came into my household as a kitten and my own dog and cat are well acquainted with her. I can’t say my Bitsy kitty is glad to see Harlow return but they picked up their former relationship in which Bit reminds the intruder who the boss is and Harlow pretty much accepts whatever Bitsy dishes out.
Speaking of dishes, I’ve got too many of those, too. A quarter-century ago, when we moved into the house where I now live, we stuck the box of good china under the steps temporarily. The china is still there and will be among the things uncovered when the kids empty out the house.
I have, however, been doing pretty well at getting rid of their stuff lately. Grandgirl II left two end tables when she moved out and somehow convinced me to take two wing chairs afterwards. As I work toward what is called “downsizing,” a fancy way of saying getting rid of stuff, I offered those pieces to the first taker. And lo and behold, one of the grandgirls had a friend who wanted them and carted them out the same night.
My grand plan on getting rid of other people’s stuff is falling into place, though. An organization I belong to has an annual yard sale. And as I sort through my own things for donations, I will be sending regular texts to those who have moved on giving them one last chance to get their stuff. Now it may take a U-Haul to get it all out, but yard sale, here I come.