Today, I spent the early afternoon at my grandparent’s house helping my parents move furniture and items around, do some yardwork, and load undesired items into an antique dealer’s truck. Prior to moving out this July, my wife and I had lived at the house for over four years. We had moved there after graduation from Clarion with our Masters in Library Science. My grandmother needed someone at the house to cook dinner and do housework and we needed a place to live while we found work. It was an excellent arrangement in the time after my grandfather’s death a few years before that.
In staying at the house, I would ultimately bear close witness to the decline of my grandmother through dementia and other health ailments. When she needed more care than we could provide, she went to an assisted living place. On New Year’s Eve of 2008, she passed away. We continued to live in the house as it was rent free and the housing market was particularly lousy in 2009. But, like all things, that time came to an end when my mother and uncles wanted to place the house on the market. So, we moved out this past July.
The house has since sold and so it brings me to today to help move or remove the things that remained after my grandmother’s passing. A good portion of the furniture and furnishings had been removed from the house prior to today; there was a big push to empty the house in order to stage it for the sale. But with the contract in hand and the closing within sight, today was the penultimate preparation day for the last of the objects still left.
The hardest thing for me to see leave the house was my grandfather’s bed. My grandparents maintained different bedrooms later in life due to their own idiosyncrasies and different sleeping schedules. It was the bed he was born in, of all things, though it was not the bed he would die in. It was also not a standard size, falling somewhere between a double and twin. My grandfather liked his mattress notoriously hard which felt like something slightly short of sleeping on the ground. After he passed, the bed was given more cushion. I would stay there on nights when I had a hard time getting to sleep; something about the bed just knocked me right out after hours of frustrated attempts.
That was one of the items that went with the antique dealer today. Having lived among my grandparent’s personal affects for a time made me relatively unsentimental about a majority of them, save for certain pieces. This was one of those pieces. It was hard to see it go, but I knew it was the right decision to let it go.
Save for that brief moment, I can’t say the same for the rest of the items in the house. My grandmother liked to collect, well, everything. We are not talking Hoarders level amount of crap, but there was certainly a large amount of things that they accumulated in their lives. In moving in the last few months, my wife and I have discovered items in boxes that we had not seen in over six years. They had been stored when we were out in Clarion and later stored again at my grandmother’s house. Since then, we have parted with a good amount of items that we simply don’t use or need anymore. It’s been nice to clean out and unburden ourselves of items that have no place in our lives.
This brings me to the question of the post: how do you ‘weed’ your own life? Do you weed your own life? What is the criteria for donating and/or trashing? For a profession dedicated to a constantly evolving collection, what do you do when it comes to your personal affects?