Other than my personal belief that you can’t have too many putters, drivers, shotguns, or fishing poles, and notwithstanding her contention that you can’t sew a quilt without every block, pattern, and piece of equipment ever thought of in close proximity, we are minimalists.
Perhaps that sounds like an oxymoron, but some of you will understand.
When daddy died four years ago, my brother and I convened in Fort Worth to break down his place. It wasn’t really large, as he had moved from a big house to a retirement cottage in a progressive living home. Still, however, he had lots of “stuff.” If you’ve ever gone through the closing out of an estate of someone you’ve lost, you know how much we can accumulate in material possessions.
You also realize how much there is that really has no use or meaning to the people who are left behind. When my brother and were around first grade, our parents would start an allowance. Mostly, we had to save for Christmas and birthday parents, as we had a large extended family. I think I settled on Old Spice aftershave as a great present and bought a gallon for Dad several years running. When I got to the back of his closet, there were two unopened gallon bottles of vintage aftershave. Sentimental to be sure, and a few tears flowed while the cologne went down the drain.
Even though we’re logical and rational people, and even though I have seen this process in action firsthand, I’m amazed at how hard it is to get rid of “stuff.” Our house has three piles in the living room: Goodwill, storage, and RV. There’s a trashcan in the middle. Many items have languished in all three places before finally migrating to the trash heap in the middle.
I wish I had some tips for how to make it easier, the only good thing I can say is that it is far better for Elizabeth and me to do this. There still, however, is the little matter of the 10x10x9 storeroom, so our children will still have something to clean up. And, I’m pretty sure there’s a well-traveled pencil holder made by a young man in kindergarten in that storeroom, I kept it all these years just in case I needed a place for pencils.