My Dad is in the process of cleaning out his house for sale. He’s decided to down-size from a 5 bedroom house on a large block of land to a 3 bedroom house in a new development close by. It was a hard decision to make in some ways, after 45 years in one place, but it’s the right decision for him. So the last couple of weekends we’ve made the 2 hour drive to my home town to help with sorting and cleaning out. And we’ll be doing quite a few more weekends like that in the near future I guess. To say it’s a big job would be an understatement!!
This is the house my parents built, that I lived in from just before I turned 2, that has always been “home” to me. For my two brothers and I, it holds all our collective gowing up memories. We lived, loved, laughed, fought, learned, grew, played, worked and rested here. Every nook and cranny has a story to tell. Almost every nook and cranny is full of stuff that needs to be sorted, and brings back memories as it is “excavated”. As we’ve worked through all the stuff, there have been so many “Do you remember…?” moments. Long-loved toys and games; books read and re-read; framed pictures, photos, and slides in their thousands; the old reel-to-reel movies Dad used to play (forwards, then even better, backwards!) projected on the loungeroom wall for us kids in our jammies, dressing gowns and slippers on Saturday nights; stamp collections; 78, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM records; old computers and software (we were early adopters); knick-knacks; school books, report cards, awards, trophies and artworks; even kitchen things like the plastic plates with built in egg cups, cookbooks (including the hand-written ones) and all that 70s Tupperware in olives, browns and burnt orange.
The temptation is to hold on to all these things (well, perhaps not the 70s Tupperware!) because of the memories. But holding on to them now means just delaying the inevitable. Those treasured items that don’t get tossed into the skip bin today will simply be tossed into a skip bin sometime in the future, and in the meantime they have to be stored. We don’t have a big enough house to keep all the things that tug at my heart strings and say “Remember when…”. Having been through this same task with my grandparents’ house years ago, I knew we just had to let go. Too many of the things we sorted through over the last couple of weekends were things we sorted 16 years ago when clearing out Granny’s house, and decided were too precious to throw out. Now most of those things have gone into the skip, like they should have back then.
But there is a way to make the process of letting go not quite so painful and final. As we sorted, when I came across something that I didn’t want to let go of quite yet, I took a photo. Those photos are going into Historian, where I’ll take the time to note down what the object is and what it means to me. I’ll record those stories, and then I’ll upload the photos to my Forever account where they’ll become a permanent record. I’ll be able to share those photos with my family, and make scrapbook pages with them, and we’ll be able keep those memories alive without the clutter! Granted, I did bring home a couple of boxes of things I want to keep, but in a month or two, I’ll be going through those boxes and taking some more photos and doing some more culling. And unlike the thousands of photos we have sorted through and will sort through at Dad’s, these ones will be accessible long into the future, organised and tagged so they’re easy to find when they’re wanted, with the names, dates and stories attached. What a blessing to have cameras, Historian and Forever storage to help make letting go that much easier!