My Kids Will Be Lucky I’m Not A Hoarder

Last week I went with my parents to help out at my grandparents’ house. As of last September, both my grandparents on that side are dead, so now the family has to deal with their estate. My dad, as an executor, has been doing a lot of work there, getting the house ready to sell and sorting finances and whatnot. My grandparents had been living in that house for about fifty years, so they had fifty years worth of junk in there. When my dad and I arrived there on Wednesday night, I was led to the basement where my dad had piled boxes and boxes of stuff in the back rooms. He said he had already taken not one, not two, but twelve van loads of junk to Value Village, and that was after the five kids already took a bunch of stuff for themselves. Twelve van loads and there was still so much junk to sort through.

junk meme

And that boggles my mind because when I go to away University every September, basically everything I own fits into one van. And yet my grandparents had accumulated probably over fifteen van loads of stuff. Stuff ranging from broken furniture to TVs to ancient books to candles to glasses to shaving cream to screwdrivers to scarves to approximately 500 curling pins. It took us two whole days, but we finally managed to sort it all and, with the help of several aunts and uncles, have a successful estate sale on the Saturday.

But it was a lot of work. I’m so glad my dad already took those twelve van loads away because I can’t even fathom having to go through all of that too.

My future kids will be lucky because I am not a hoarder. And I’m not saying my grandparents were hoarders by the technical definition, but there’s really no excuse for having about 15 sets of drinking glasses. My mom, who we put in charge of sorting all the kitchen stuff, was not pleased when we kept unearthing yet another dirty box and bringing it up to her for arranging. When I’m away at school, my mom gave me a few glasses, maybe four, but last year, I only used one. I’d just keep washing and reusing that same one glass. And the same two plates and two spoons and one bowl. I work well on very little.

Though I don’t really identify as one, I guess I am a minimalist. Except with more colours because I really don’t understand why minimalists are scared of colours.

minimalismI used to laugh at minimalists. Like, do they really think they’re so much better than the rest of us because they don’t have a bed skirt or any wall art? But it’s not about that. It’s about living a freer life and not having a lifestyle that revolves around material possessions. You don’t need ten pairs of shoes to live a full life. Besides, think of all the money I save by not buying things.

When me and my future attractive husband are dead and my future successful children are left to deal with my house, they’ll be lucky I don’t hoard things or have an excess of belongings. They’ll be lucky that I understand how unnecessary so many things are and do not care for a lot of things (like decorative pillows).

My future successful children will have it fairly easy. I can’t say the same for myself though. While my parents’ eyes have been opened by the recent events with my grandparents’ house and they plan to do a small purge, they are not minimalists at all. My mother is constantly trying to get me to buy more clothes and I’m not sure how someone could need more than one or two screwdrivers, (especially if they have interchangeable bits) but I guarantee my father has several down in his workshop.

I’m not saying everyone has to immediately convert to a minimalist lifestyle or toss out all their favourite things, I’m just suggesting that perhaps you take advantage of spring and do some spring cleaning. Get rid of any old stuff. Sell it online, throw it out, or, better yet, have a garage sale! Tis the season to make dealing with your inevitable death easier on your loved ones!

That’s all for now!

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19 thoughts on “My Kids Will Be Lucky I’m Not A Hoarder

  1. I *totally* relate to this. While I wouldn’t say I’m a true minimalist (I do LOVE shoes, and have a couple pairs that I only save for special occasions that haven’t happened yet), I certainly have my limits on useless stuff, or stuff with limited uses. A perfect example is the redundant amount of stuff you found in your parents’ basement. Like you said, a married couple with a family *can* survive on only 2 or 3 sets of drinking glasses, and 2 or 3 screwdrivers, not 17. My grandparents were like this, too – my aunt is currently in the (very long) process of sorting through their house (it’s been more than a year now). Some stuff she found is worth saving, but most of it is not. Especially stuff that has been in storage for so long it’s now held together by cobwebs and mildew.

    I am going through this exact same struggle with my husband. He inherited his mother’s house, and as part of it, 50 years’ worth of junk. And it *is* junk — broken, hopelessly outdated, more spiderweb than manmade material, growing a science experiment on its packaging. I’ve been trying for the past 8 years (no lie) to get him to just THROW THE CRAP OUT already. We did clear some stuff in the last couple of years, but there is still SO much to do, and it grates on my nerves. A few months ago, I made a resolution that, from now on, when I find something broken/no longer useful/worth replacing, I’m just going to throw it out. No debating, no arguing. It is just *stuff*, and as you said, you can’t take it with you, so, seriously, what is the point of having a ton of it clutter up your house?

    • It can be hard to throw out things that belonged to parents, but getting rid of things, especially broken things, is important.
      But at least you’re trying to do some cleaning; that’s better than nothing.

      • Some stuff – like furniture that we might still restore, or tools that are still in okay shape and sometimes useful – I haven’t really cracked down on getting rid of. But for safety reasons for the kids (and their health – no one needs mold brewing in the corners of their house), I’ve diligently weeded out a fair amount of stuff. And I’m certainly not giving in anytime soon. Every month I try to do a little more, even if it’s just one closet or one area of the basement.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever related to a sentence more than “my mom keeps telling me to buy new clothes” (and the implied “But that’s not necessary) 😂😂

    • Haha it’s true. Every summer she begins her campaign to convince me to buy a cute new summer dress, even though I have one. I don’t need a summer dress, I do not wear dresses, and never will I be going someplace where I must wear a summer dress. And yet, every year, it’s the same story.

  3. I used to own a home management company. You wouldn’t believe [or maybe now you would], how many homes I contracted with that were over-flowing with stuff. My homeowners would give me license to fill ready garbage bags with things they didn’t need, or in the back of their minds, really didn’t want anymore either.

    The kicker was I had to get the bags out of sight, and in most cases off the property as soon as possible. Because when I didn’t some of my people couldn’t resist going out and retrieving the bags from the trash.

    I myself don’t have a problem parting with things I don’t need. You collect over time, and in my case, if I can’t tell myself what’s in a draw, cabinet, or closet, it’s probably about to be binned. Goodwill shoppers would love me if they knew me. I bring lots there. I actually love knowing that somebody will walk in the door and find something they have been looking for. They will be very excited, and feel like they’ve just had a great day because they hit pay-dirt.

    I’m not a minimalist, but I do like clean and tidy, straight and organized.

    • Wow, I can’t even imagine cleaning out houses for a living. I’ll admit, I personally am not the most organized person, but don’t think I can handle being in charge of other peoples’ organization. Good for you though! If people can’t handle the job themselves, it’s good to know that people like you can come in and be ruthless.
      Places like Goodwill and Value Village are great because old junk gets a new life for a good price.

      • A friend and I visited Value Village just the other afternoon. I also love watching other shoppers who happen upon something they may have been looking for a very long time. New [much appreciated] life indeed!

  4. haha I moved abroad with a large suitcase and a few boxes 😀 I love how neat my space is. Makes life so much easier but I do agree with you – colorful stuff is always better!

      • I kinda grew up like this and then let go of it once I moved out after high school, a couple years later I realized the importance of it so I’m way more organized again and it feels good. 😀

  5. Oh man, most of the women in my family are hoarders. My grandmother, my aunt, my mother, my sisters… But my mother, most of all, is quite hostile about it. If you tell her she should throw something away, you better be prepared for a fight. As a result, I’m constantly throwing things away. (But people keep giving me things. *grumble grumble*)

  6. Oh gosh, this post reminded me so much of my grandparents. I think it might be a generational thing because people who lived through the Great Depression have this strong aversion to throwing anything out and buying new things. My grandmother’s classic is keeping little pieces of string that she will tie together until they are long enough to be usable instead of just getting rid of them. And my grandfather will fix something repeatedly with parts from all kinds of appliances, refusing to buy new things. Mind you, they have had their stove for almost 60 years now and it’s still going strong. My mother and I are hoping to help them tidy up their basement though so they at least know what they have and where to find it.

    • It definitely is a generational thing. I was talking to my mom about that actually. Since our grandparents grew up in times like the Depression and when a lot of families were dirt poor, throwing out anything was a big NO. Compare that to us now where consumerism is at its highest and we throw out anything and everything. My mom also noted that since our lifestyles have changed so much now that we can’t do as our grandparents did and keep things. The cost of living is too high for us to simply afford a big place to live in and keep all our inherited furniture and unnecessary things, and, with our jobs so unsecure and perhaps moveable, we don’t necessarily stay in one place anyway, so we only have what we need. By the time we have a stable job and a place big enough, we’ll buy new stuff because we don’t have an attachment to our dead great aunt’s coffee table.
      I didn’t want to get into this too much in the post, but yeah, it’s pretty wild. I looooove your grandmother’s string thing, though! That’s such a grandma move. 😀

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