Conquering Clutter

“We love stuff. We hate stuff. How did we get so much? And how can we ever dig out?”

This timely article, “Conquering Clutter” by David Dudley, appeared in the January & February 2007 issue of AARP Magazine. I think most genealogists can relate to dealing with clutter–after all, aren’t we the ultimate pack rats? I am not sure I totally agree with his approach to some of the items discovered in his parents house, but having had to do the same thing this summer while preparing to sell my own parents’ place, I can understand and sympathize. One sentence in the piece actually sounds like I could have written it: “Left behind in their vacated home was yet another subset of that stuff, the stubborn dead-enders. For several weekends I labored at this archaeological dig until the last holdouts were donated, auctioned off, or stuffed into my garage and basement to await some uncertain fate.”

In addition to all of the family documents, photographs and other memorabilia that I save because I know they are valuable to my genealogical research, I am also stuck with about 50 vases of all shapes, sizes and colors (my mother must have received a lot of flowers during her lifetime), all of my mother’s dishes from milestone anniversaries, boxes of tools from my father who was a carpenter and did not just have one hammer, but 10, multiple wrenches, saws, and other tools, and every size bolt, nut, nail and screw imaginable!

Anyway, for anyone who is faced with the task of cleaning out their parents’ or elderly relative’s house, or for those who find themselves collecting stuff “just in case” or because it is “cool to have” I think this article provides some good points for reflection!