Getting rid of sentimental items - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 02:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some input on stuff that I've been struggling with for a long time.

My grandmother died 3 years ago. She was an amazing woman - she wrote 4 books, published poetry, sculpture, pottery (made all her own dishes), drawings, photography, etc. When she died, I received everything. Literally everything.
I have boxes and boxes (about 10.....) of just papers! Her writing - short stories, earlier versions and notes on the books she wrote, funny sayings jotted down on scraps of paper, photographs, letters from the 1930's. I absolutely hate getting rid of any of it. I refuse to throw it all away....I want to keep some of it to pass on to my own kids. However....I would like to cut it in half. I've already thrown away letters to her from people I didn't know (recent correspondence). That's about where it ends.

Has anyone else been in this sort of dilemma? How in the world do I pare this stuff down and not have major regrets about it in later years? This stuff is irreplaceable....not like having 3 toasters, KWIM?

Thanks for your input.....

Shannon & Paul...married since 2000. Parents to Alexander Paul Martin - 30 October, 2003 Grace Elizabeth Maile - 12 June, 2009
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#2 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 03:07 AM
 
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havent had to do that myself......could you separate things into piles and go from there?
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#3 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 03:33 AM
 
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Do you have any other family members who might cherish some of these items?
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#4 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity
Do you have any other family members who might cherish some of these items?
Don't I wish!! I'm the only child of an only child....and my mom was pretty much written out of the will - they didn't get along at all.
I have given away lots of stuff to various good friends and nieces (my second...or is that first-once-removed? cousins)....but there's still so much. I even gave away stuff to some of DH's family members and MY good friends! Pretty much everyone I know has something from my grandmother's house displayed in their own house. :LOL

Shannon & Paul...married since 2000. Parents to Alexander Paul Martin - 30 October, 2003 Grace Elizabeth Maile - 12 June, 2009
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#5 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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Wow, your grandmother sounds amazing! Can you incorporate some of her things into your own life and get rid of what you are using? Like use her pottery as your dishes, hang her drawings, display her sculpture? Might some of it be useful for teaching your kids down the road? For example, I have all my grandfather's army medals. My son is now really interested in military history. So I plan to have my son help me research what each medal was for. Then I'm hoping down the road to have some of the medals framed and send them to my brother. He knew my grandfather, whereas I didn't, so I think they would be more meaningful to him. Plus I never know what to get him for his birthday- two problems solved!

I had to clean out my parents' house last summer and faced a somewhat similar problem with papers. My dad was a professor who wrote a couple of books and was working on others. He had tons of papers. I tried to keep some representative sample of it- outlines from some of his favorite courses, an overview of the book he was writing, some key correspondence that I found particularly interesting or funny. I also kept a couple of his dictation tapes- the content was dry but I love having something with his voice. He had terrible handwriting, so I ended up pitching lots of stuff I couldn't read. And in the later part of his life, he worked on computer, and realistically I am never going to sit down and read all his computerized stuff, so I got rid of it.

I also have boxes of photos, etc. I hope someday to do a keepsake box for each of my parents and grandparents. Hopefully being limited to a certain size box will help me be selective.

While decluttering is great, I think you are smart to try to hold on to some of these things. Your goal of cutting the papers in half seems really sensible to me. As an older child and teenager, I was really interested in my ancestors, so I hope you will keep enough to carry on your grandmother's memory!
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#6 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 09:59 PM
 
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If you really want most of the stuff, you could scan it into your computer and toss the hard copies of most of it to save space.
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#7 of 9 Old 06-16-2005, 10:57 PM
 
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I'll bet the historical society in her home town would love to have her papers. They will archive and preserve them. You could probably make a deal with them to always have access to them.

Momma to three fine children, one that lives in my heart and two that live in my arms.
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#8 of 9 Old 06-19-2005, 10:01 PM
 
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Is there a local museum near you ? Or a genealogical society ? I'd bet dollars to donuts that they'd LOVE that kind of stuff.

Canadian mom to Boo (Aug '02), Bug (Aug '04) and Bear (Dec '06).
Jesse (July '09)
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#9 of 9 Old 06-20-2005, 02:11 AM
 
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Lol we spent tonight 'scanning'.
I like it as you can hold on to things without keeping them physically.
I also take pictures of things I 'need' to hold onto but can't afford the space..like my kid's stuffed animals - we take pictures and put them into an album.

Keep in mind she wouldn't like you to be dragged down by too much stuff.
Also think of donating as you can get a tax reciept sometimes or just feel good. You could also just 'pick' a family ask your local women's shelter.

I like the idea of putting it together for a museum, geneological exhibit.
Or you could always write a book on her for the family. My dh is big into geneology...a few members of my family have published books (one uncle published one copy...sigh) Contact your local society and they can probably tell you how to preserve it properly and what your options are. She sounds like such a neat woman I can understand why its hard.

I keep reminding my parents that they got to think about paring down now, and have to do the same myself...its such an ongoing battle though! My friend has her mother's stuff stored in a storage locker for 7 years...what a task!

Alison

8 might be enough
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