What to do when you are the caretaker of all the ‘stuff’
One of the things that keeps my work interesting after 15 years of organizing and decorating is that I discover something new with almost every client. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working with a client who is moving. Technically I guess you could say she’s downsizing. She’s going from a 5,500 square foot house to a year-round cottage of 1,200 square feet and a townhouse of 2,200 square feet.
At our first meeting we did a tour of her large house and we looked at all the stuff she had. When you do a quick walkthrough you don’t see what looks like a lot of stuff. It’s all stored in closets, cupboards and cabinets so the house is pretty neat and tidy. I did learn that she couldn’t find most of what she had because it was spread around the house. Another point for small space living.
You sure can have a lot of stuff neatly sorted and organized and tucked away in a house of that size. It’s when you start to look at moving it all that you realize how much you have. My client initially told me that she didn’t want to drag most of that stuff with her to her new houses. Apparently it had all been moved many times before and most of it never gets used. But, alas, she got cold feet.
Not to say that we didn’t make any progress. She did let go of what I would call the easy stuff. Pillows, bedding, lamps and excess furniture. Games either went to a reseller or to donation. The My Little Pony collection, the Barbies and some Starbucks bears went for resale. The household stuff was pretty easy and the toys and games were ones that her daughter left in her custody and doesn’t want back, so time to pass them on.
There is still a collection of Lands End collector bears that Bob, who came to look at the valuables, didn’t have a market for. I assume that’s because Lands End still sells them therefore they are not rare. It’s so interesting to see what types of items resellers are looking for. I thought he would take the salt and pepper shaker collection but alas, no market for those in his shop. He did take some old typewriters which was pretty cool.
You might be wondering if there was something new on this project that I haven’t seen before. Yes indeed, there was. She has a significant collection of antique dishes, bowls, plates and teacups and most of them have little sticky notes inside. When I inquired about the notes, she explained that her mother had written on each piece, who they belonged to in the family, and the age of the piece if she knew it.
Even though she agreed that she doesn’t like any of those pieces, nor will she find a use for them, she feels as though she has been assigned as caretaker of all that stuff. If someone wanted to buy the ones without notes for a few dollars, she would be able to let them go, but giving them away isn’t an option.
She says that “one of these days” she may take them to a consignment shop and see if they can be sold. Somehow exchanging a little money for them seems like the right thing to do for her. I sincerely hope “one of these days” comes soon and that maybe even some of the ones with notes can go to someone who will use them.
A collection of antique dishes, bowls, plates and teacups -- and most of them have little sticky notes inside.