What to do when you are the care­taker of all the ‘stuff’

The Southern Gazette - - Saltwire Homes - Jane Veld­hoven Stream­line Your Stuff With Stream­line Your Stuff by Jane Veld­hoven read­ers will find the lat­est tips, tricks and tools to down­size, or­ga­nize and de­clut­ter.

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.

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