Barb’s Buzz – The Pack Rat

My kids have given me this name.   I have earned it.
However, consider the amount of years that I have been around, accumulating.
65 years. And married 41 years.  Accumulated stuff of my own. Then add another person. Then add two kids. A daughter-in-law. A son-in-law. A mother-in-law. Two grandchildren.
We have toys at our house that the grandchildren can play with during their visits with us. Our adult kids ask “Can you store this at your house for me mom?” And our parents that down-sized and passed away, left us with their treasures. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” as the saying goes.
I must clarify that I do not consider myself a “Hoarder”. I learned re-cycling at an early age. Precious memoirs or just one more thing to have to find a use and place for? I will explain myself.  I grew up learning and appreciating recycling from my  creative parents. For example, I learned to make gift tags from greeting cards. Cut to gift tag size and punch a hole in the corner. Sign to and From on the back. Run a piece of ribbon, often times the curly variety and attach to the gift. I will keep this recycling idea because I love the way these gift tags look.  And what is wrong with recycling pretty greeting cards?
The gift tags take up very little space. Store them in a small card box.  I also recycle gift ribbon, bows and wrap.
And then there are shelves loaded with books from my childhood.including text books from college courses. Fiction, the classics, kids books, Bibles, Bible studies, Music CD’s and movies.
I come from a generation of artists and treasure my collection of art. My father and my uncle were professional Commercial artists. My daughter and I are hobby artists. I have a large collection of art hanging on the walls. I have given some away. I also have a closet full. I rotate the artwork.
Accumulating things is one of the easiest things to do.  Included in the mix are so-called  “family heirlooms”  that were more important to the original owner than a younger relative.  Parents down size.
Kids move away and do not have storage space.  Relatives pass on and leave something special for you to keep for memory sake.
Whoa!  All of a sudden, you feel so encumbered by stuff.  It’s time to down size. Keep things simple. Less complicated.  Time to clear out.
Step one.  Find an Antique shop or a retail shop that might take things on consignment so that you might receive some money in return to put toward travel. Donate to services that help the needy such as Good Will Industries, Saint Vincent DePaul, Inner City or church resale shops.
I dreaded  thinking about this  time in my life. And now it is upon me.
O.K.  I am sharing my thoughts with you on how to simplify your lives so you and I do not feel so overwhelmed and  encumbered with “things”.  It just adds to the confusion and frustration. Fewer possessions give us more time to relax and enjoy each day.
My New Years  resolution is to try  to keep life simple.
Barb's Buzz small
~ Barb Johnson is a journalist living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.~
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