Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moving my mom: The crossroads of nostalgia and hoarding

Over the weekend, my mom moved into her newly purchased condo.  During the move, I was in charge of organization at the condo, and Mom stayed behind at the old place, continuing to pack as the movers loaded things up, because she was nowhere near ready.  Perhaps working two jobs got in the way.  Or maybe it was scheduling time to go to my husband's concerts, or other social engagements, rather than packing.  I'm all about packing and organizing, but it's not exactly one of her favorite pastimes.

Mom had been living at my aunt's house for the past 8-10 or so years, and all her stuff was pretty much either in storage in the attic, or in her bedroom and walk-in closet.  The contents of many of the boxes that got moved into her new condo had not been seen since she last packed them up about a decade ago!

As the rest of the family unloaded boxes at the new place, I had to open some of them to figure out which rooms they should go in.  I uncovered all kinds of nostalgic items, including scout badges, photos, and other things Mom deemed important for sentimental reasons.  Here are some of the "treasures" I found, as seen in photos from yesteryear, from most recent to oldest:

Gown and stole from my brother's 2008 graduation, which she reluctantly allowed me to trash

Tigger and Eeyore (not pictured) from my son's nursery, 1996
Piglet was my son's special toy, so he is tucked safely away in a storage bin at our house, along with other memory items.  We had Tigger and Eeyore too, but since they weren't the special ones, we tried to sell them at a yard sale several years ago.  Guess who bought them because she couldn't stand the idea of us getting rid of them??? Sheesh.  When I discovered them in one of her moving boxes, I said I was going to take them back because she didn't have room for them.  She frowned and made me vow that I would not get rid of them if I did.  Hmm.

My brother's TMNT lunch box, circa early 1990s

Mom insisted on keeping the lunch box because "it's good for storing small things."  She's not one to spend money on clear plastic storage bins, much to my dismay.  Hmm ... birthday gift idea ....

Yellow honor cords from my 1993 high school graduation, which might have gotten "lost" in the move

 (I guess turquoise is Mom's go-to color for graduations???)

Bunny cake decoration circa late 1970s, plus tips and icing bags used on this very cake and many others

"Tootles" the doll, held here by my mom, circa mid 1950s

Please note that "Tootles" lost an arm, allegedly due to mistreatment by one of my uncles.  That didn't keep Mom from holding on to her beloved doll, and even passing her down to me.  We laughed over the weekend that because of Tootles' deformity, I  learned as a child to be accepting of all types of people.


Yes, my mom is a bit of a pack rat, especially when it comes to sentimental items.  She also doesn't have any interest in upgrading to new things when the old "work just fine," such as kitchen appliances, clothes, and even baggies.  Uh huh -- she washes out baggies and reuses them over and over.  I'm a recycler, but not to that extreme.

On the other end of the spectrum is me.  I host yard sales every 2-3 years to get rid of unwanted things just because it bothers me to have "stuff" around that I don't need or use regularly, even though we have lots of storage room.  And I'm always ready to upgrade to something new when what I have is looking a little worn, or even just because.  Oh, and there's hardly a sentimental bone in my body.  Only the most treasured items get kept, and each of us in our household has our own "memories" storage bin, so that everything is neatly tucked away.

Was I annoyed by all the "junk" that Mom had kept packed away all these years, even though she doesn't have room to store it?  Yep.  But did I enjoy the trips down memory lane as I unearthed her treasures?  You betcha.

Okay, what stuff are YOU holding on to, and why?  Fess up.  Or what nutty stuff have you found being stored and/or moved by your parents?


  1. Hollie, I know of someone else who recycles baggies and has to be forced into upgrading things.........especially clothing! Sound familiar?? :)

  2. I can relate to your mom's "Tootles." I still have my "best baby" that I have had since I was 2. I can also relate to the mistreatment...she has been sowed, has been patched, has had replacement parts, and still has one arm dangling by 3-4 threads. My brothers, as well,are to blame. Lol. Loving the blog btw-keep up the great work! Cara Powell


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