Materialistic Bitterness

My sister and I took my mother out to her storage unit to purge some things. We barely made a dent in the two hours we were there and it was by far frustrating.

I realized my sister has far more patience than I do. Our mother hangs on to things that she hasn’t touched in years. Half of the items she has either forgotten about, or it strikes up a memory, or she swears she “might use it some day”

Mother is having significant difficulty letting things go. Ever time my sister or I would hold something up, our mother would say “keep”. I have been coaxing my mom for a little over a year to let go of these things.

She just won’t let go.

I understand it’s hard for her because those material items are her memories but those things have been in storage for so long she can’t remember what she even has. And what is really hard is trying to be productive without her taking a 10 minute trip down memory lane.

What is also hard for us kids, is that she struggles monthly on a fixed income and tells us about her struggles but will religiously make those high storage payments.

Every time she tells me of a money struggle, I tell her she’d have the extra money if she would clean out her storage and she tells me the same line each time, “I know, but you have to understand those are your dad’s and I memories, 50 years worth!”

Defeated each time. And each time she feels overwhelmed. Yet she continues to talk about how she needs to clean out the storage but she needs help doing it. It is a vicious cycle.

After my father had passed away several years ago, I realized for myself that I didn’t want to hang on to meaningless material things. Especially if they are packed away. I decided to really clean things out in my own home and it felt great. However I still have a few bins in the garage that I want to purge but my husband keeps telling me no and it’s frustrating because it’s mostly my stuff. So it continues to sit in the garage. At least it’s organized.

Just like the leaves in the fall, our habits change, our tastes change. We mature, we grow and we move on. We feel fresh and alive with change, with the seasons.

We accept the change of the seasons, from summer to fall to winter to spring. So why is it difficult to accept the change of decluttering? We are not meant to be bound by the stresses of clutter.

The freedom of letting go from a clutter prison feels refreshing, almost magical.

Try telling that to my mother. Sigh.

Photograph by Robin Moreau

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