Why my children don't want my stuff
One of the humbling things about having children is realising just how little they are interested in the life I had before them. I guess I kind of expected they’d be hanging on every word of every story I told them about my own growing up years, but their reaction is more along the lines of, “Oh Mum, you’ve told us that story before,” followed by a yawn. I’m exaggerating a little bit, but the point is made: my kids are more interested in living their own lives than reliving mine.
The same applies to clutter. With the exception of a (very) few selected objects, my children are not going to be interested in keeping my stuff when I die or move into a smaller home. The things I think I could be saving for them or for my potential grandchildren just aren’t going to be loved like I love them.
Lots of people keep clutter because they feel sentimental towards it. It reminds them of a family member or a special occasion in their lives. They imagine that future generations may also feel sentimental towards it, but I would imagine that in 90 per cent of cases they are wrong. Antique shops are full of stuff from deceased estate sales which surviving family members clearly didn’t want.
At a writers workshop last month I was telling someone that I write a column about decluttering. Another workshop member came over to listen.
“I’ve got too much stuff,” she said. “When we moved house we had to get one with a big enough garage for all my boxes of things.”
“Are you going to get rid of it?” I asked her.
“I’m attached to it,” she said. “But I can see that it will be a big pain for my children to clean up when I get old and pop off.”
For my own children, I think I’ll work on a book. I’ll take pictures of the things I love and write down the memories of the special times in my life and in our family. They can each have a copy – one item to sit on their shelves. Then I’ll keep decluttering so that when my time here comes to an end, the sorting of possessions will not be such a burden for the ones I leave behind.