Packing Up Memories

            House moving. Downsizing. How do you pack up 36 years of memories? They drape all our walls with paintings, photographs, and tapestries. Cram every corner with pine cones, aquatic shells, and pebbles. They crowd our spacious cupboards with scrapbooks and journals jam-packed with fond anecdotes. Yet I can’t live without them.
Where did all this stuff come from?

Then there’s just plain stuff. It’s alive, you know, and it multiplies. Truly! Stuff in the attics. We have three! Stuff in those large closets. We have too many and each child has one of their own. And you’d think the kids would take all their “stuff” with them when they leave. Nope! But how can I discard the first story they ever wrote? How can I throw out the clay art they’ve created? These are milestones as well as treasure. You find yourself reading everything and remembering. This takes inordinate amounts of time. Packing up a home and moving usually does. But you’re taken back to those special years. Smiles return. Laughter fills the rooms and warms your heart. 

So how do you let go of the memories? How do you organize so much stuff, so many rooms? How do you shed some things that can’t possibly fit into a small three-bedroom rancher when you’ve lived in—and filled up—a two-story colonial?

You share. You share with those you love and with those who need.

We shared bedroom dressers and headboards and night stands. We shared dining room tables and chairs. We shared kitchen pots and pans and appliances. Computers and televisions and desks. Books and vases. Linens and towels and clothes and gowns. So much stuff. So many meticulously labeled boxes. So many moving trucks. So many trips to our rancher in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. 

And then you keep some stuff, just because, no matter where you will stick it in your new home. You simply can’t part with everything. Okay, so maybe I can’t. If I ever finish unpacking the boxes in our new home, I’ll find out if I have room for everything. 

So what did the Lees troops learn about packing up a home full of memories and moving? I mean besides that we all needed more patience and more time and less bubble wrap and fewer boxes. 

After we moved our oldest daughter—and all her stuff—into her sister’s home. After my husband and I moved three hours away, into a rehabbed home we are still rehabbing. And then just when we thought we were finished packing up and moving, we had to move my 96-year-old mother-in-law into a nursing home. What we have learned is that we never want to move again! We simply have too much stuff. I guess we always will. We are truly blessed.

4 thoughts on “Packing Up Memories”

  1. Hi Victoria – hadn't realised you'd been moving … well some adjustments all round – hope everything works out … for your daughter, for that family, for your MIL and for yourselves. Yes – packing and unpacking is horrific … I've done rather more than I want to do … I agree space and place for things are essential … take care – and keep going … it'll be distinctly easier soon. All the best – Hilary

  2. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Hilary. It is appreciated more than you know. My daughter calls me every day to tell me how she's settling in with her sister and decorating her room and finding places for everything. Lucky lady! Of course I have more rooms than she does. And much, much, much more stuff. The thing is I'm going through my stuff AND my mother-in-law's stuff and paperwork. All while my husband tries to complete the renovations on our home.

    Yikes! Like I said, I truly appreciate your encouragement. And your comment here at Camping with Five Kids. All best to you, Hilary!

  3. I hope so, Michelle. Like I told Hilary above, I need to settle my mother-in-law's things as well. Her mind is slipping and she needs constant care. Just to find things–both for her and me–is driving me crazy.

    I'm so glad you stopped by Camping with Five Kids and left a note. It's greatly appreciated. Thanks for your kind words. All best to you!


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