Life and Pets

Relax, dammit! …

This is what I’ve been telling myself. I’ve been awake since before 5 am.. I don’t know why I’ve been so “wound up” about this death cleaning thing. I’m not OCD (at least, not about very many things), nor a clean or neat freak (as late parents and past and present husbands would attest). I am not really at the other end of the scale, a true hoarder, collector, nor a slob.

And as I said in a previous post, I have no premonition of my own demise. One of Shelly’s contemporaries remarked that it seemed morbid to call any kind of tidying, “Swedish Death Cleaning”, to which she responded, “Why? It’s not like any of us get out of this alive!”. I suppose the phrase is quite shocking to some, so I might quit bringing it up in public, as it requires an explanation, and almost nobody thinks it as funny as I do. But if your parents and grandparents have never embraced such a concept, scarcely worried about what others will do with their “stuff”, or have been any level of “hoarders”, you might not have to go through what my family has or what I am struggling with right now.

Swedish Death Cleaning

I always admire someone who can show me their great grandmother’s ring, or some other precious item from generations ago. I’m afraid that I will accidentally get rid of some such thing from my past. Truth is, although Myrtle was my mother for 40 years, and I knew her mother as well, I have in my possession a curious mixture of junk, abjectly worthless crap, and such precious items as I mentioned. I wrote notes to attach to only a few items of sentimental value and feel pangs of guilt to find trinkets that I’ve forgotten the stories about. There were so many things and so many long tales. Sometimes Myrtle had forgotten the stories attached her own “stuff”, but she had not purged very much during her whole adult life.

This is so tedious! There is a market for “junk drawer” contents and “Broken Jewellery” on eBay, but I worry that I would be adding a gold chain of value, for example, to a collection that someone will pay just a few dollars for. On the other hand, why should I care?


One hilarious aspect to this is that I have my own vintage jewellery now! Earrings and bracelets that I’ve had since I was a teenager now can be branded as such. Here’s a guideline, one of many online:  Meaning of Vintage & Antique

I can sell my own stuff on Facebook and eBay with a clear conscience. Myrtle’s voice is still in my head, “You never take care of anything …”, and when I unearth items that I’d forgotten I’d had, but were carefully stored, I think, “SEE! I DO take care of some things.”

I’m repeating myself, I know. I could be using this time for more Swedish Death Cleaning. Thanks for reading me repeating myself. I love you for visiting my Blog.

This might be the last time I go on at length on this topic.

~ Ann

p.s. The photo I’m adding is not actually my junk drawer treasure, but one of many listed on eBay. But it could be my picture: I simply haven’t composed my own yet… too busy adding stuff and taking things back out. Seriously.

2 thoughts on “Relax, dammit! …

  1. Because you posted this on Facebook, I was reminded of your blog and the fact that I don’t often take the time to read it. You’re a great writer, Ann, and I need to spend more time with your interesting blog.

    The photo of the overflowing jewelry box definitely caught my eye! I had a similar one with not quite so much in it, but there were many items of sentimental value as well as monetary value. Notice that I said that I “HAD” . . . last January my home was burglarized and everything is gone. You talked about what if you had a fire, then you wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with everything in that jewelry box. Since I have no children, my jewelry was listed in my Trust to go to my sister, then she could worry about what to do with it. Now she will no longer have that burden.

    You cannot imagine how devastating this loss was for me. A ring that was my grandmother’s . . . a ring purchased by my parents on a trip to Poland as a gift for me . . . many beautiful items given to me by my husband. And the list goes on and on. Even now I recall something that had been there and my heart feels sad all over again. I know it was just “stuff,” but it was precious stuff that was a part of my life.

    You might consider sitting down with your daughters and going through everything together, allowing them to take what they want. In a sense, passing those memories on to them. Take your time. Perhaps think of it as a hobby, one that you spend a couple of hours a week on and then set it aside ’til the following week. Thanks for letting me share this with you, dear friend.

  2. Thank you for adding a bit of perspective to this situation, Shay. I’m truly sorry about your ordeal and will try to find more opportunities to pass along the heirlooms … and not presume what would be of little importance to my girls.

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