My grandparents recently passed away. They knew it was coming (they were quite old, and not in the best of health), and prepared ahead of time by asking each of us to pick the things we wanted from the house. I chose my father’s senior portrait and a miniature cast-iron stove that I played with as a child. They tried to sell me on their furniture – didn’t I want their dresser, or perhaps a table?
I simply do not have any room for more stuff. The one furniture heirloom I have, a small dining table that my great-grandfather made out of the wood from a bar his father once owned, is currently in my garage because I don’t have room for it in the house.
In other words, I have my own stuff…I don’t need anyone else’s.
Granted, most of my stuff is crap. I have what was a nice couch (the leather was a wise selection…the color, pearl, not so much), and I spent an embarrassing amount** on the rocker recliner I bought while pregnant with Anya, but most of what I own is scuffed-up flat pack. Not even IKEA – more Target/Walmart.
But that’s okay, because the kids are demolishing it all. I decided long ago that once they’re past the destructive little-kid years, I’m just going to toss everything and start from scratch. Furniture, curtains, dishes…the works.
It’s a nice thought, anyway. But I imagine I’ll keep some of it, too. Because where we live now, where we will live five years from now, these are likely not our forever homes. We may not have a forever home. Strange as that is for me to wrap my mind around. I always thought I’d have a family homestead by now. But I don’t, and it’s starting to look like I never will.
And that’s okay. I’d much rather move on from here in 10 or 20 years, maybe to someplace with seasons, than to get into a rut and never grow. That will be a lot easier to pull off if I don’t have a house full of stuff that I have to drag along with me because it once belonged to someone else and therefore has sentimental value. And, of course, a minimalist house is easier to keep clean.
Anyway, my grandparents didn’t understand. I think they were taken aback, really. And I get it. They didn’t have a lot when they were growing up, because they grew up in the Depression. Nobody gave them anything. They worked really hard for all that stuff they had. And my ungrateful butt didn’t want it. WTH?
What is important to me, though, isn’t things. Not furniture, anyway. My daughter’s drawings. Baby clothes. My gigs upon gigs of photos and videos. The mold I made of their handprints. These are my treasures. When I am gone, probably no one else will want this stuff, but it is my wealth.
For everything else, there’s always Target.
*Yes, I am Gen X, but I share a lot of traits with Millennials. The brokeness. The technology addiction. And the aversion to heirlooms that weigh more than I do.
**$800. Just because I wanted slate blue microsuede. Pregnancy hormones make you crazy.