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Susan Adcox

Reasons for Clutter, Excuses Not to Declutter: Grandparents Have Both

By January 27, 2013

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There are some good reasons why some grandparents have a clutter problem:

  • Most of us have had half a century or more to accumulate things.
  • Many of us are still housing some of our kids' belongings, even if the kids themselves moved out long ago.
  • We may have inherited items from deceased parents.
  • Our kids and grandkids may be enthusiastic gifters. We appreciate the thought but don't always need the objects.
  • Many grandparents are frugal, which makes it more difficult for us to throw away or give away items.

Genevieve Parker Hill aims to change our ways with her book, Minimalism for Grandparents. When I finished reading Hill's hints for decluttering, I was inspired to start working on my house immediately. I didn't start, though, because my two grandsons were coming the next day. And then I had a granddaughter's birthday celebration coming up, and I needed to research some travel destinations for a trip we are planning to make with our kids and grandkids this summer.

That's another reason why some grandparents never get around to getting rid of the clutter. They'd rather be with the grandchildren.

Do you have the problem of too many things? If not, how have you tamed the tendency to accumulate too much?

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January 27, 2013 at 6:20 am
(1) granny annie says:

Oh boy sister, you hit the nail on the head. I am especially mindful of our need to minimize while all our construction is going on. I have moved piles of this and that here and there to get it out of their way and wondered why I have all this stuff. Then I think about getting rid of it and all the reasons why pour in. My moms stuff, my grandparents stuff, and yes, still storing things for my 40 + year old kids. More sentimental value than intrinsic value.

January 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(2) grandparents says:

I’m with you, Granny Annie. The author of Minimalism, Genevieve Parker Hill, points out that with sentimental objects, the value does not reside in the thing but in the memories it evokes. The problem is how to get rid of the object and hold on to the memories. Hill has several good suggestions, but you do have to hold on to some things that are just too embued with precious memories to give away.

January 31, 2013 at 10:03 am
(3) Genevieve Parker Hill says:

As the author of the book you mention, I think you’ve brought up a great point! I think spending time with the grandkids is a great priority to have, even if it means decluttering gets done a little later. Depending on how old your grandkids are, it might be fun for them to help you with going through your things, especially if they like to hear stories about your life or their parents lives – you might find some things that could lead to some great stories and memories! If you break down the task into small sections (one room or, even one shelf at a time) they might want to help. Cookies help too :)

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