I have become convinced that being a packrat is hereditary, and only the knowledge that I will eventually have to move my stuff has prevented me from collecting more stuff than I have already. Grandma, on the other hand was a women of legendary thrift, having been a farmer's wife through the great depression and World War 2. In her later years was able to save money from a minimal Social Security check. One of her strategies for saving money (at least in her mind, anyway) was to reuse and hoard just about anything that might conceivably have utility.
I am getting ready to move out of my grandmother's old
farm house, which is not only holding all of my stuff, but still contains much of the stuff that she collected and saved in the 45 years she spent here in this house. I suspect there is stuff she had in the old house that my grandparents tore down when this house was completed in 1949. Grandma passed away 5 years ago, and hasn't lived here for almost 12 years, but her presence is still felt in many ways. She was born in 1899, when there were no airplanes, no radio, and automobiles were a curiousity. In her youth, she probably knew men who fought in the Civil War. As my days in the old house grow short, the burden of sorting through and disposing of the accumulated stuff has taken on a new urgency. She collected a lot of stuff during her long life, and knew exactly where it was even late into her 90's. Among the things she has saved:
A large drawer full of breadwrappers
At least 2 large cookie tins of buttons
At least a dozen cores from old windowshades
Enough old dishes and pots and pans to outfit at least 3 or 4 households
Large quantities of miscellaneous knick-knacks and dust collectors
In additions to truckloads of household goods, I have also had to determine the fate of more personal things. Among them were boxes of cards sent to her shortly after the death of my grandfather. Most of the people who sent them are probably gone, and I don't really have room to keep them, yet I feel compelled to keep at least some of the contents of that box. Same goes for old photographs. I find photo albums of people I never knew, but also some treasures, such as pictures of my dad just before he shipped out to Korea in 1950, his letters from the front, some baby pictures of myself and my siblings, and my parents as newlyweds. Though much has to be thrown out, much needs to be kept as well. I have to keep this node short, I have to get back to work.