I have plans to visit my dear Aunt Ruth back in Pittsburgh, PA. She is on a waiting list for a new apartment and it's time to reduce the amount of "stuff" that has to be moved from one end of town to another. Aunt Ruth has lived in the same place for many years and has accumulated a lot of "stuff," so even though I'm looking forward to spending time with her, the thought of going through years of collecting is daunting.
Aunt Ruth is an artist and many of her friends were artists; so she has lots of art throughout her home. She also has stacks of paper, matboard, glass, frames, thousands of photographs, scads of sketchbooks, and albums recording all the art workshops she took over the years. I'm sure we'll take hours going through these things and will probably box them up for her new location.
But there will also be drawers of clothes, purses, and shoes she hasn't worn in ten years or more. Not to mention chipped dishes, dented pots and pans, multiple can openers and screw drivers, unopened boxes of stale crackers, matches from all over the world, art magazines stacked to the ceiling, old linens and doilies, and bric-a-brac that needs dusting - a life's collection of stuff. It won't be easy for her to part with a lot of these possessions even though they have sat unused for years. I hope I can be gentle and kind, patient and tolerate as I convince my 86 year old aunt to part with her past and move on to her future in a smaller, safer home.