Can’t take them with me. Nobody wants them. What do I do now? I know I’m not the only one in this dilemma. I need to downsize, but what do I do with my “stuff?”

I knew this was coming. Youngest granddaughter Charlotte warned me one day when we were looking for the crayons so she and her brother could color. “You’ve got a lot of stuff,” she announced.

She was right.

I never thought it was too much. Everything told a story or had a purpose, and everything had a place so the house wasn’t cluttered. It was comfy, homey and just the way we wanted it. I’m not liking it too much right now.

There are a few antiques and, yes, there are some family heirlooms. No one seems to care about any of that. Age has no relevance in this Target and IKEA world. Large furniture items are scorned. There are only two categories that interest families. Only two, not enough. The women want my recipes; the men, Walt’s tools.

What about all the scrapbooks and photograph albums? The answer is “Thanks, but no.” The dishes? The embroidered pictures? Same response. So, I make lists; church, thrift, friends, etc.

I understand that my metal African violet sculpture is of no interest to them. It remains precious to me. It adorned the desk of my very first public school homeroom teacher when we rural and parochial school students transferred into high school. That welcoming teacher gave it to me when I graduated. Surely, someone somewhere will love it for itself and not the back-story. I have to believe that.

Our thrift stores, auction houses and e-Bay keep “stuff” like mine from the landfill. I am grateful to them and to any other intermediate steps that ease parting with worldly goods, especially the humble ones.

Such possessions as those now surrounding me are the remnants of lives well lived. I need to find ways in which they will be reused and appreciated. I am trying hard to get past the point of caring what goes where, but I am not there yet.

Be on the lookout for unusual things appearing in unusual places. Right now, I am looking at a chocolate pitcher, a hand-painted plate and some mounted butterflies. If the church had its annual bazaar and auction scheduled, such items would go there. As it is, your own group could find itself the recipients. Then what will you do with your “stuff?”

Margaret Hays is a longtime Osawatomie resident who writes a weekly column for The Miami County Republic.

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