Friday, September 11, 2009

Working with Family

For those who've been reading here or following on Twitter for a while you know that my dad passed away last November. Since Mom died several years earlier that left my siblings and I with the task of cleaning out their house.

Cleaning out your parent's house does not conjure the same image for all people. Some parents' homes are small and uncluttered. For others it's large and uncluttered. Some parents downsize during retirement. Some parents expand their home to accommodate in-laws and grandchildren.

For my family, my parent's home is a medium size home, but it was very cluttered. My parents both grew up during the Great Depression and with the mentality that almost everything should be saved because it surely it would or could be used at some time by some one in the future.

My sister and I have been methodically working through all this clutter to try and get down to the usable stuff. We've met at Dad's house one day each week since the beginning of January. There have been a few weeks we missed, but not many. Most of what we've been dealing with is the paperwork clutter. The years and years worth of financial records, assorted generations of photographs in various locations that eventually filled an entire chest of drawers, years and years of magazines that had been kept, teaching notes from 40+ years of Sunday School, and (we've guesstimated) ~2500 books, plus more that I can't even recall at the moment.

This last week my brother took a week of vacation and flew in (he lives 2000 miles away) to help deal with Dad's workshop and work barn.

He, my brother-in-law, my husband, and we two sisters have spent the better part of the last 7 days sorting through power tools, hand tools -- old and new, nails, screws, scrap wood, bottles and bottles of various household toxic fluids (paint thinners, de-greasers, engine oils and more). And we've made good headway. The guys completely cleaned out the top of the barn (where they found our old sled and the old manual mower) as well as cleaning out the bulk of the workshop. I am so encouraged by the progress that has been made.

I am exceedingly grateful for my siblings right now.

Yes, sometimes they get on my nerves. I'm sure I've gotten on theirs too. We don't always agree on what should be kept, sold or tossed. But, for the most part it has not been a divisive process. We have continued to plug away at all the stuff.

I am extremely grateful that I have not had to go through this process and all this stuff alone. If I had to do it alone I would not be nearly as far along in the process as we are. And, I would be far more exhausted. The physical and mental exhaustion from going through each item in the house and making a decision about it is nearly indescribable.

My family, willing to work together, not against each other - most definitely A Finer Thing!

1 comment:

Amy @ Finer Things said...

What a blessing to have siblings! My mom and dad are the opposite... they live very uncluttered, and often comment "I shouldn't have tossed that." But my husband's parents? I dread the day that we have to pack up their cluttered, messy farm. :(


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