Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Sorting Out Mum's Stuff
I've been helping my dad sort out all the belongings in his house in Liverpool, so he can put it on the market. Since my mum died in June 2005 he has been living for longer and longer periods in their holiday home in Ireland. He has everything he needs there, so he only has to find a few things of sentimental value to keep and the rest of the contents of the Liverpool 6-bedroom house (2 reception rooms, huge cellar and attic - I'm not trying to sell you the house, just describe how big it is) need to be taken to charity shops, the Salvation army, or just dumped in a skip.
But it's not a job you can do with a JCB. Dad and I are going through everything item by item. In the back of a kitchen cupboard we found a tiny box containing mum's engagement ring. She took it off when chemotherapy made her hands swell up. Now I'm wearing it. We also found a huge bottle of the only cleaner dad likes to clean his glasses with. His tiny spray bottle had lasted five years but is nearly empty, and Google has not heard of the company that makes it. He's over the moon to now have a lifetime's supply of the stuff. There are treasures like this all over. After three days we have nearly finished one room.
It's a painful business, throwing out things that my mum chose and used and loved. It's also painful to get rid of a lot of stuff that still has life in it. If I had a huge barn I would have kept, for example, broken wooden furniture for firewood, enough crockery to last a lifetime if you don't care about it matching, bathtowels and clothes that can be used until they're rags, then used for patchwork or rag rugs or dusters etc. But I just don't have space to store it all.
Dad is keeping some stuff, and I am keeping some things too. Things I can use immediately. Things that are sentimentally significant, like mum's ring. Things that mum made. She was crafty, like me. I'll photograph some and post them soon.