Monday, January 11, 2016

Clean out the shed and share the stories

Over the Christmas / New Year break, my sister and I faced up to the daunting tast of clearing out the shed at our family home.  After the deaths of our father in 2013 and mother in May 2015, and having already sorted the contents of the house, if was time to face the shed.  And not just any shed, but a SHED!  3 car garage with a workshop the same size behind, with another smaller shed at the rear, our shed is bigger than many a house. 

Full to the brim with the accumulation of over 40 years in the same house, packed even further when I moved home to care for our aging parents, it was a substantial undertaking.  Amidst all the junk - unfinished knitting and sewing projects, chipped crockery, non-working electrical appliances, old light fittings, etc - we found treasures!  Baby cards received when each of us were born, old photos we had never seen, travel journals kept by our mother on long-ago trips, letters written by our father just before our parents' marriage, so many things!  An emotional journey, several times we found ourselves wishing so much that our parents were still with us so we could ask all the questions the items we found created for us.  Why had this china cup been kept?  Whose was it and how long had it been in the family?  There were so many bits and pieces put away that we had no idea of the history of, and so generally didn't keep.  If my sister and I didn't know, there was no one left to ask.

What items do you have tucked away in odd corners, rarely taken out and dusted off??  When was the last time you had a sort-through of that cupboard, closet or shed where you put all those things you never use but cannot part with??  Do your children or grandchildren know the stories behind those treasures you have stored away??  If they don't, chances are they will dismiss those items as junk and they will be lost.  If your children don't know the story behind Great Aunt Mary's tea set - or even that the tea set in the shed was Great Aunt Mary's and not something you picked up on a whim at a jumble sale - then they will have no reason to keep it, value it, and ultimately pass it on to another generation.

So over the next few weekends, I will be busy scanning and digitising photos, letters and journals, preserving them, and their story, for future generations.  I will also be having a look at some of the stuff I keep 'just because', and maybe having a little clean out of my own.

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