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Lighter Living Task #15 Heirlooms

Set of antique silverware

Lighter Living is more than a book. Lighter Living Tasks are weekly suggestions to make progress on decluttering, organizing and simplifying your life. By working on parts of your home each week, you will breaking big projects into small, manageable tasks.

Heirlooms can be either precious or a burden. Now might be a great time to think about which category those relics fit into. The website Apartment Therapy sums it up well when they published an article entitled, Sorry Parents: Nobody Wants the Family Heirlooms. I have had to disperse a large quantity of heirlooms from my parents. In some cases, family members kept a few special things but many had to be sold or donated to people or charities who had an interest in the item.

Because my parents lived in separate homes since 1977 when they divorced, I had two houses to clear. It was a monumental task for me. Currently as I am staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, I am reassessing each niche in each room. Since I have downsized and been decluttering for a while now, I don’t have as much stuff to sort. But this time of isolation is giving me a chance to take a deeper look at what I own.

Not all of my possessions are heirloom quality. Some of my things are just objects I use or enjoy looking at. Since I am home all the time except for walks and bike rides, I am becoming more sensitive to what surrounds me in my home. I am not able to sell or donate things right now, but have bags and boxes ready to go when quarantine is over. I have a heightened sense of my home as an oasis in a time of crisis. And for me, that means a tidy home that feels like a refuge during the storm.

I find myself agitated and anxious about the state of the world now. But I feel I am doing something important when I “Death Clean”. That term is from the book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. Magnusson writes. “Mess is an unnecessary source of irritation.” NBC News published an article entitled, What is ‘Swedish Death Cleaning’ and should you be doing it? Go ahead. Clean your closet like there’s no tomorrow.

This is a time where one might pull out heirlooms such as silver or china and use them once and determine if they should stay or go. A meal with those place settings might be a fitting goodbye ceremony before they are placed in the pile of items to disperse. Or you may fall in love with those old pieces and start using them regularly.

In the future when you are on the other side of the Corvid-19 pandemic, the last thing you are going to want to do is stay home and sort through your stuff. If decluttering or organizing was previously on your list of things you wanted to do, this might be the time. If not now, when? Whether you sort regular stuff or dig into heirlooms, feel satisfaction by making the most of your home confinement. 

Between tasks posted on this blog, be sure to read Lighter Living if you have not already.