My grandfather was a character and a curmudgeon. He was an inventor and a writer. He loved nothing better than to tinker around in the junkyard. Why buy a tool when you could spend hours inventing one? And he never threw anything away. We found 40 years of newspapers in his attic and bags and bags of…plastic bags.
When he ran out of room in his house to stash stuff, he built a 10×15′ storage shed in his backyard. Okay, he built three of them. Trying to pack his house that he and my grandmother lived in for 40 years was so daunting that we finally just left the storage units for the buyer to deal with (a little extra cash took care of that problem!).
Years later, it was time to downsize again, from a two-bedroom apartment in an assisted living building to a shared room in a nursing home. It fell once again to my mom and me to pack up his belongings. Imagine an apartment with boxes stacked floor-to-ceiling and little winding paths from the TV to the bathroom to the kitchen and bedrooms. It was like living in a cave.
We started in his walk-in closet. We shook pages of books, and sure enough, dollar bills fell out. Sorted through his tax returns and canceled checks from the 1960s. Threw away hundreds of notices from Publisher’s Clearing House.
Then I found the wallet.
Inside the wallet was a small packet of receipts. Enclosed in plastic. Secured by a rubber band.
There was a typed note on top of the receipts.
Now it’s over my desk.
I’m really trying hard. Overcoming three generations of “pack-rat-ism” ain’t easy. It might be genetic. And I married a packrat, too.
So I understand the feeling that many older sellers have that maybe it’s just easier to stay put rather than sell. I just didn’t think I’d get there so soon!
(c) 2011 Susan Pruden