“I’m ahead!” announced my sister Peggy as I answered the phone, “I just set two bags of junk out for the garbage man.”
I smiled at the phone, “Game’s on!”
My sister and I are (aspiring) minimalists, as well as very competitive. Many years ago our parents experienced a crisis of sorts. My dad had a couple of old cars parked on their ‘back 40’ that he had kept for years even though they didn’t run. He also had odds and ends stashed around their eight acres. We didn’t think much about it until one day, my sister, who took care of our parent’s bills, received a notice from their insurance that they needed to remove the old cars and do some other clean-up within 30 days, or they would be canceled.
She contacted me and we sprang into action. It actually was not difficult at all to convince Dad, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease how necessary it was to do the clean-up; it has just been overwhelming for him to do it on his own. So, with his permission, we got to work. My sister made arrangements for the cars to be towed away and we tackled and sorted most of dad’s ‘collection’. Making progress felt good.
My parents had an old mobile home on their property they used for storage and we planned to have a yard sale with most of these items as they were furniture and décor items that were no longer needed. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that a neighbor’s family had convinced Dad to let them use it to store their things as well. It was literally stuffed to the gills with stuff. We put everything that belonged to the neighbors out by one tree in the yard and gave them a specific date by which to remove their items or we would be making a run to the landfill. That got them moving.
In the end, we were able to donate hundreds of books to the library, discover their true treasures, and hold a yard sale with the rest. The insurance company was happy, we were happy, and even Mama and Daddy were happy – they enjoyed having us working there and truly appreciated the help.
Our new life goal…and game
That’s when we first discovered the benefits of becoming (aspiring) minimalists. We decided that we didn’t want our children to go through what we had just experienced. Easier said than done! We recently moved and there was so much to get rid of – what a boost to our minimalist plan. Just a few years later, you turn around and guess what – stuff accumulates again.
We’re both very (very) competitive, so we came up with an idea for a game to see who could be the latest one to donate something or throw specific items away. The rules are easy; 1. Get rid of something 2. Call your sister. Things accumulate so fast, there’s always something I can do without…so can she. Hmmm, I just set out a few items I no longer need on the curb – I think I’ll give Peggy a call…
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Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “FinishingWell: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and tips about doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find joy on your own, unique journey. Find our group on Facebook