So, although my parents have moved into a house much larger than their previous home (roughly 2,000 sq. ft.), they are discovering that somehow they do not have enough room for their furniture and belongings.
My siblings and I have been encouraging my parents to sell or give away a large number of pieces of furniture, along with other smaller items. (The number of hutches and secretaries that they own is beyond incredible.) I previously thought this would actually be fun - a lot of work - but still fun.
Unfortunately, I was met with quite a bit of resistance. Even worn and useless pieces of furniture were being protected from my putting them in the "garage sale" or D.I. area of the garage.
One reason for the resistance seemed to be because every piece of furniture they own has a story - a very personal and meaningful one.)
However, as I was browsing the Pottery Barn website tonight, I found multiple pieces of furniture that were almost exactly like my parents' pieces (minus a little paint and stain, etc.)
I was feeling frustrated that my parents were not more willing to let go of pieces of furniture that they did not use, or ones that were not very nice; but, after seeing the high prices of similar pieces, I understood why this might be.
My husband and I have never actually ventured out to buy a piece of new furniture. We have been given furniture, found low-priced, used furniture on craigslist.org, or have built it (my husband built a t.v. stand, and that will probably be all he will ever build). I really have no concept of how expensive furniture is, and have never been without furniture.
But, the cost of the furniture did not seem to be the main reason that it was difficult to let go of things. My parents place high value on antique pieces of furniture, and pieces that hold sentimental value (that was from "the aunts," or "this is an antique!" or "this was the first piece of furniture we bought together," (though we heard that last one a lot.)
During this process I have learned a lot about my parents' priorities and values, and the interesting oneness they share in valuing the material things they own and love. They never taught us to value material things or spend time worrying about how we looked. They taught us to value education with an extra focus on treating others with respect and kindness (especially those different from us).
But even after this week, the values they taught us are reiterated. They value the memories brought with their furniture, not the pieces of furniture. They value having a place for their children and grandchild to come and enjoy time together as a family.
Hopefully we will be able to figure out how to organize their things so that the environment in their new home is uncluttered and simple, but also meaningful, inspiring and warm. Just like my parents.