March 4, 2010

Without A Doubt

My family has definitely been afflicted with various levels of hoarding and my grandparent’s house is the pinnacle of where it began. In my last post I mentioned that my aunt, mom and I took an entire day to clean out one of the rooms in the family house. While completing this task we made two piles -- one for recycling, the other for Goodwill. Since the start (long before last week), it has been a slow and steady process.

We found countless piles of newspapers, magazines, maps from their trips across the country (a future post will give details on the journals we found from their trips that I plan to transcribe and then Matt and I intend to visit every place they traveled), chotchkies, pictures, broken things, you name it and you were likely to find it in my grandparent’s house. In addition to the vast number of items that are boxed up and ready for charity, a few things have made their way out of the house and into our own homes. I have taken a few functional furniture pieces -- the table I mentioned last time plus 2 cabinets for my painting stuff, books, knick knacks, clothing and a few very, very random items.

While in my great Aunt’s bedroom we discovered that not only was she a very religious woman (which most of us already knew) but she also had a thing for astrology, fortune telling, horoscopes and the like. When I came across this little gem it totally blew me away. I turned it upside down, over and sideways trying to figure it out and next thing I knew I was asking ‘what is this, some kind of secret fortune telling device or something?’ only to discover the glass on the bottom fill up with a triangular shaped piece of something with just one word written on it ‘Yes’. It was the original Magic 8 Ball! Cool!

The fortune teller was discovered upon one of the first visits when I also acquired some of my grandmother and grandfather’s hats. My grampa was a fedora man and there were two gorgeous ones -- a grey and dark brown. I only pull them out occasionally but every time I wear any of their hats I feel like a million bucks!

Which is exactly the reason we’ve been sorting through everything before just getting rid of it; there could be cash stashed just about anywhere. Both grandparents suffered from symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and especially with my gram, as she got older and less mentally functional she hid things. With the number of things in the house that means things could be anywhere, especially in books. It’s a nightmare.


While sorting through some of the books in the reading nook on the third floor I came across this one which my mom convinced me I should at least read before donating seeing as though I’m the Green blogger in the family. This upcoming week I have some time and fully intend to do just that. Of course I have my pick of many.

There were some books as old as the early 1800’s found in the house including some that I should have read years ago but never made the time for, even though some of which I was technically supposed to read for school. A Tale of Two Cities, The House of Seven Gables, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Three Musketeers, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you get the picture. Well they all came home plus the complete ten volume set of the World’s 1000 Best Poems, as published in 1929.

In the den I pulled this out of a basket or a bag or randomly off the floor and just started laughing, I mean when she bought it the name was probably very futuristic sounding. Like back in the 1980’s. In fact this tube of goo might have been one of the only things we found in that house that represented that particular decade. Well that and the jelly belt that was sticky from melting. Oh yeah.


Earlier decades were thoroughly represented as we discovered by the mounds of 1960’s and 1970’s poly print fabrics. This one was in a paper bag with the thread, pattern and zipper, just waiting to be created. Not to mention the receipt for how much all of it cost; just over $10. My mom and I are going to work on this together; Mom rocks, so does the dress on the far right.


This year for Christmas Matt got me a laptop tray. Mine has a lifting, tilting top, a lip to stop the computer from sliding forward and legs that fold underneath for easy storage. Looks familiar… Of course this one is a little beat up and wood not plastic. No one needs it and I immediately thought of my Mother in law. I know she reads so this could be a perfect little giftie for her. I’m going to clean it up, paint and faux it then send it on down just because. But shhh, it’s a surprise so don’t tell!

Overall it may seem like a lot of stuff has come into my home and I’m just perpetuating the cycle of collecting and perhaps that is partially true but for the most part I am only taking what I know will be created, gifted, read, worn or used as a functional item…

In fact I asked the Syco Slate if I should throw away the Stain Master 2000 after taking the picture for this post and it responded not surprisingly:


8 comments:

Rosebud Collection said...

I have to admit..it is almost like a treasure hunt. You never know what you will find. Looks like you got a few neat items.
Have a great weekend and enjoy looking over all the things.
xoxoRosebud.

Mary said...

great post--we cleaned out my grandmother's, great aunt's and then our own mother's house and it was pretty amazing. they kept so much! we got rid of a lot but kept a lot, too so i appreciate this post a lot ;-)

pastrywitch said...

The tube o' fortune is awesome!

Bridgete said...

I love the Syco-Slate!

Suldog said...

This is wonderful. I love going through old stuff and discovering treasures and weird trash.

TERI REES WANG said...

I hope that you have set up shop on etsy.com to sell all those little treasure away, to new homes.

It's the better way to clean house.

Almost Precious said...

Fascinating to learn that the age old "Magic 8 Ball" started out as a Syco cylinder. LOL

When John's mother passed away, we went up to Oregon and sorted through her estate, fortunately she was not a hoarder and seemed to have only accumulated the basic necessities. There were no collections of books or knick-knacks and most of her furniture was not my taste. We did salvage her collection of photos even though we've no idea who many of the people were in those old pictures.

My mother, on the other hand, had a lot of items I would have loved to have had. She had suffered a serious stroke and found herself unable to remember things, or even where she was or what time of day it was, really heartbreaking. After she was placed into an assisted living facility, my sister went out to see about selling her manufactured home and while she was there she just went through and basically dumped everything. I wish she would have informed me that she was going to do this but my sister didn't have the time, felt she had more important things to do and thought most of mother's things were just junk. Still makes me sad to think it all went to the dump as I would have thought Goodwill would have taken a lot of it...anyway what's done is done. :(

Glad you have some of your Grammy's treasures, they become wonderful memories of someone very dear.

Karen said...

Ooooh, love all that stuff! I have so much stuff that's been handed down and love all of it. Sometimes I think how nice it would be not to have to lift or move everything just to be able to dust, but I don't think I could bear to part with all this stuff. Does that make me a hoarder? LOL