I was doing pretty well here at my mother's house, going through things but saying a polite "no" to owning them. Then the glassware came out. I've rarely met a glass I didn't like. But I did pretty well and managed to identify glasses of mine that will get the heave-ho when the new ones come home. Likewise the furniture. There was really only one piece I wanted. My father's bureau, described as a "campaign chest"; how cool is that?
But bit by bit, my pile got larger. And the longer I've stayed here and looked at the stuff my mother loved, the more these things from my past have seemed like potentially important parts of my future. Now I'm wondering what happened to the woman who hates stuff and is determined not to be weighed down by more possessions.
You may find yourself in this situation, and here is what I suggest:
1. Stop panicking. Because it never helps to panic.
2. Remember: just because you take something home with you (from the store or your best friend's house or the free box) does not mean that you are obligated to keep that thing for more than 10 minutes.
3. You can keep from having too much stuff if you get rid of one (or two or ten) things for each one that you bring into the house. I'm looking at some of these items as upgrades rather than additions. When the new version comes in the old version is out.
4. Give yourself a little tiny break. Losing people is hard. Losing your second (or only) parent is its own kind of difficult, what with dismantling your childhood and all. If holding on to some of those things for some period of time is healing, then go for it. But know that in six months I will be asking you, as I will be asking myself, if those things are really adding value to your life or are just cluttering up the place.