Becoming a Minimalist: My Great Grandma

What is a minimalist? Can I call myself a minimalist? What led me to become a minimalist?

Hoarding runs through both lines of my family. I’ve grown up knowing my paternal great grandmother was a collector of things, but until I cleaned out her house over a 4 month period I really had no idea of the extent of her hoarding.  She’s 96, she lived through the depression, she’s outlived many people and has held on to many of their beloved possessions.  Then I look at my maternal grandma and grandpa. They both crack me up because they complain about each other’s collecting habits. My grandma has the house filled to the brim but in an “organized” manner (according to her) and my grandpa has their acres of land filled with “treasure” that he insists he can sell or put to good use. In my opinion, both just have a bunch of useless things that need to be donated so others can put them to good use. But that will most likely never happen until they pass away and leave it to their children and grandchildren to deal with. (Sorry grandma if you’re reading this…)

Back to my 96 year old (97 the end of March) Great Grandma D’s house… Growing up I lived out of state (still do) and didn’t have the best relationship with my dad, but my great grandma went out of her way to maintain communication with me.  She also happened to live a stones throw away from my maternal grandma so I always visited Grandma D when we were in Idaho for holiday’s or general visits. She was very private and seldomly let me into her house. I knew that had to do with a lack of trusting people because of other relatives taking advantage of her but also because it was difficult to get in the house because of all of her things.

Cut to September 2017…  Grandma D is surprisingly healthy for her age.  She isn’t on any medications and has insisted on living in her home by herself without home care to check up on her for the past few years.  My grandma and dad had a system where he called her each day around the same time just to make sure she was still okay.  But in September she didn’t answer, and when she didn’t answer yet again a few hours later he sent the neighbor over to check on her.  Unfortunately, she had gotten a UTI and didn’t tell anyone, which resulted in her becoming unconscious.  Luckily, I have a flexible job so when I found out I rushed over to stay with her the two weeks they had her in rehab. While she was there my dad and I decided that it was time to either move her in with him, get her into assisted living, or convince her to accept home help. She surprised us when she agreed to move out of her home to my dads place.

When grandma decided to move she decided that all of her belongings needed to move too. She refused to leave her treasures and memories there for the other relatives to go through since they had taken advantage of her over the years. So, we agreed that I was allowed into the house to help my dad pack the place up. Boy, was I in for a surprise.



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