Hidden treasures


Your next idea could be closer than you think.

Last year, my sister and I helped my mom get her home ready to sell. It was a big house, and it had never been decluttered as long as I can remember. We joked that a lot of the cookware hadn’t been used since the great depression. We also had a lot of “Oh my gosh! Do you remember this?” moments. Most of those things we hadn’t seen since our childhood. We kept a few sentimental ones. It just felt wrong to throw them away, even if they were broken. Others had no meaning for us anymore, and we let those go.My late father kept every piece of paper imaginable. Natural gas bills from 2003? Really? But my joking stopped when we came across a treasure-trove of old letters and telegrams. I kept reminding my mom to NOT throw anything away. I was worried in the cleaning zeal it would all get chucked into the recycling bin.

In a kitchen drawer, I came across a product called “Gleamit” with a fantastic retro illustration. I asked my mom if I could take it. She gave me an odd look and asked “Why would you want that old thing?” Even after all these years, I think she doesn’t really “get” what I do.

The other surprise was in an old dresser in the basement. When we went to lift it, it wouldn’t budge, so we pulled out the drawers to lighten it. Most were filled with junk, but one had a stack of old magazines. As I flipped though them I realized what a gem these were. They were mostly Home and Garden magazines from 1969 and 1970. Why did she keep these? My mom likely forgot she even had them. Yet, they’d been through three moves over 47 years. Most of the decorating styles are painful to look at, but there was a lot of great typography.

So the next time someone asks you to help them declutter or move, be on the lookout for hidden treasures.