Trash Bags Full of Memories

Real Estate Agent with Realty Group Referrals 16766

Trash Bags Full of Memories


When real estate agents recommend the disposal of all of those boxes in the basement and the closets, seniors sometimes face emotional and physical challenges.

I filled some trash bags from the contents of some boxes in our basement and those trash bags are now full of memories. There were many old kitchen items, bowls, plates and many decorative items as will as awards I received over the years. There was a commemorative plate from a member of Congress and a SPIKE Club mug from NAHB as well as mementos from new building ceremonies we attended. A big crystal ash tray also went into the bag. Some other items were still in the original boxes and had never been used. Yes, I am sure that someone would have love to have some of the items.

There are many more boxes and many more challenges to face.


Image may contain: plant and food

Winter Colors, Kentlands Photowalk, Gaithersburg, Maryland USA
Canon PowerShot G11 Camera
Photograph by Roy Kelley
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

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Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Roy Kelley and Associates


Roy Kelley, Associate Broker

Realty Group Referrals (Retired from RE/MAX Realty Group)

6 Montgomery Village Ave., Suite 200

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Main Office:  301-258-7757 (You will not reach me at this number)

Send an email message if you need my phone numbers. I will be happy to recommend a real estate professional if you are moving to the area.


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Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

I'm a pack rat myself and I was raised never to throw something out if it could be fixed. I remember way back when when I mended a hole in a sock, reused all plastic bags etc. Now, I'm trying to de-clutter myself and it's brings so memories so I feel your pain Roy Kelley .

Jan 08, 2020 06:29 PM #25
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Roy - Take care when lifting and practice safety when going through all the stuff. Yes! memories fill every corner of our homes, don't they? Letting go isn't easy. I am going through this now too and the tasks are endless. 

Fill your heart up with joy each and everyday and know it isn't the things we have that makes us happy, it's the people who we love that matters most. 

Jan 09, 2020 03:34 AM #26
Loretta Krawiec
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Yorktown Heights, NY
Professional Real Estate Services

Sometimes when I find it hard to get rid of something that I have a sentimental attachment to, I take a picture of it before saying thanks for the good memory but good bye.  If it is something I think someone else can use, I first offer it to whom ever I think can use it or donate it. It makes me happy to think I was able to help someone else and let the item bring someone else joy too.  I also look for ways to upcycle items before just throwing them away.  I know it is hard to part with some things, but we need to make room for new memories too. 

Jan 10, 2020 08:33 AM #29
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jan 11, 2020 06:37 PM #31
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Getting rid of "things" (aka, memories, memorabilia) is not an easy task. But I do find having less things feels freeing (to me anyway). 

I like Loretta Krawiec 's idea of taking a photo. Then the keepsake stays with you.

Jan 12, 2020 06:54 AM #32
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

It's emotional when you are doing it but so rewarding once it is done. It is a good thing to clean out the "stuff" while you can and not leave it to others to deal with later.

Jan 12, 2020 07:56 AM #34
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Very tough to throw away: personal mementos, especially from family, family heirlooms and anything of 'perceived value'.  Therefore I can't throw anything away!!

Jan 12, 2020 09:55 AM #35
Cindy Bernstein
Aim 4 Order LLC - Pikesville, MD
Downsizing & Home Organizing Services in Baltimore

It IS difficult...but starting is the hardest part. Doing little bits at a time will ensure that you don't burn out and quit. Easy does it wins the race!! And check out all the charities that you can find online...they will come to your home (in most cases) and you can leave bags and boxes of stuff at your front door and they'll whisk them away. My favorites are Purple Heart ( and Vietnam Veterans of America 

Jan 12, 2020 10:30 AM #36
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

All the advice above is just terrific. A little at a time -  before it becomes overwhelming - and always stop and do something enjoyable in the afternoons.

Jan 12, 2020 01:05 PM #37
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Congrats on Kathy featuring your post this week!  I can see why she did!

Jan 13, 2020 07:53 AM #41
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I am learning to be more minamilist and hold on to less. But it takes work, not to put something on a shelf rather than put it out in the trash. Can understand this might be hard for seniors who have lots of memories in the basement.

Jan 13, 2020 08:03 AM #42
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

I find items such as you describe to be "triggers" for memories and that's why I tend to hang on to them so long.  My wife and I are finding this out, not only in our own lives, but with our parents' things too.  There's almost a guilt attached to the task at times.  It's a highly emotional challenge ...


Jan 13, 2020 09:29 AM #43
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Roy Kelley - It is really hard to let some things go, but if we can, it can be invigorating.

Jan 13, 2020 12:24 PM #45
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

this is the year that I am decluttering and cleaning out - I don't want my children to deal with it when I am gone - and I may as well enjoy the clean house too

Jan 14, 2020 07:04 AM #46
Laura S. Baker
First Weber Inc - Lake Mills, WI
Realtor (920) 728-4118, First Weber Inc

I have been going room by room doing exactly the same thing.  It was tough letting go in the beginning, as you said, each item had a story.  But I found the freedom of less "stuff" began to take over, and build momentum. 

That being said, I keep that initial feeling in mind, each time I walk into a clients home.  Thanks for the reminder Roy!  Stay well and safe through your cleanout.  I wish you all the best.

Jan 14, 2020 10:17 AM #48
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

What an amazing article. You are correct. going through drawers , basements, attics ect. Oh wow it makes me go back in time, memories flood in, I end up with a pile of things laying around with tears flowing. Ugh right, oh my the memories.

Jan 14, 2020 07:22 PM #50
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Oh yes then I end up with the items still there but in another location. Maybe someday it will be gone , maybe not.

Jan 14, 2020 07:29 PM #51
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Roy:

Getting rid of things we have can often be difficult - the emotional part can get in the way, can't it?

I know we often counsel our clients about preparing for a sale by  depersonalizing and getting rid of things, but it can be an arduous chore.


Jan 15, 2020 12:06 PM #53
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I'm sure it's painful to see a life's worth of memories.  Maybe think of it as "someone is going to enjoy this!"  Maybe that's the process to lighten your load.  Hugs Roy!


Jan 23, 2020 12:15 PM #55
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for your comments and for your continued support.

Jan 23, 2020 02:24 PM #56
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