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ASK MERRILY/ Memorabolia

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Mar 16,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Beatles memorabilia

Something has gotten into my mother and she is in a frenzy to throw things away, clean out closets. A lot of what she finds used to be mine, or, she thinks, ought to be mine, and so she's always bringing stuff when she comes to visit.  Our apartment is very small and I'm just not the right person to trust with all the family memorabilia. I could yell at her or maybe you can tell me how to be helpful.

Dear Memorabilia,

This situation abounds with opportunity!

If you are feeling invaded, there may be a gem of self-empowerment imbedded here - a way to set boundaries with compassion.  

Your mother has become acutely aware that her “things” no longer hold the meaning they once held.  She may want her home to reflect who she is sans children’s possessions.  She may have become aware of her mortality, or she may be considering a smaller home or travel.  Be thankful that she considers your preferences, as parents sometimes toss treasures without asking.  

Can you see that her cleaning out closets now is work that you won’t have to do later?  

You could help by evaluating the memorabilia at her house.  Take what you want.  (You must take something.)  Tell her that she is free to give everything else away, donate it, or toss it, as she chooses.  This will free her to proceed with her work and eliminate her need to “bring stuff” to you.

Honor her transition and take advantage of the potential for mother-daughter bonding.  Let her talk as you peruse the memory-loaded items.  Laugh together as you throw things out.  Let her beam as you collect a small pile of treasures to keep.  

Or, you could just yell at her to stop bringing stuff.  (Possibly an old invasion pattern?)

I am very interested to hear how you proceed.

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at

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