I convinced my mother to remove one table and a lamp from her incredibly crowded living room today. She'd already done a bit of rearranging and wanted some advice on decorating. When I'd suggested over the phone that she consider purging a few of the items that she and my stepfather have accumulated over the years, she'd hesitated. I assumed I was going to meet nothing but rationale as to why everything needed to stay exactly where it was when I arrived there today.
I was wrong.
She really had attempted to arrange furniture and not just make more shelf space. She'd done a wonderful job on the dining room, opening it up so that now the traffic pattern at Christmas dinner (the only time she has a dinner in the dining room) would flow smoothly. She'd made the guest room an homage to her past with hat boxes and rare photos of her family. And she'd listened to a few of the comments I'd made the last time I was home and placed some of her folk art in neat crooks and crannies.
But she still had shelf after shelf after shelf of the STUFF people give you when you say aloud that you like something. My stepfather was a doctor so folks have given him every type of doctoring statue you can imagine. He's also a UT fan (that's Tennessee, not Texas) and if you pick up a stuffed animal in this house prepare for a recording of "Rocky Top" because there's a microchip in there somewhere! Orange and white in one cabinet, crystal we have absolutely never used in another cabinet and at least a decade's worth of Snow Village figurines and houses in . . . count 'em . . . four floor to ceiling cabinets.
These Depression-era born seniors like to keep their stuff where they can see it!!!
And yet, today, I rearranged, shifted, removed, hid, and tossed, and mom simply beamed. Two bathrooms, one living room and a breakfast area later and I was feeling like I'd lived through an episode of Trading Spaces, but she loved it.
And I must admit, no matter how old you get . . . there's nothing like seeing satisfaction in your mother's eyes.