Oh My Gosh, That's My Father

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

In 20+ years of helping people de-clutter and organize their homes I have seen some interesting things—including evidence of mice, cancelled checks from long-deceased grandparents, and file folders labeled “Bah Humbug” and “Junk.” Many years ago, I uncovered a paycheck that had gotten buried in a client’s piles of papers. If I had a quarter for every time a client has exclaimed, “I’ve been looking for that!” during a session I would have a vacation home in Hawaii.


A sampling of things I’ve uncovered with normal, every day people like you and me:

  • A small rock inside an envelope on which was printed, “Everybody Needs a Rock” that had been given to all attendees at a conference. Seriously? NO, everybody does NOT need a rock!

  • Pieces of string so short as to be unusable, but in a container appropriately labeled “String Too Small to Use.”

  • A sad reminder of why we need to know what we have and act on our ideas: a magazine article re-surfaced that the client had intended to share with a friend, but by that point she had passed away.

  • Inside a small bedroom closet with dual-sliding doors was a long, narrow table. It served no purpose other to provide a horizontal surface collect piles of miscellaneous items. The client burst into laughter when I said, slightly puzzled, “Hmm, you have a table in here.”

  • Various kitchen gadgets, earbuds, important documents, beloved earrings, favorite water bottles, and lots and lots of spare change have been retrieved when cleaning out the back recesses of drawers and cabinets.


Just this week I had a unique experience, however. My client and I were sorting through her elderly mother’s dresser. Not surprisingly, we found clothes that no longer fit and random mis-matched gloves, coins and old photographs. Then there was a large plastic jar—perhaps an old peanut butter jar—and it appeared to be filled with coarse sand. There was no label on it and my client was completely puzzled as to where it could have come from and why her mother would be keeping it in her dresser. Just as we were about to toss it in our trash bag she stopped and cried, “Oh my gosh, that’s my father!!”


Proof-positive that we need a place for everything

and a label on all containers!

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