2015-06-11 / Senior Savvy

A Seasonal Ritual of Bygone Days

By Florence Archambault


Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 84 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history. Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 84 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history. With warmer weather at last, I decided to do some spring cleaning. But how many people do that seasonal ritual anymore? I remember my mother hanging the rugs on the clothesline and beating the dust out of them with a manual rug beater; nowadays we can be thankful for vacuum cleaners and Stanley Steemer.

If you are really energetic you can indulge in the deeper purging now referred to as downsizing. I have been doing this for almost a month and, with the help of my daughter, have made great progress.

Things have a tendency to accumulate, especially when you have lived in the same house for almost 50 years and have a basement that somehow became stuffed with stuff. Did I mention the 2½ car garage? You need to have a system, though, or it can be overwhelming. There is a superabundance of articles in magazines on how to go about it. We used boxes labeled "save," "trash," "recycle," "donate," and "yard sale." Since I am a single homeowner, those gigantic new trash barrels have been a godsend for me. They could never be too big. After the yard sale, leftovers will be donated or given to the neighbors.

I have decided I don’t need that bread machine anymore, or the pasta machine, or all those serving trays and dip dishes. Maybe I’ll keep the chafing dish. Most of my entertainment nowadays consists of potluck suppers on the patio using paper and plastic plates. They make it much easier to clean up afterwards.

It has been a real nostalgia trip since some boxes came from my mother-in-law’s house and my mom’s apartment after their deaths. Scads of pictures, newspaper articles, and research for the articles I have written over the years, plus a 27-year accumulation of photos, letters, etc. from the Occupied Japan Collectors Club newsletter I edited and produced up until two years ago, have filled the trash and the recycle barrels each week.

You need to develop the mindset that the boxes contain things that will probably be of no value to anyone once you leave this earth. Not having to go through everything you left behind would be a nice legacy to leave your children. It’s also nice to discover missing items, which in my case included a ring and my tape recorder that somehow got buried years ago. It also helps to have a daughter who cracks the whip.

There is the possibility as you go through your home deciding what to keep that you may come across some valuable items. If there is any doubt in your mind that some of those family heirlooms that have been around for a while may be of some real monetary value, don’t be too hasty to dispose of them. Hang on to the items and do some research.

There are many sites on the Internet to help just do a Google search. Books at the library can help you locate an appraiser. There may even be an opportunity in July at the Edward King House’s Heirloom Discovery Day to consult an appraiser to help you determine if you do have something of value.

Annual Senior Week

The Edward King House Senior Center will host its Annual Senior Week July 20 – July 26, offering lectures, a memorial tea, a free concert, an ice cream social, and much more.

Heirloom Discovery Day is planned for July 20, offering appraisals by antique dealers and knowledgeable collectors.

The center is looking for appraisers who will donate their time and talent in areas such as small furniture, art, glassware, china, coins, jewelry, etc.

If you are interested in participating, contact Carmela Geer, executive director at 401-846-7426 or info@edwardkinghouse.org.

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