After several years of pecking away at it, we finally blitzkrieged Mom's closet, which was mostly full of her old clothes from working at the bank (or teaching Sunday School) 20 years ago. Mom hates to shop, so most of the clothes she's been wearing the last few years have been things she stole from me or inherited from friends. This will change. Anyway, we got rid of everything in the closet that she never wears, putting the nostalgic stuff up in the attic and the truly hideous or damaged in the garbage or Goodwill bin.
Everything was so dusty that we had to stop halfway through and get my vacuum cleaner (which has a HEPA filter) out of the storage unit so I could stop sneezing miserably for hours on end.
We got down to the smaller stuff in the dressers today, like old glasses and little crafts she'd socked away when Jason and I made them as kids. It was really fun going through all the jewelry, some of which I'd never seen. Some was set aside for Goodwill (novelty pins, clip-on earrings), the gaudier stuff was put in the costume box, Mom saved her favorite things until we can get an organizing system in place (i.e. not a basket full of Ziploc bags), and she gave me first crack at anything she didn't want anymore. She got rid of a lot of things from her girlhood and I couldn't save everything, but I saved some. Like her earrings she wore to Tolo with my dad, a huge turquoise pendant that used to be my grandmother's, and some vintage earrings with the Space Needle on them, from the World's Fair when the Space Needle first opened. Mom saved up her allowance money to give them as a gift to her mother. She didn't want them.
Anyway, it was really cool to have some old pieces of jewelry that once meant something to my Mom. None of them are valuable (except maybe the Space Needle stuff), but it means a lot more to me this way.
Also, this conversation:
Me: "Okay, what's in this bag...WHAT THE HELL, MOM?!?"
Me: (holds up silver pendant thingy) "THESE ARE RED ALDER CONES"
Mom: "They are?"
Me: "THEY ARE RED ALDER CONES COVERED IN SILVER. I COULD HAVE WORN THESE TO MY DEFENSE."
Mom: "Well, how was I supposed to know?!"
Me: "I'm keeping these. F***." (flailing around)