When you think back to what you learned in school about the 1920’s, they were a roaring good time up until October 29,1929. Prohibition could not even slow it down or stop it. People just got more creative and resourceful. No one thought that the party would end or could even imagine what The Great Depression was going to rain down on them. Nothing could have prepared them for what was to come. For well over a decade, constant worry, fear, anxiety and stress ruled the day. You had to learn to do without and be creative with what little you did have. Families and friends did their best to take care of one another.

When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, things were far from normal and calm on the home front but the economy was back on the road to recovery and there was a general sense of relief from the recent financial woes that gripped the nation. No one ever forgot the hard times though and the thought of it happening again was always somewhere in the back of their minds. Families were determined to be prepared and they taught their children to be prepared. The notion of holding on to everything as a matter of basic survival became fully ingrained into the family dynamics and, in many ways, has been passed down to the baby boomers and beyond.

Now holding on to some things is not necessarily a bad thing. On a practical note, women used to get married at a much younger age and really appreciated hand-me-downs as they struggled to start their own households. The notion that someone could always use this more or less rang true. Family treasures also remind us of who we are, where we come from and memorable times in our lives. If they are true treasures, then they deserve to be honored and not buried and forgotten in the dark recesses of the attic. What makes them valuable are the stories that they tell when they are shared with your children and grandchildren.

On the downside, we sometimes need to shake this Depression Era grip on our psyche and acknowledge that the clutter is getting in the way of our daily lives and even in the memories to come. It really is okay if nobody in the family wants some of that perfectly good stuff. There are worthy charities out there that would welcome it with open arms. An added bonus will be that you will be able to better see and appreciate what is really important. New opportunities will most likely present themselves when you get organized with a whole new attitude and game plan. Maybe the house really is too big and time consuming and you would rather downsize and spend your time pursuing more enjoyable interests. The options are endless.

The Great Depression Mentality served our mothers and grandmothers well during those hard times when it literally came down to basic survival. It even serves many of us well now if we learn to keep it in perspective. The balance comes when you can step back and separate the clutter from the real treasures. It is the treasure that reminds us of lives well spent.

Leave a Reply