My parents are selling their home and moving into a seniors’ apartment building, so my mom has been sorting through 30 years of collected possessions. My mom started out by asking if there was anything I thought I wanted, since my siblings have all asked for various functional/memorable items, but I said no. I have a fully furnished (small) house myself, and limited storage space, so I didn’t want to add to it.

However, I think I hurt her feelings by saying that I didn’t need or want any keepsakes or anything at all. She has found and offered a number of items from my childhood, like a tea set that the two of us would have tea parties with when I was preschool aged, but I really don’t feel a need to keep them. I have the memories, and they’re not enhanced in any way by adding clutter around me.

I’m the sort of person who, in the past, threw out boxes of teenage keepsakes just to teach myself not to value possessions. All of it is just stuff for me. I’ll never have kids to pass it on to, and I literally have no where to put it unless I stick it in our damp, unfinished basement (it’s a 100+ year old house where unfinished literally means that part of the basement is only half dug out and has exposed dirt covered by nothing but plastic sheeting) to forget about. I thought of taking some stuff and just dropping it off at goodwill, but a) I doubt any charity wants 30 year old items, and b) that feels really dishonest.

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I love my parents and have mostly great memories of my years in that house, but now I feel the need to make it up to them so they don’t think I’m completely uncaring.