As a child, I was intrigued by the disappearing staircase at my grandmother’s house. Because my grandmother, being a rather large woman, was afraid to climb those stairs, I was even more interested in what might be lurking just above that ceiling!
My parents’ house had a boring attic, which was easily accessible by full-sized doors off the bedrooms at each end of the second story. No secret staircase, no rope to swing from. And no fun.
Eventually, my mother and I ventured into my grandmother’s attic. There was a trunk of clothes, which included my mother’s wedding dress (which I couldn’t fit into even at age 12) and several prom dresses from her college years. I remember one in particular: a beautiful smooth yellow satin gown. Alas, it didn’t fit me, either.
Years later, I climbed alone into my grandmother’s attic and rescue two of my most prized possessions.
One was an old quilt someone had left in one of her rental houses, and the other was my grandmother’s Dazey churn.
Turns out it’s a good thing I grabbed those two antiques. Not long after I visited, my grandmother had a stroke and ended up in the nursing home. While she was there, someone broke into her house, climbed up those same stairs and broke or stole whatever was left.
Although I’ve never used the churn, I did spend the whole next winter wrapped up in that old quilt, mending it while it kept me warm in my chilly post-college apartment.
Other attics I have known and sometimes loved include the one across the street from my parents’ house. The Wasilik attic was a treasure trove for the neighborhood kids. On rainy days, we’d play in the upstairs bedrooms, which had convenient access to the attic crawl space under the eaves. There we discovered an old Victrola phonograph, along with musical recordings on wax cylinders! Because the attic had no lights, it was a good and scary place to tell ghost stories and play hide and seek.
More than a decade ago, I was faced with cleaning out my parent’s house–the only one they ever owned. All three levels, basement to attic, were full of things they had accumulated during their 45 years of marriage, plus additional items from their own parents. When I got to the attic, it was hot and I was tired of having to decide what to do with all that stuff. There was one last trunk in the back, and I was almost afraid to open it, fearing there were important papers I’d have to sort through.
But in that old trunk were beautifully tailored women’s suits from my mother’s first teaching jobs in the 1940’s. Vintage clothing, as it’s now labelled–and all of it too small for me! Sadly, I had to get rid of it, too, along with my great-aunt’s fur coat and my mother’s wedding dress –remember that from my grandmother’s attic?
One way to rid yourself of all this stuff is to sell it on EBay. Your library has lots of books to help you, from Absolute beginner’s guide to EBay to How to do everything with EBay. Otherwise, there are lots of thrift and resale shops who are glad to take your items. If you’re really serious, you can even learn how to start your own store: Start your own clothing store and more.
On occasion, I have to pull down my own staircase and disappear into my own attic. That’s when I need the books about decluttering. Who put all this stuff in my attic, anyway? Library to the rescue! There are books like Lighten up: love what you have, have what you need, be happier with less and Toss, keep, sell! which can help you make those difficult decisions.
So…what’s in MY attic? Not nearly as much as there used to be!