As I've sifted and sorted through the boxes and tubs I brought back from my parents' house before the auction, I've had particular difficulty with one big box: Mom's jewelry. I've never liked jewelry very much, but my mom did. It wasn't fancy or valuable, but she wore lots of it. As a result, much of Mom's jewelry carries a strong association for me and makes it very painful to handle.
In reality, I've been dealing with Mom's jewelry since she passed away in 2008. After my daughter picked out the pieces she wanted to keep, Dad and I packed it all up in a big Rubbermaid tub and hid it in a dark corner of my parents' basement. It was too painful for either of us to have in our midst. Of course, that only worked for so long. After Dad passed away, I found her jewelry in the basement. I had no choice but to bring it all home with me.
So for going on two years now I've been trying to deal with that jewelry. Each time I lifted the lid of the box, I could smell her perfume. I could picture her at a birthday party or at the last band concert she attended, wearing that necklace she bought in Arizona. Those memories were just too much, and I snapped the lid back on the box. But after a few attempts, I finally managed to sort her jewelry into smaller and smaller containers like this one. It was easier to look at just a few pieces at a time.
This week I decided it was time to tackle Mom's jewelry once and for all. Truthfully, it has been bringing me down. I don't want to cry every time I remember my mom, and that's what the jewelry makes me do. I knew that I just needed to choose a few special pieces that I associate with Mom and get rid of the rest.
Last week, I stopped by the local hospice thrift store to drop off some items and asked what they needed most for their store. Jewelry was at the top of their list. Perfect timing, so I set to work. I decided to deal with Mom's jewelry and my own at the same time.
Jewelry isn't important to me, so my own was thrown in a basket where it tangled up over the years. I'm allergic to metal and because of that, my ears aren't pierced, so I don't wear jewelry much anyway. Much of this stuff was so old I barely remembered it -- perfect for donating to the thrift store.
I had a jewelry box at one point but it did not work for me. These stackable trays from Target seemed just right.
I sorted my own jewelry and put the pieces I actually wear in one tray. Lily helped!
Less frequently worn items went into the other trays. The compartments are perfect for keeping small pieces corralled and necklaces tangle-free.
As a bonus, the trays fit perfectly on the shelf in my closet where I kept my basket of tangled necklaces. This is a huge improvement! I'll add a couple of additional trays to accommodate the rest of Mom's pieces, drop off a big box of jewelry at the thrift store, and then call this project done.
It's a big step for me to have Mom's jewelry upstairs in my closet rather than hidden away in the basement. I'm not quite there yet, but I hope that in time I'll be able to look at her pieces and smile. And maybe one day I'll think about wearing one of her bracelets. I think she would like that.