Maryland Blogger: Trash Bags Full of Memories

Trash Bags Full of Memories

Trash Bags Full of Memories


When real estate agents recommend the disposal of all of those boxes in the basement and the closets, seniors sometimes face emotional and physical challenges.

I filled some trash bags from the contents of some boxes in our basement and those trash bags are now full of memories. There were many old kitchen items, bowls, plates and many decorative items as will as awards I received over the years. There was a commemorative plate from a member of Congress and a SPIKE Club mug from NAHB as well as mementos from new building ceremonies we attended. A big crystal ash tray also went into the bag. Some other items were still in the original boxes and had never been used. Yes, I am sure that someone would have love to have some of the items.

There are many more boxes and many more challenges to face.


Image may contain: plant and food

Winter Colors, Kentlands Photowalk, Gaithersburg, Maryland USA
Canon PowerShot G11 Camera
Photograph by Roy Kelley
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Roy Kelley and Associates


Roy Kelley, Associate Broker

Realty Group Referrals (Retired from RE/MAX Realty Group)

6 Montgomery Village Ave., Suite 200

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Main Office:  301-258-7757 (You will not reach me at this number)

Send an email message if you need my phone numbers. I will be happy to recommend a real estate professional if you are moving to the area.

Comment balloon 39 commentsRoy Kelley • January 06 2020 03:49PM


It truly can be challenging.  Especially for those of us who attach sentimental feelings to much of the stuff.  I'm trying to get better at it though.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 7 months ago

Good morning, Roy Kelley ... when I sold my last home, I disposed of boxes and boxes of plaques and awards.... life goes on.... 

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 7 months ago

Roy, You must feel a little relief of getting rid of some of those things that may have memories, but are not needed anymore...

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Home and Condo Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) 7 months ago

Good morning Roy. Having spread the downsizing of items over several moves, it was much easier. That said, many items were in the original boxes and had never been used or displayed. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 7 months ago

Hi Roy... I've moved so many times that I've been ruthless in not hanging on to things that don't really touch my heart. But I won't say it was an easy process to get through. Your photo today is amazing.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) 7 months ago

Clutter usually comes with a lot of great memories and they certainly pile up over the years.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) 7 months ago

Good morning Roy. So my question is, where will this bag of stuff go. Since somethings are useful to someone will they be donated?

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 7 months ago

Good morning Roy Kelley ,

I feel your pain. I've been cleaning out the last 6-7 years and recently doing more. As Barbara goes on and better to take the time and remember and dispose of things yourself.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) 7 months ago

Hello Roy - I hope your recent clean-up brings you much joy in living with "less stuff".  It's a difficult task but one that is necessary.  For each of us and one that seems to be ongoing.  The ability to collect "stuff" can seem overwhelming but can be addressed.  At least that is what I tell myself.  Good for you.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 7 months ago

Hi Roy, my heart is with you. I know it's very difficult to see your bags of memories head out to parts unknown. And it so challenging to make decisions regarding what stays and what goes.  Sending you good thoughts. D

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 7 months ago

Good morning Roy -  I have done my basement several months ago and now it is on to the other areas of the house.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 7 months ago

Hello Roy, my wife has a hard time parting with some items in our basement, she takes a week off in February every year to unclutter but spends more time reading so much down there.


Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 7 months ago


We keep going through stuff and doing the same.  I still have a few boxes in the garage to go through.  In the last three moves, I have given away so much, and I keep wondering why I still have so much to go through.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 7 months ago

Roy, are you moving, or just decluttering?    It is very difficult to part with memories.   I did last year too, so can feel your pain.    HOWEVER, it does feel good not to have so much STUFF, especially if you don't use or look at it for years.   

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 7 months ago

We are in the process of doing the same thing since we just sold our house and our moving into a Community. However we are having an auction company do a full house sale after we have taken all we want to our new home. It is still so difficult to let go of so many happy memories. I alway save my greating cards so I have boxes of them and I tell you the truth I just can't throw them out... My sons think I'm crazy which may be true but I'm keeping all my Happy Memories Stuff...

Posted by Beth and Richard Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) 7 months ago

Hi Roy,

I have three small boxes which I carried all the way from the Philippines. They contain pictures of my family from eons ago. Photographs could be copied but they can never be replaced. 

Posted by Maria Gilda Racelis, Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen! (Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington) 7 months ago

Hi Roy - I feel for you because Larry and I did that when we moved back to Houston. So many collected treasures and memories. But I know that you and Chef Dolores will continue to make them, especially when you have your camera with you. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 7 months ago

I'm a pack rat myself and I was raised never to throw something out if it could be fixed. I remember way back when when I mended a hole in a sock, reused all plastic bags etc. Now, I'm trying to de-clutter myself and it's brings so memories so I feel your pain Roy Kelley .

Posted by Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson, Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643 (Century 21 Doug Anderson) 7 months ago

Roy - Take care when lifting and practice safety when going through all the stuff. Yes! memories fill every corner of our homes, don't they? Letting go isn't easy. I am going through this now too and the tasks are endless. 

Fill your heart up with joy each and everyday and know it isn't the things we have that makes us happy, it's the people who we love that matters most. 

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 7 months ago

Sometimes when I find it hard to get rid of something that I have a sentimental attachment to, I take a picture of it before saying thanks for the good memory but good bye.  If it is something I think someone else can use, I first offer it to whom ever I think can use it or donate it. It makes me happy to think I was able to help someone else and let the item bring someone else joy too.  I also look for ways to upcycle items before just throwing them away.  I know it is hard to part with some things, but we need to make room for new memories too. 

Posted by Loretta Krawiec, Professional Real Estate Services (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 7 months ago

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 7 months ago

Getting rid of "things" (aka, memories, memorabilia) is not an easy task. But I do find having less things feels freeing (to me anyway). 

I like Loretta Krawiec 's idea of taking a photo. Then the keepsake stays with you.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) 7 months ago

It's emotional when you are doing it but so rewarding once it is done. It is a good thing to clean out the "stuff" while you can and not leave it to others to deal with later.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 7 months ago

Very tough to throw away: personal mementos, especially from family, family heirlooms and anything of 'perceived value'.  Therefore I can't throw anything away!!

Posted by John Henry, Florida Architect, Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design (John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.) 7 months ago

It IS difficult...but starting is the hardest part. Doing little bits at a time will ensure that you don't burn out and quit. Easy does it wins the race!! And check out all the charities that you can find online...they will come to your home (in most cases) and you can leave bags and boxes of stuff at your front door and they'll whisk them away. My favorites are Purple Heart ( and Vietnam Veterans of America 

Posted by Cindy Bernstein, Downsizing & Home Organizing Services in Baltimore (Aim 4 Order LLC) 7 months ago

All the advice above is just terrific. A little at a time -  before it becomes overwhelming - and always stop and do something enjoyable in the afternoons.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 7 months ago

Congrats on Kathy featuring your post this week!  I can see why she did!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) 7 months ago

I am learning to be more minamilist and hold on to less. But it takes work, not to put something on a shelf rather than put it out in the trash. Can understand this might be hard for seniors who have lots of memories in the basement.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 7 months ago

I find items such as you describe to be "triggers" for memories and that's why I tend to hang on to them so long.  My wife and I are finding this out, not only in our own lives, but with our parents' things too.  There's almost a guilt attached to the task at times.  It's a highly emotional challenge ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) 7 months ago

Hi Roy Kelley - It is really hard to let some things go, but if we can, it can be invigorating.

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) 7 months ago

this is the year that I am decluttering and cleaning out - I don't want my children to deal with it when I am gone - and I may as well enjoy the clean house too

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 7 months ago

I have been going room by room doing exactly the same thing.  It was tough letting go in the beginning, as you said, each item had a story.  But I found the freedom of less "stuff" began to take over, and build momentum. 

That being said, I keep that initial feeling in mind, each time I walk into a clients home.  Thanks for the reminder Roy!  Stay well and safe through your cleanout.  I wish you all the best.

Posted by Laura S. Baker, Realtor (920) 728-4118, First Weber Inc (First Weber Inc) 7 months ago

What an amazing article. You are correct. going through drawers , basements, attics ect. Oh wow it makes me go back in time, memories flood in, I end up with a pile of things laying around with tears flowing. Ugh right, oh my the memories.

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) 7 months ago

Oh yes then I end up with the items still there but in another location. Maybe someday it will be gone , maybe not.

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) 7 months ago

Hi Roy:

Getting rid of things we have can often be difficult - the emotional part can get in the way, can't it?

I know we often counsel our clients about preparing for a sale by  depersonalizing and getting rid of things, but it can be an arduous chore.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 7 months ago

I'm sure it's painful to see a life's worth of memories.  Maybe think of it as "someone is going to enjoy this!"  Maybe that's the process to lighten your load.  Hugs Roy!


Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) 7 months ago

Good morning Roy. I really enjoyed this blog post and I thought I would tell you so. The title caught my eye as I logged on this morning....

Happy Thursday morning Roy Kelley 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) 6 months ago

Thank you very much for your comments and for your continued support.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 6 months ago

Make it a habit to post a daily reblog. It is an easy way to pay it forward.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 5 months ago