Whenever I get into conversations about my hobbies and background in art and sewing, I always bring up my grandparents. My grandma was a seamstress and when my grandparents moved to America, they bought a space in Queens and opened up a shoe repair shop. They had all sorts of machinery, and loads of leather, shoelaces, and other materials. I loved visiting them at work when I was young because it was fun watching them fix all sorts of shoes.
Their basement in their home was what you could imagine. Multiple old school Singer sewing machines attached to the table, fabric everywhere, thread, and other miscellaneous items. Towards the end of them owning their shop, and before my grandma got sick, their basement turned into a hot mess which one would say became a bad case of hoarding. It was mostly my grandma and her need to collect things to sell at flea markets. But flea markets became out of the question when she became immobile. After that, we’d take a trip to the basement to grab a few things here and there when I was running out of sewing supplies.
Well, my grandparents are at a point where they need to organize to fix their home to make it more easily accessible. Their bedrooms are on the second floor and my grandma rarely leaves her bed these days and it’s making her feel trapped. My parents concluded that fixing up the house to put a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor would make things easier. Which means the loads of stuff in the dining room and basement would need to get emptied out. My parents have gone almost every weekend the past month to empty and throw things out, and last weekend I joined as well. My dad joked how I shouldn’t come because I’d end up taking a bunch of “junk” to their house and my apartment which wouldn’t really help the case. I was told to just “shut my eyes and throw things out”. Besides all the years of things collecting, mold and mice droppings were everywhere. Because of health reasons, it made it easier to shut my eyes and throw things out. But oh boy, what a shame. I wanted to just give everything to thrift shops but I was told it wasn’t worth it. I figured if things were planned better, we could have donated a whole lot of goods that weren’t spoiled by mice or mold.
While we were gathering and dumping, I grabbed a bunch of pictures to sort of have pictures to remind me of them and the random things they had in their basement. It also is a reminder to not let myself get to their level of hoarding.
The fascinating part is that they also keep their backyard growing, which is strange to see so much green in Queens. My grandma has quite the green thumb, so her backyard really reflects that.
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