My Mother had a storage trunk. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Just a navy blue trunk in which she would store her keepsakes and build her wedding trousseau. Once she was married, her trunk became a repository for important papers, family pictures, and treasures.
Through my childhood, I would get the odd opportunity to peek into the trunk. It always sat in a very inconspicuous spot in the house. Because Mom loved to sew, she had made a special cover for that trunk, and stored extra blankets underneath.
When my Mom passed away, I inherited her trunk. It was carefully moved from her apartment into my house and then to my current house. Because it was, and still is in my mind 'her trunk', and housed her personal possessions, I never felt comfortable going into it. In the past 3 and a half years, I have only gone into it twice....once to locate important papers that were required when she passed away....and a second time, to satisfy my curiosity, and look.
During that second visit, I spent quite a few hours living in her world. I was very careful to put things back where I had found them, almost as if I was afraid that Mom would notice of things were out of place. She had treasures from all of her past....my Grade School report cards, assorted cards for various occasions, old family pictures, clothing from my Christening and babyhood. Aside from the 'things' that she kept, I was keenly aware that she had spent her life storing away the odd memento. Whether she meant it for herself, or for me to find later, these things were collected and stored with love and thought.
I also became aware of where my packrat nature stems from.....and this is a good thing.