The Downsizing and Goodbye !
By Eleanor, Our Newest Guest Blogger
Our long-term plan had always been to downsize one day. Sell our house and move into a small apartment in the city. But still, when the time came I did not feel ready. Downsizing, more so than moving, is saying goodbye. Downsizing, much more so than moving, is getting rid of stuff. A whole lot of stuff. Walking through our house I was overwhelmed. Every closet was full, every drawer overflowing. There were books, vases and photos on every shelf in every room. The garage was filled with boxes, albeit nice plastic storage boxes. We had untold amounts of tools and light bulbs. Carpet remnants and cans of paint, of course. We had the walker I used after my hip replacement surgery. We had not one but three bicycles. And, as sentimental as I am, a large footlocker with my kids’ toys even the grandchildren had long ago outgrown. All this would have to disappear. It was time to let go and there was no turning back.
I began in the kitchen. After throwing out all plates, glasses and vases which had a crack, no matter how artfully repaired, it was time to admit that I do not use, nor need, toaster, blender, waffle iron, crock pot and coffee urn. I agonized over the large mixer and Cuisinart, but when I thought about the minuscule counter they would have to occupy, it was clear there would be no space for either.
Little by little, as I began to get a taste for the task, for getting rid of clutter accumulated over decades, I began to feel lighter. A burden had lifted, as though I had literally carried all the stuff on my shoulders. I looked forward to trash day. I threw out magazines, receipts and old files. I filled my car everyday and drove to the Goodwill. I did this fifty two times and with each run I felt lighter and freer. I donated books, games, framed posters and dumbbells. I donated radiators and fans. Endless boxes of clothes. I dropped blankets and pillows where homeless people had pitched their tents.
The hard part, the really hard part came when I found the large white tablecloth I had been saving for that special family occasion. After the last family celebration, I laundered it with special care to remove all the stubborn spots, pressed and folded it with love and tucked it away on the high shelf of the linen closet, tucked away along with my memories. The day of reckoning was here and who was I kidding? The kids were grown, had moved away and I no longer need the large white tablecloth. It is time to put those moments into my mind’s “library of the lovely” and take my first step into my freer, less encumbered downsized life.
Basic steps to downsizing:
- Determine your needs in your new place. It is helpful to have some idea where you will be moving, size of the place and room areas and layout.
- Evaluate if you will have new storage areas in your new home.
- Try to gauge large furniture pieces first.
- Go through your home and storage areas, every cabinet, closet and shelf should be assessed (save or go)
- Sell or give to charity all your stuff that you do not want or need.
- Good luck and no regrets!
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