Monday, August 24, 2015

Downsizing


Every time my ex-husband and I moved, I learned to clean house and sell or give away things I did not want to pack and move to the next house.
The two times I got divorced it was easy to get rid of the ex’s junk. Without his clothes, his collections, and his tools out in the garage, it left lots of room for my stuff.  It also gave me permission to replace all his man cave junk with nice decorations.
When I married HoneyBunch and we had to combine two households, I cut all my possessions in half by offering things to my three kids.  They were just starting their own homes, so some took furniture; others took household items. I had a monster of a garage sale and called the Disabled Vets to come get the rest. Even like that HB and I had doubles of too many things and so the downsizing continued for a year after we married.
We still have two dining tables, two sets of “grandma’s china,” and two truckloads of Christmas decorations that neither one of us will surrender.
As an educator for thirty-seven years, I had boxes and boxes of books and teaching materials, stuff I carted home every summer and stored until the beginning of school the next fall.  Stuff I needed for reference or to decorate sterile classrooms year after year.  When I retired I gave away twenty boxes jammed with expensive books to the school district in which we live and I threw away/recycled bins and bins of paper, but here I am, seven years later and still trying to use up the dozens of pencils and pens, sticky notes and glue, folders and reams of paper I bought on sale way back then.
The same thing happened when I decided to reduce the number of books in my house by half.  I gave books away, sold some, and then donated the rest to our local library, but still here we go again.  Time to downsize again. 
HoneyBunch and I have decided that as we grow older, we need to have some say about what happens to our “treasures.” We shouldn’t wait until we have to downsize and have no options because of time restraints. We don’t want to leave too much of a mess for our kids after we are gone. We know that most of what we consider valuable will be thrown away or given away, so we might as well and try to do some of that ourselves.   
I hate dusting so the knickknacks will be the first to go.  I am only going to keep the most valuable, those I cannot do without. I guess the piggy bank I had since college and the Buddha I bought when I was a hippy will have to go. I own more sets of dishes than I will ever wear out in the time I have left so they too will be history.  And I really, really do not need two blenders, two mixers, and two punch bowls.
It might be time to throw away all the plastic containers without lids or give away my collection of Wilton cake pans to the granddaughter who aspires to be a chef.  Maybe I can toss the bag of squashed bows I keep in the closet for emergency gift wrapping.
Both my ex-grandmother-in-law and my ex-mother-in-law gave me their Jewel T dishes for safekeeping. I have never used them except for display, so now may be the time to pass those on to my daughter.
I pray (fervently) that my kids think twice before buying me a knickknack for Christmas.  I like chocolate and cash. A gift card would be nice.  
Downsizing will be difficult for HB and me, but it makes us realize that things are just that – things. They might have memories attached to them, reminders of the person who gave the gift, mementos of places and times in our lives, but it would be wonderful to be unencumbered.  It would be nice to own things and not let them own us.

Did I mention how much I HATE dusting? 

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