Downsizing

I had an epiphany this week. Sad as it might be, I’m not getting any younger. I need to realize that one day I’m not going to be around anymore. All the stuff I’ve been saving because I might need it one day is not needed now and likely never will be. I might as well get rid of it.

I periodically decide to clean and get rid of excess junk. When you move, you pare down and trash things to keep from having to move them. However, I have not moved in 20 years and it is starting to show — big time.

I started with my closet. I don’t work in an office anymore and never wear most of the clothes I own. I could have sworn I cleaned the closet last fall when I had nothing else to do due to the pandemic. I don’t know why I still have so many shoes. Somehow, a clean closet inspires me to buy more clothes.

This time it is not going to happen.

A clean closet inspired me to clean dresser drawers. In case you are wondering, yes, I’ve read Marie Kondo’s book about “tidying up.” She says take each item and ask yourself if it gives you joy. If the answer is no, get rid of it. That doesn’t work for me. If it didn’t give me joy, I wouldn’t have it in the first place.

The question I ask is, “Do I ever use this?” If I don’t currently use it, it is not likely I am going to use it in the years I have remaining. My only exception is a few things for which I have a strong (very strong) sentimental attachment. I once saw a program about organization that said anything worth keeping is worth displaying. With a limited amount of space for living, that draws a pretty clear line.

From the bedroom, I went to the kitchen. There was not a whole lot to do in the kitchen, but it did need organizing. I tried to get rid of the goose pattern dishes (honestly), but realized we would not have anything to eat on. I also kept my “good dishes.” I guess someone else will have to get rid of the wedding china when I die as I simply can’t do it.

Of course, the big overwhelming problem is the attic, stuff that has not been touched in years, stuff I’m going to need “one of these days” — maybe. Ridiculous. So, I resolved to do the deed while I was in the mood. I sent four storage bins of stuff to charity today, and have at least four more that can go next.

I’m giving away some good stuff. I thought I would have a garage sale one day, but garage sales are a lot of trouble. Usually, after dragging all the cast off items out, pricing it, advertising it, spending a day selling it and putting up with people wanting to bargain when stuff is already dirt cheap, I am lucky to end up with a hundred dollars. I am just going to donate it and be done with it once and for all.

It’s hard, but the more things that go, the better I feel. I will soon be done with my hoard. Does everyone have a stuff not good enough to use but too good to throw away? Judging from the many rental storage units seen around town, I’m not the only one. I’m beginning to see that my hoard is only a small part of the problem. Since I have plenty of room, other people put their junk in my attic too.

My back hurts, my allergies are acting up from the dust, I have a headache, and it is hot up there. I’m running out of steam. Maybe I will leave the rest until I have more time. This seems to always be how my stories about downsizing end. 

Copyright 2021 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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9 Responses to Downsizing

  1. In mathematical parlance, downsizing is a continuous function not a discrete one – it is ongoing and continuous. A good rule of thumb, difficult to practice, for every item procured, one must be disposed off!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We just went through this. We sold our home we had been in 20 years, and put our stuff into storage for 6 months while we build a new house. I suspect as we live in an small apartment and realize how little we need that we did not pare down enough.

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    • Sheila Moss says:

      We moved once and lived in a motel room with a kitchenette. It is amazing how little you actually need when you get down to it. Most stuff is just stuff. I am still working on it.

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  3. Lois Hunter says:

    I have had the same thoughts. I have two huge bags of clothes for donation, and that is just my husbands clothes. I got rid of a lot of my things, but since I am no longer going to the office, I also need to clean my closets. I already have some boxes of items for donation. Some are mostly useful junk. One person’s junk is another’s treasure, etc. But, how to get rid of it and dump it on others? Maybe offer a free box of junk, and seal it up. I am desperate. Some things are too good to throw away, and I hate waste. What a dilemma.

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    • Sheila Moss says:

      I donate it to Goodwill and they resell it. Most of my stuff was pretty good junk, but if you never use it, why keep it? Let it go to someone who can use it. It does seem like a waste, but it is a waste to hold on to things you are not using too. If I need an incentive, I watch a program or two of “Hoarders.” That usually does it.

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  4. sniderjerry says:

    Hello Sheila, If my house was an airplane, it would never get off the ground because of all the things in it, most of which I don’t need. I understand. Good luck. Have a great day. Jerry

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  5. After you give away something you have not used in 20 years, a need for it will arise within two weeks!

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    • Sheila Moss says:

      Ha! I’m afraid of that. I think the thing is that you forget what you have, but once you see it, you remember and a use arises. I suppose I can always go to a second-hand thrift shop and find another one.

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