The Truth About Downsizing

Oh that simple little word that people start to banter around when you get to a certain age.

Downsizing.  A sometimes gentle way for adult children to tell their parents ” It’s time to get rid of your stuff so we don’t have to”

There are two reactions to this suggestion.  “You are right, it is time”  or  “Nope, no way!”   Or a third reaction when the grown kids are out of sight.  “Not only no, but hell no.  That is their problem when I kick”

A fourth reaction is the one my parents used. They said it with sincerity and had every good intention to follow through.  Their response “We have a two year plan”

Seemed fair enough.  Two years to get rid of stuff, find a newer smaller place, make lots of decisions at a reasonable pace.  Yes, all of that except…

Their two years turned into 25 years.  The plan just renewed itself much like those aggavating subscriptions that renew automatically and there is no going back once they have your money.

The inevitable happened and we had to do it for them.

It was a job but it was not without its comical finds which included:

  • Every plastic netting from around every pear they received from Harry and David gift boxes. 100+
  • Those little white plastic “tables” from pizza boxes ( I think I counted 50)
  • The original “decorative” cushions from a couch they had when I was five
  • Tombstone cleaner ( didn’t know they made such a thing)
  • A travel hairdryer that turned into an iron..wait what?

Once we got through that job, we took a hard look at all of our stuff and decided it was time for us to move and do the dreaded downsize.

So we did and we are still doing it as we go through the many boxes that still clutter our garage.

Much to the dismay of my many organized friends who are quick to say throw it out, or give it away,  I am not that quick.  The inevitable question from that group comes with quizical  wonder and a touch of judgement “You aren’t done yet and why are there still boxes in your garage?”

To that I answer “I am taking my time “and here is the beauty and truth of downsizing:

It is cathartic to clean out and figure out what you really need and want.  The work is sometimes overwhelming but it can be fun and more than a little nostalgic.  You do, at times, have to put your heart in a little steel cage to protect it from the big and little stabs. Our children have homes of their own and lots of their own stuff so it came as no surprise that they wanted very little from my parents house or from ours.  Still  I had to swallow hard a couple of times.

Also some of your children will be sentimental, others will be a little brutal about it all.

Taking my time has allowed me to see what really fits in my new home and what needs to go.  There were things I thought needed to go and ended up being the perfect fit once I had lived here for awhile.

The biggest beauty is I get to decide.  It was hard moving my Mom out of her home ( a safety necessity).  She lost my Dad and then had to move all within six months.  She longed to keep the dining room chairs.  For the first time ever I found out my grandmother had needlepointed the chair seats.  She never mentioned it before.  They were kept in the family and she liked that but still it was painful.

Yes it is just stuff but I get immense pleasure from sitting at the roll top desk my Dad used or the Secretary that sat in the kitchen and housed my mothers stationary for the thoughtful notes she sent to all of us.

We will be done soon and it will be great but I have no regrets about taking our time.

In the meantime let me leave you with part of the best and funniest obituary I have ever read from a son and his siblings:

“Pat left behind a hell of alot of stuff to her daughter and sons who have no idea what to do with it. So if you are looking for 2 extremely large TV’s from the 90’s, a large ceramic stork (we think) umbrella/cane stand, a toaster oven ( slightly used) or even a 2001 Oldsmobile with a spoiler ( she love putting the pedal to the metal), with only 71,000 kilometers and 1,000 tools that we aren’t sure what they are used for.  You should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch.  Tomorrow would be fine ; )

Credit : Sandy Stocks

As Always Keep Triing,


P.S. You too can get this right into to you inbox almost every Tuesday (a day earlier than everyone else!)  Just fill out the very annoying pop up in this post!

All grammatical and spelling errors are my gift to you and may you have a magical day or several 🙂

I was recently published in the book ” So God Made a Mother”  and more recently I have a quote in the beautiful companion journal ( you can order it here) and I am working on a yet to be named novel.  My six grandchildren keep me young and my very organized hubby Paul tolerates my very unorganized yiddle ( middle and youngest) self.  Opposites do attract 🙂

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