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Thread: Those of you who have downsized,

  1. #26
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    WE downsized and stuck my son with some family things. Once we arrived at the new destination, we wondered why we didn't just sell everything but the family pictures. It would have been less expensive to just go buy the new furniture that went together in the new home rather than trying to make the old stuff "work." WE paid to move it, then we bought new and donated the old. WE thought we had it figured out, but didn't. My sewing/craft things came and I'll never get them all finished.
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. #27
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I am the same age as you. I started cleaning out my stuff a few years ago and this summer have really gone though everything again, a lot of work. I definitely would not give up my hobby stuff ! Last year we took about 15 trips to thrift stores to drop off excess stuff. I always have a bag nearby to drop the excess into, I also give to family.

  3. #28
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    When we downsized, I kept my fabric. Had two dumpsters full of accumulation and have not missed any of it. You can always have a 'quilter's' garage sale after you have moved and have decided what you want to keep.

  4. #29
    Super Member rosiewell's Avatar
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    we went from a 3,600 sq ft sprawling home to a 1,700 sq ft townhouse. We had lived in the house close to 25 years. Getting rid of furniture and stuff was mind boggling, finally I decided that if I hadn't used it in 10 years it had to go and that included fabric, notions and gadgets. We have lived in the townhouse for 10 years now and I do not miss anything at all. (ok maybe I do miss some things, but not enough to replace them)

  5. #30
    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    I purged my entire 4 br house when I retired then painted everything. Yes! I purged to the WALLS. Then I lost my husband and purged again. Unbelievably, I found, met and married a widower and moved out of state. PURGED again! I nearly froze in winter where we were living so we moved south. PURGED AGAIN. Now we live in a tiny fishing shack and I have just what I need in a house that requires very little maintenance. My living room is my sewing room, guest room's my fabric storage, old buffet is my storage for tools, backings, etc., front screened in porch is my raised big cutting table. I have never regretted purging a thing, even my mother's Singer 500 Rocketeer. The secret is to send your things where you know they can will be used and enjoyed.
    I especially encourage you to get rid of any UFOs that you can part with. You can not imagine the relief I felt when those were out of my life and no longer my worry. Now I am in charge of what I own and my "stuff" does not own me. Also, begin recording in your handwriting what pieces/things you want to go to what friend or member. Or, if you can, go ahead and send them on their way.
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  6. #31
    Super Member tlpa's Avatar
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    I am starting to do the same thing, with a move maybe in a year or so. My thoughts are to get rid of as much of the big bulky items as possible. I figure furniture I like here might not fit there, so I will get rid of a lot of it. Clothing I have tons of that I have started to weed. My sewing room will be the room that stays mostly in-tact, although with a move in mind, as I go through fabric for projects if I don't think I'll use it I am making a pile to move it out as well.

  7. #32
    Senior Member AlvaStitcher's Avatar
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    Oh dear! We are moving in July but we are UPSIZING! Our present home is 1150 sq ft. 2/1. We are having a house built north of us in the state that is just under 1800 sq ft. 3/2 I am so looking forward to having more room. Our house always looks cluttered to me because of lack of space. We have gotten rid of some things and will not be taking most of our furniture only family antiques. Looking forward to new! My quilting treasures will go with us intact. I will have a room dedicated to a sewing room so I can spread out to my heart's content. I guess we are downsizing our stuff but upsizing our space! LOL

  8. #33
    Senior Member judee0624's Avatar
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    We downsized 15 years ago, before I started quilting. We had 2 garage sales and donated a ton of stuff to Salvation Army. We don't miss any of it. Since moving we have filled up our new and smaller home to the point where maybe we should move again. If you know you aren't going to use something like those calicos, donate them to a local guild. Or sell them on EBay. You won't miss them. Good luck.

  9. #34
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    I am hoping to move to a different area of the USA within 18 months. I have started thinking about this issue; in fact, I am actively decluttering. I am willing to let furniture, clothing, and many other things go. In fact, I went through my books and gave away 450. There are two categories I am not going to declutter further: books and sewing/quilting stuff.

    Regarding sewing stuff, I have several major categories:

    1) clothing fabrics, patterns, and tools;

    2) My quilting stuff (which I started collecting 15-20 years before retirement, knowing DH would have a tizzy if I bought it during retirement;

    3) Stuff for homeless quilts. Frankly, this is the issue right here. I continue to make charity quilts, working on them every week. People keep giving me fabric, faster than I can sew it up. I get a lot of scraps, and have a whole big laundry basket of scraps washed, trimmed, and pressed and ready to go into string quilts. I bought an Accuquilt GO to make cutting faster for homeless scrap quilts. If I could give up this category of quilting, I could donate a ton of stuff to others to use for charity quilts. My house would look a whole lot better. I would have more time. I wouldn't have to pay to have it moved. I know all this, and I know there is very little thanks for all this work, yet somehow, I keep doing it. If anyone has thoughts on the subject, please feel free to post.

    A couple years ago, carpet bugs got into my wool and fleece closet and destroyed hundreds of yards of fabric. I do miss it and have often been sorry it's gone when I want to use it. It can't be replaced on a retirement budget. This makes me think I would also miss sewing stuff I let go. I think I would want to use something I just gave away. Plus, tastes change, and I might fall in love with a category again; I'm thinking of the quilter with calicos. I also continue to take quilting classes and generally can find a use for everything; this is handy when filling teachers' supply lists. I welcome any comments.

    In short, I say do not give away quilting and sewing stuff unless you are totally sure you will not use it.

    Cricket
    Last edited by cricket_iscute; 06-12-2014 at 11:39 AM.

  10. #35
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I found it was not difficult to purge my stash and I am still at it when you have an organization you feel comfortable with. I wish I could have purged more before the move. I have found a lovely church that does have missionaries going to third world country so I know that my fabric donation will brighten someone else life.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  11. #36
    Senior Member sewhat540's Avatar
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    Down size I did, not sorry to have done that, if I don't have something to cook because I got rid of what ever it was, go out to eat.

    Now, if we are talking only about fabric, keep it and buy more.
    Have a great week.

  12. #37
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    I spoke with a lady once who gave me a whole new perspective on downsizing. She had moved from a very large historic house into a condo. I commented it must have been hard to do that and her response was "oh no, now I am surrounded by my favorites" She went on to explain that she had so much of everything to fit into such a large house and when she moved to smaller place all she had room for were her favorite dishes, her favorite furniture and so on. I took a look around my big house and realized that most of the stuff was not what I would call my favorite and if I did pick out my favorites in each room I would have enough to nicely put together a much smaller place. So don't think of it as a matter of getting rid of stuff but rather keeping your favorites.

  13. #38
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    I had to downsize last summer and it wasn't easy. All my quilting stuff came with me with the exception of some magazines that I donated to interested QBers. I am very sentimental and it was hard to get rid of a lot of things, especially when I found I'd have room for some of it where I'm now living. The only items I regret getting rid of were all the Santas and other Christmas items I'd collected and been given by family and friends. So think long and hard about downsizing those sentimental items you have.

  14. #39
    Super Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jillaine View Post
    but we need the help BEFORE that step-- what's it going to take to shift the mentality, to become willing to let go? How have you handled THAT?
    It isn't about owning, it's about losing. It's about going from the known to the unknown. You are changing your way of life and that can be unsettling. Not having something you once had is a loss, and it's hard to deal with. Sure, you can toss out a broken can opener or a couple of ratty towels and not blink, but when you're going through everything at once, it's overwhelming.

    Approach it practically and rationally. Do you really need 12 serving platters? Will you really use that fabric you bought in 1972? How many plastic bowls should one have? Does everything Aunt Pearl gave you need to be in your home? Do one room at a time and leave your "comfort" rooms for last - your sewing room, your husbandís garage. Pick up each thing and if you don't love it or are indifferent, toss it, yard sale it, or donate it. Take a few days or a week between rooms, do them together if you both have an interest in that room. List what you will do with the furniture, appliances, things that are difficult to move or that you still need. If you store stuff in your basement, attic, garage, barn, or under your bed and you havenít opened the boxes in 3 years or more, unless you know itís those memories from your kids when they were little or your first doll, your college notebooks or electric hair curlers (I have those ), donít open them, just toss them out. Really. Save yourself, lol. When you start feeling stressed, stop.

    A few years back I had 4 tote bins of fabric, which I whittled down and gave to the woman who bought my Babylock Esante, along with 6 books and various quilting and sewing items. As she drove off I had to hold myself back from chasing after her van, but three days later I was ok. I promised myself I would keep what I loved that would fit into one bin and use only that. Well, sometimes I find something new and fun and I have to rearrange that bin (aka squish) but have so far kept that promise. It really is a waste of $ to have fabric beyond what you will sew. I will buy something that I love, but only 1/2 - 2-1/2 yards, then I have to use it within 6 months or I can't buy anything else new. It keeps my stash reasonable, fresh, and avoids duplicates. And I don't feel guilty about spending $ I really don't have.
    Nancy

    Just keep going!

  15. #40
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness, I have my head in the sand right now. I have been sitting here reading this thread for at least 30 minutes--agonizing with each one of you--because that thought is in the back of my mind day and night--GET RID OF IT...DON'T BUY ANYTHING ELSE...NOTHING....and I hate the feeling, because I love to shop and spend money. But our house, my sewing room, and DH's shop are crammed full of my stuff. He has no problem whatsoever with getting rid of something that he bought and is now tired of. I simply cannot do that. I want to look at it, or use it, or move it, and I have to keep it because I might need it, or want it again soon. And sometimes soon turns into a year or two.

    Speaking of "head in the sand" my kids all call me an ostrich. Can you believe that? I have spent the entire afternoon out in my sewing room straightening up fabric and re-stacking it onto shelves already running over. I just keep pushing one more little piece in; I have ladies coming over tomorrow who want to see my sewing room, and I just could not let them see it in the mess that it was in. If I would only put that piece back where it was when I am working on a new idea for a quilt.....

    Good luck as you go through your downsizing efforts. Maybe you can pass one of the ideas that works for you on to me. I am trying to do it before my kids have to.
    Make every day count for something!

    JoAnn

  16. #41
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    this hit home as we just moved from our house to a furnished rental condo. I got rid of a lot of stuff I liked. Stuff that belonged to my mom who died 50 years ago. I kept a few things, about 25% of the clothes I had. I did keep most of my larger pieces of fabric but got rid of a lot of small scraps. They all went to good homes.

    I feel that the reason most people have so much stuff is, they never have to deal with it. Either your heirs do it after you die, or if you move, you can hire someone to pack it all up and move it. I have always been very cognizant of what someone would have to deal with if I died. If I pictured them shaking their head and saying, "Why on EARTH did she save that?" - out it went. A friend whose elderly mother died told me, in her house, she had a room filled with nothing but jars. I didn't want to be like that.

    The reason we moved is DH's health. He just can not do stairs anymore and we had a raised ranch, steps either way to get into it. I find I did not mind getting rid of anything as long as I have HIM. When someone you love faces a health crisis (his is lymphoma) everything else gets put into perspective. I want to say, People, they are just THINGS. They may be pretty things, useful things, or things someone gave you, but in the end they are just things. They don't matter.

  17. #42
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    I downsized when I got married (at 55) and combined households with my husband into a house that is smaller than mine was. Do I miss some things? Yes -- I still cringe at the memory of seeing my slightly rusted outdoor table and chairs -- still with the custom-fitted cushions I made -- being lifted by a big claw machine into a giant dumpster.

    But overall I am relieved. I kept my grandmother's china and crystal and my piano though I never use them, but got rid of tons of stuff, including much of my furniture. Even today, when I walk out of the thrift shop after making a donation, I fell like I've just lost 15 pounds.

    Life is short. There is so much more to enjoy than STUFF. The slight pain at giving a much-loved item to charity or a good friend is compensated for by a feeling of freedom that endures.
    "Accomplishment is a consequence of effort" -- Michael Crichton

  18. #43
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    We too downsized. We used to live in a 4,000 sq. ft. house with a 5 car garage and a shed. When we first knew we wanted to move we filled a 20 yard dumpster with accumulated junk from living in the same house for 20 years (saved jars, coffee cans, Big Wheels from when the kids were little, etc..). Then, once the house actually sold (which was 3 years later) we rented another 20 yard dumpster and filled it again. I also took carload after carload of items to the charity stores.

    1. If things held a memory for me but I didn’t need the actual item anymore, I snapped a digital picture of it. This way if I ever want to see my stuff again I can. Then, out the item went!
    2. I saved and moved only my favorite furniture. The rest we gave away and decided that if we needed more furniture at the “new” house we would buy it there.
    3. I packed every last spool of thread, scrap of fabric, and sewing machines!!!! (Again, stuff I love came with us)
    4. Anything that was bulky or non-sentimental and fairly inexpensive to replace did not make it into the moving truck. E.g.: Christmas wrapping paper, bird feeders, hoses, rakes, shovels, garbage cans, board games, jigsaw puzzles, etc.
    5. Several pickup loads of great stuff went off to live with our brothers and sisters. E.g.: tractor lawn mower, push lawn mower, snow blower, ladders, hoses, rakes, shovels, wheel barrow, tree pruning items, chainsaw, plant pots, patio furniture, bikes, stools, etc. None of this was sentimental to us and it went to good homes. The only things we needed to replace at this new house was a shovel, a hose, and a push lawn mower.

    Everything we took with us fit into a 26 foot truck and was moved half way across the country. As it turned out, we really didn’t downsize much since our 3,600 sq. ft. home is only 400 sq. ft. less than the one we left. However, our belongings are MUCH less and we bought second hand furniture from CL to fill the empty rooms as required. That was very affordable and we got furniture that we like a lot better than what we gave away!

    I do NOT regret getting rid of that stuff and have not missed one item. But, as others have said, if you love it, then keep it. If it was something I loved but didn’t feel I needed the actual item in my possession anymore then I snapped a picture so that I could always have the memory which was the important thing to me.

    I did still save and bring a lot of stuff to our new city. That 26 foot truck emptied into a 10X30 foot storage locker until we found a house. Luckily everything fit easily into this house with room to spare! I am glad I did not toss things that would be expensive to replace or things that I love. I am surrounded by items my kids made and gave me, my wedding cake topper, my favorite set of encyclopedias (from the 1920’s), my china and formal serving pieces (which I do use), etc.. I hope your downsizing ends up being all positive.

  19. #44
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I am trying to weed out stuff I know I won't use. And like a few others stuff I have not used in years. I have been taking them to Goodwill and I hope someone gets some good out of them. I also donate to Linus and feel good about that.

  20. #45
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I want to thank everyone for their comments. It has helped! I like the idea of taking my "favorites" with me; it helped me empty out the tote I had labeled "cheap muslin" into the Goodwill bag. I realized cheap muslin is something I can easily replace if-and-when I actually need some.

  21. #46
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    Everyone here has good ideas and suggestions. I try to work on a different room in the house each week. I find if I organize one closet I'm able to donate or throw away a lot. It amazes me sometimes when I've cleaned a closet and see "empty" spots and don't miss anything I've purged. Sometimes we keep stuff simply because we don't get to the back of the closet so what is there stays there.

  22. #47
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    I fine its easier to clean out things if I can give away the stuff to people that will use it. Its such a nice feeling to give something away expecting nothing in return. I know of a guy that sets up a table in his front yard and puts stuff on it for people to take and he put out a sign saying free. And the stuff always seems to disappear.

  23. #48
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramajo View Post
    I had to downsize last summer and it wasn't easy. All my quilting stuff came with me with the exception of some magazines that I donated to interested QBers. I am very sentimental and it was hard to get rid of a lot of things, especially when I found I'd have room for some of it where I'm now living. The only items I regret getting rid of were all the Santas and other Christmas items I'd collected and been given by family and friends. So think long and hard about downsizing those sentimental items you have.

    Your reference to Santa's reminds me of my Santa collection. When I married and moved into my DH house, I brought the Santa's with me. I have not seen my collection for about ten years. They are stored in the creepy basement. I would not go down there.

    We recently had the basement waterproofed, new windows installed and DH is cleaning and painting it. New lighting is installed. I now know where my collection is! But I have a feeling that no longer care about my Santas. I used to display them on shelves at my old house. Hmmmm....maybe after I unwrap them and dust them ff I will feel differently. Maybe not.

    Things are meant to move into your life then move on. I rarely "miss" stuff....except my old house! LOL! Loved my 70's ranch! (Newly remodeled when I moved). Sigh.....

    sandy
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  24. #49
    Super Member carrieg's Avatar
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    It helps me to remember that if I get rid of something someone like my grandma or my great aunt gave me, it does not mean I love that person any less.
    Carol in Michigan

  25. #50
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    I wish I had advice for you. All I can do is commiserate. Just finishing cleaning out my father's house. It will be sold soon. The house doesn't present a problem but the stuff in it does.

    People are important to me. I have never had many - moved too often. And then there are the family members I never knew in person but know well from stories from other family members. There are "things" that I don't "use" but still give me pleasure. And those things attach to people.

    My father's stuffed animals is a case in point. His great aunts (7 of the ladies) could create the most intriguing critters using their sewing and handwork skills. The critters are works of art and have lasted through a little boy and lots of wandering around the USA. They are not just old toys to me. They are connections; them to me and me to them.

    Lots of decisions and things to do before someone empties my house.

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