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Those of you who have downsized,

Those of you who have downsized,

Old 06-12-2014, 03:43 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:52 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:55 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:27 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:43 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:02 PM
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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.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:02 AM
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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.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:58 AM
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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.....

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Old 06-13-2014, 03:32 AM
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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.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:55 AM
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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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