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Thread: Those of you who have downsized,

  1. #1
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Those of you who have downsized,

    do you have any regrets either way? For example, do you regret giving up too much stuff? Or do you regret not getting rid of more before you moved?

    We are getting ready to downsize, and I'm finding it really difficult to get rid of stuff. Last time we moved I just moved everything we had and didn't try to weed things out. This time I really only want to move the stuff we will actually use. My biggest quandries are over my sewing and quilting items -- quite a few plastic bins of fabric stash, many small plastic bins of "to do" quilt projects, my 10' quilting frame, tons of batting, etc.

    I remember once getting rid of all my black fabrics, only to then find the perfect pattern for using it. Makes me worry about getting rid of fabric, although I have a lot of calicos I can't imagine ever using in the future.

    Anyway, I'm just wondering what kind of advice those of you who have "been there, done that" might have for me. It won't be too long before dh and I are in our 70's, but we are active and in good health (so far).

    Edit: I should add my mil is 98 and still living in her home of 60 years. My dh is going to have his hands full cleaning out that house some day! Lots of knick knacks and bric-a-brac that are not our style. She did sell her old hats to a lady who runs a vintage clothing store......

  2. #2
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    When I downsized I got rid of things I hadn't used in years. I took all my sewing room contents with me. Just recently I had a sale for quilters and xstitchers. I gave away a lot of unfinished projects and material I had saved for specific projects, sold books and material I couldn't remember why I liked it. I haven't missed my of it. I figured after I downsized I would have lots more time to play in my sewing room. Good luck on your next endeavor.
    Marilyn

  3. #3
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    A friend of mine downsized. She got rid of all her fabric, but did keep her sewing machine. Now she's buying like there is no tomorrow. She has said she should not have done it, so hardly. We tried to tell her to take it slow, but she wouldn't listen.
    Love to quilt and play with the great grandkids

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i have to downsize right now. i will not get rid of any of my sew/quilt/knit stuff. i'll just find more creative storage solutions. i'm switching from a queen bed to a twin [but i'm sure that won't work for you and hubs LOL ] luckily my daughter can take a lot of furniture... some with family history. now that i won't have a house, i'm getting rid of most of my tools... way too many of those any clothes that i've been thinking i'll fit into again one day are also out the door!
    Nancy in western NY
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  5. #5
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    It is really hard to say. I have tried to downsize since I had to help clean out my mother's house after she passed. We would tease my parents that the family motto was, "Never throw anything away that might have future use." Let me tell you about the bags full of bags we found, but lets say there were at least 10, upstairs. And those wonderful little plastic boxes you get with salads, or pastries, or other wonderful little food items - we stopped counting when we reached 100. They had more books than a small library.

    So when I came home I started thinking if I hadn't used it in a year it was time to get rid of it. Went thru my dresser and got rid of a lot, but not as much as I planned. Went out to the garage and found old planters we haven't used in over 15 years, and various other items in boxes. My husband was thrilled since I was making more room for his things. And then there was my sewing room, scraps that people have given me, that I was sure I would never use, other fabric that I saved and lots of flannel. There were several larger pieces that I bought years ago and though I still liked it, there were no recent plans so off it went. And who doesn't have left over batting? A friend was over playing with my embroidery machine and I was getting ready to throw out my bits and pieces of batting, she said her daughter wanted it to make purses and bags. Yeah!!! It went to good use and out of my house.

    I am not sorry that I got rid of anything. Because I still buy more books than I can read in a month, I only subscribe to one quilt magazine and when i see that fabric I can't resist - it comes homes. So next month after my daughter moves out it is time to do it again and hopefully go through a few more cabinets.

  6. #6
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    I would definitely keep the blacks and other solids that you would use for trim or shadow like for Attic window patterns or such. You could break it down to yardage such as 3yds max and only those fabrics you really like to work with. As for the 10' quilting frame do you have room for it. I would put the small bins of "to do" into one large bin. You can always throw a cover over it and use it as a side table. Just keep a few yards of the calico that you can fit into one with other fabrics you don't use much and only a few yards of those. I only keep my stuff in clear containers. Saves my sanity! Have a craft/ rummage sale. It would help recoup any loss.

  7. #7
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    That Peter guy from Australia has videos on how to downsize. He also says if it hasn't been used in between 6-24 months send it out get rid of it. If you bring something in get rid of something.
    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingcandy View Post
    It is really hard to say. I have tried to downsize since I had to help clean out my mother's house after she passed. We would tease my parents that the family motto was, "Never throw anything away that might have future use." Let me tell you about the bags full of bags we found, but lets say there were at least 10, upstairs. And those wonderful little plastic boxes you get with salads, or pastries, or other wonderful little food items - we stopped counting when we reached 100. They had more books than a small library.

    So when I came home I started thinking if I hadn't used it in a year it was time to get rid of it. Went thru my dresser and got rid of a lot, but not as much as I planned. Went out to the garage and found old planters we haven't used in over 15 years, and various other items in boxes. My husband was thrilled since I was making more room for his things. And then there was my sewing room, scraps that people have given me, that I was sure I would never use, other fabric that I saved and lots of flannel. There were several larger pieces that I bought years ago and though I still liked it, there were no recent plans so off it went. And who doesn't have left over batting? A friend was over playing with my embroidery machine and I was getting ready to throw out my bits and pieces of batting, she said her daughter wanted it to make purses and bags. Yeah!!! It went to good use and out of my house.

    I am not sorry that I got rid of anything. Because I still buy more books than I can read in a month, I only subscribe to one quilt magazine and when i see that fabric I can't resist - it comes homes. So next month after my daughter moves out it is time to do it again and hopefully go through a few more cabinets.

  8. #8
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    "Clutter's Last Stand" by Don Aslett is a book I highly recommend when one wants to start getting rid of clutter (and/or downsizing.

  9. #9
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    http://www.peterwalshdesign.com/#&panel1-3

    thanks for reminding us about Peter Walsh. Mr. Stitchnripper and I used to watch Clean Sweep - just the parts where he went through the "stuff" with the homeowners, to help them decide how/what to purge. He was not an advocate of getting rid of everything, but had some great ideas. He has helped us over the years to decide what goes.

    As far as downsizing, I am thinking about that as we approach "that age" - what do I really need and want? I do keep a donation bag going and work on keeping it full. Good luck with it all. Not easy.
    Alyce

  10. #10
    Super Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    Every so often I go through my stuff and get rid of what I haven't used in a year, I pass it on to my guild, gw or to someone who needs it. Once in awhile I look for something that is gone but if it is really needed, can go find something similar to use. It also gives me a reason to find new stuff.

  11. #11
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Thanks for this post. I retire in 6 years and have already started the downsizing process in my craft/sewing/quilting room. I am hopeful that I am keeping what I need and tossing what I won't regret tossing....one thing that I am doing is making "quilt kits" with a pattern and the fabric, cut to size, stored in 2-gallon sized Ziploc bags. It will be easier to move a bunch of kits than the huge amount of fabric that I have!
    Mistakes are just opportunities to invent a new quilting technique!

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    It has helped me to analyze what I truly enjoy about quilting. For example, I enjoy piecing quilt tops and quilting them on my longarm machine. Appliquéing, art quilts,etc. no longer grab my attention. With that in mind, I have eliminated some books and patterns, donated some items to my guild's charity projects and so on. I am blessed with a lovely stash and do my "shopping" there first before buying more fabrics for a project. Hope this makes it easier to make downsizing decisions.

  13. #13
    Super Member abdconsultant's Avatar
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    If you don't love it. Pitch it.
    Just passing through!

  14. #14
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    I moved from a 2 story plus full basement house half way across the country. It was so hard to get started on what to part with. But I refused to part with anything from my sewing room. So the easiest way to start down sizing for me was to make a list of things that were to expensive to replace-appliances and furniture- tools. Then things that could not be replaced such as pictures and albums and memento's from loved ones. I pitched excess clothing-linens-dishes- pots/pans.When I moved into that house it took 3 -22ft box truck loads. When I left that house I did it in 1 22ft BT and it contained all of my stuff plus my son's and brother's belongings as well. I was shocked at how much excess crap I had. And I have not regretted getting rid of one thing. And since I have been here I have gotten rid of more excess and I love not having all the un-useful stuff cluttering up the place.Cleaning and staying organized is so much easier.

  15. #15
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    We downsized four years ago because of health reasons. There are things I should have weeded out that are still here and things I got rid of that I should have kept...just the nature of things I guess. I did weed out lots of fabrics I didn't think I would use and about half of my quilting library, some fancy fabrics and neckties, etc. It doesn't really matter, if I find that I need it I can usually buy another one. I still need to go through the entire house and weed some more!

  16. #16
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    My husband and I will be the ones responsible when both of our parents pass, even though we both have siblings, we seem to be the most 'responsible'. I cringe when I visit my parent's basement, or my dad's machine shed. Literally, you cannot walk into it. My parents live on the farm that my grandfather purchased in the 1930s. My dad worked the farm with my grandfather. When g'pa passed away,at home at age 100, my parents moved into the family home, clearing out most of my grandparents things indoors, but there is still a lot of it in the attic, I believe.
    My inlaws are a little better, but they have a farm with a very large home(packed to the gills) and a lake place with 2 storage barns. (we're talking huge pole buildings.)
    We sincerely hope that our parents, both sets, live long enough to downsize and make decisions on their own 'treasures'.

  17. #17
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    We recently had some renovation done in the main floor of our home (it's a "one-story" house with a walk-out basement). It required moving pretty much everything out of the main floor. We've been living in the basement for two months. It's now time to start moving back in and I find I'm overwhelmed (and frankly a bit depressed) about all the stuff. When we "packed" to move out of the main floor, I got rid of three banker boxes of books, found homes for half of my quilting/knitting magazines, and also got rid of-- through donation or trash-- two large hefty bags of clothes. But then there's my DH's stuff, which he's made clear I cannot touch.

    I watched some of the Peter Walsh videos, but they're all missing a key element: how do you help someone become even willing to get rid of stuff, to even open the door to the spare bedroom that is actually a storage room, to then open one of the 100+ boxes that have accumulated over the years? Walsh's video's assume a willingness -- "okay, today we're going to take on small appliances; go to the back of your cupboards and pull out those appliances you don't use any more; donate them". All well and good, 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?
    jillaine

  18. #18
    Super Member kuntryquilter's Avatar
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    We downsized 17 years ago & I have regretted it ever since. We went from a 4 bedroom/3 bath/4 level house to a 2 bedroom condo type dwelling. If I had it to do over, I would never move to a smaller home.

  19. #19
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    I downsized when I came to Illinois. I left a 7 br/5 bath home and came to a 4 br home so I had to get rid of a lot of things. NOT my fabric...I have missed a few things I parted with but not many..the ones I missed are things I never thought I would want like a clear salad bowl. I forgot I used it for a layered dip. Oh well. I did clean out my sewing room earlier this year. I gave quite a lot to a church that does charity quilts and was given a letter from them to take to my accountant at tax time. (I really was shocked...I had no idea I could do that). Like QuiltnNan I now only have twin beds all over my house. I decided they are so much easier to change and since I live alone it works just fine. It is nice to have linens that fit every bed in the house and I love making quilts that size..much easier to handle.

    Both my late husband and I were collectors so it was hard to part with our things but looking back I am glad I don't have so much "stuff" and I am working hard not to collect a lot of extra things again.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
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  20. #20
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    We downsized and I hate it. The things I sold or gave away, I have needed at one time or another. I guess that's the price you pay. I wish I had not gotten rid of my fabric as I could have used the 1 yard pcs. very easily. I am making dresses for the missions and children in other countries.
    Dodee
    Last edited by Dodee; 06-12-2014 at 05:16 AM. Reason: forgot a reason

  21. #21
    Junior Member homebody323's Avatar
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    I did serious downsizing 3 years ago. My most used trick is to put wheels on as much as possible. For example. I have a 4x8ft sewing table (had it built since I moved here) It has a lower shelf and 6 wheels. I bought locking ones but the weight of it keeps it from rolling easily. At the short end of the table are 3 shelving units I have fabric totes stored on. I can easily roll the table out of the way to get to them. The area on either side is too small to work on both sides so I just roll it up to the side I don't want to be working on. Plenty of space. The base of the table is packed with boxes, pressing board, totes - whatever. I used old drawers and had one fitted under the top of the table. It's shallow and wide, Plenty of room for rotary cutters, pens, note paper whatever. There is a nifty little area behind the chimney about 4'x6' and I use it to store yard tools etc. I don't waste the space used to access it - I put a rolling cart there that holds cleaning supplies. Wheels make all the difference. If you can't put your own wheels on things, think about furniture dollies. They are made of 4 pieces of carpet covered wood with wheels on each corner. Great for moving heavy couches etc. I use mine for heavy totes etc. Roll the tote out of your way if you want to clean, work in a area or rearrange. I'm going to put some mdx board pieces on a few of these (get them from harbor freight on sale for about $9. I'm putting those shelves I mentioned on them for easy cleaning - painting walls, rearranging etc. Wheels are the answer. Even upstairs, I have a large cabinet my brother built for me with a copper top. It's 6 ft long and about 3.5ft tall. We put our television on it - inside are all the large kitchen items I couldn't part with like the food processor, wok, large casseroles. Put it on wheels. So easy to clean around - just rolls out. You can't see the wheels, there is a recessed bottom like on most wardrobes, nightstands. Had the wheels installed underneath so there is only 1/2" gap between the vinyl planking and the bottom of the cabinet. No one has a clue. I also get the wheels at Harbor Freight and pick up a couple of packs of their rotary cutter blades while I'm there. They call them carpet blades. They have worked well for me for over 2 years now. I'm not giving up my stuff till I'm ready. I also purchased a used porta crib for my scraps. It would work well for batting as well. Amazing what that holds and if I need to quickly move things off my cutting table I just pile it there so I have a clear table for a sudden project. You will find a way if you think outside the box a bit. Happy stitching
    Sally Dolin
    Rock Island, IL

  22. #22
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    I downsized this last move because I didn't know until almost the last minute if I was going to have any place to put my things. I gave away baskets full of quilt fabrics and black bags full of other kinds I had collected and am now seriously regretting it. I have to rebuy lots of things and just don't have the money now. I know my circumstances were a little different than most but I would say be very careful of what you get rid of.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    If you open a closet in my house you will not find much of anything in it. Same with cabinets and drawers. Stored items are stored clutter to my mind. But my sewing room is the exception. I reason my house is already downsized so DH's shop items and my sewing items won't be extra stuff when we move, it will be about the only stuff.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  24. #24
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    This is what I would be afraid of. I think if you can not afford to replace items I would be hesitant getting rid of quilt stuff. I am a home maker but when DH retires and the kids have moved out I will need my stash more then ever. I have a box of calico too and so far I have kept it. I got it from other quilters who got rid of it. I already see my adult daughters enjoying 70 style stuff. Maybe calico will become like 1930s fabrics? Anyways I like calicoes. I would get rid of anything else in the house though. As for the 10 foot frame if you use it don't get rid of it but if you do not use it get rid of it. That is a big item. As for damaquilt, I am sorry you decluttered and are now missing items.



    Quote Originally Posted by damaquilts View Post
    I downsized this last move because I didn't know until almost the last minute if I was going to have any place to put my things. I gave away baskets full of quilt fabrics and black bags full of other kinds I had collected and am now seriously regretting it. I have to rebuy lots of things and just don't have the money now. I know my circumstances were a little different than most but I would say be very careful of what you get rid of.
    Last edited by Annaquilts; 06-12-2014 at 06:11 AM.
    Anna Quilts

  25. #25
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    Downsizing always sounds great, BUT never do it fast (in a rush). It is always easier to keep too much, then weed it out later. With the cost of fabric today, you want to think about what it would cost to replace what your have. Then remember it will cost more in 6 months. What has worked for me (this time - have had to do it a couple of times for different reasons, but it's still the same - HARD, HARD, HARD), I divide into groups - KEEPING - NOT SURE - SELLING/DONATE. The items I'm keeping are packed and labeled (this way I can still sew, during the packing and moving process). The items that I'm getting ride of are placed into an OPEN box or boxes also labeled (this is placed in my sewing room), because I might still be adding or taking away before I'm finished. Now for the "NOT SURE" items, I try to place them into one or more of the large vacuum sealed bags(as seen on TV). This MUST stay with my sewing room so that I see all the items all of the time, this gives me time to think about how I feel (I can remove items I would like to get ride of, but I can also add items to the bags - they can be sealed and unsealed over and over again). If by the time my move come up and I still have stuff in the vacuum bags, I make sure to suck out all of the air (this makes them smaller and nice and tight). Then they stay with me, I can always have a fabric sale or I can trade with other quilters for items I want. Sorry this was so long, but I have gotten ride of things too fast before and was SORRY, SORRY, SORRY. So I would like to make sure your not. Good luck

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