Tag Archives: how to get rid of stuff

Downsize This!


cartoon-lady-closet1-246x300The confessions of one woman’s trek through the perils of downsizing hell!

Have you ever seen an aging Boomer after the mind-numbing experience of shrinking a house into a condo? There’s a goggle-eyed, crazed look about the eyes that stays for months after the move. I see it with the new incomers here in our condo building. Happily, this stunned look seems to wane after a few months of swimming in the pool and watching someone else do the yard work.

Let’s get down to it: Okay, further to my post It’s Time to Sell, our house sold quickly. The next step was to snap on the rubber gloves and muck it out. So much stuff, so many memories, so little time.

Shocking secrets! I found this painful phase of downsizing a rollercoaster ride into perdition. There’s always one partner who is a collector of peculiarities, and in this case it isn’t me. Seriously! I’m not saying that my beloved Hubsey is an oddball, but rummaging through the darkest corners of our garage, we did uncover a collection of oddities that reflected his supreme oddness; like a large wooden-bin of coal, a case of moldy peach preserves circa 1922, a WWI bayonet with questionable stains on the blade, a well-used hookah pipe and a rather deflated looking blow-up doll. All these items had colourful stories screaming to be told. Unfortunately, they were dug out in deadly silence by our panic-stricken daughter and sniggering son-in-law, during a Saturday morning mucking-out-marathon.     

Painful stuff: As we sorted through the storyboard of our lives, a flood of memories washed over me, drowning out my sense of selection. How could we choose what things to take into our new life, and what to discard like abandoned puppies on a highway? Just how much could we squeeze into our condo and small storage locker? What were we to do with the gazillion tools in Hubsey’s workshop, the storage boxes stacked to the ceiling in the furnace room or the enormous pine box filled with old vinyl records? And would my new condo have space for my eleven rocking chairs? (Okay, so maybe I have some oddities too.) 

Shrinking our piles: We asked our only daughter to rummage through the pickings and take what she wanted. But the poor girl could only haul away so much – until sadly, her garage looked like ours did. The piles just weren’t going down fast enough, and our dreaded closing date was looming large! Short of finding a super-duper vat of Preparation H – nothing was going to magically shrink those piles. Fraught with emotions and the pure physical challenges of back-breaking work, we wanted desperately to turn back the clock and wake up from this nightmare. My sagely advice at this stage of the horror show is to do what I did: dig down deep, cry yourself to sleep and jump in with both feet!  This is going to hurt!
                                            We made our bed…and so we sleep,
                                            Our memories are running deep,
                                            It’s only stuff, we tend to say,
                                            But still it’s hard to give away.

                                            And as we buckle down to work,  
                                            We try hard not to go berserk,
                                            There’ll be a story here to tell, 
                                            If we survive downsizing-hell.

Check out my next post Mucking Out the Memories for the scoop on how we did it.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene