As we go through life, a great many of us tend to collect too much stuff. We may not be considered as pack rats, but maybe that is only because we have lots of places to store the stuff we have and thus keep it out of sight. Well, Vicki and I are pretty sure that is what happened to us.
We once had a friend who got rid of whatever he had not used in the previous six months. That seemed extreme to me, and wasteful. We have stuff we haven’t used in the past 10 years. It has been our experience that when we get rid of an item we haven’t used in years, we find the week after it is gone that we need it.
We have both lost our parents, who also had well stocked homes. In the case of my parents, we kept the Lunenburg home for a full year or more after they had passed, and it was in my head that we would move to Lunenburg in our retirement. But that plan got shelved when our children moved to New Brunswick. It seemed redundant to think about moving that far away from our family. So, we sold the house there, and packed all their stuff into a big U-Haul truck and brought it to Amherst. We should have made better decisions!
Some of the stuff from the homes of other relatives also found a home in our home, and bit by bit the empty spaces filled up.
We bought the home we live in now so Vicki’s parents could have a nice place to live without worry about upkeep, and that worked out really well. Their space was the first floor of the house, and their stuff filled it quite well. It became ours when her mother went to live in a nursing home. We still have all! It’s odd, I think, that for many years after my mother died, I felt a sense of loyalty to her stuff. It was as though I inherited a responsibility to keep it in her memory. That’s probably crazy thinking, but there it is. I think those feelings have finally disappeared. Thank goodness!
Throughout our life together, I collected a considerable number of books. I was an avid reader, and I frequently bought books I thought would be of some research value to our children and grandchildren as they pursued their educations. I could not see the coming of the internet, and even when it did come into our lives, I could not see the extent to which it would be used to replace books. As it turned out, neither my children or my grandchildren had any use for my books, despite my continued efforts to warn them against accepting research information they find on the internet. So now we have totes filled with books of all sorts, and no idea of what to do with them.
Vicki enjoyed collecting tea cups, and she has some beauties. Try as she might, she cannot get anyone in the family to take them. It’s the same for stacks of dishes. We have a couple of cupboards filled with table covers, placemats and cloth napkins and other stuff related to setting a nice table. We have little figurines and other knick-knacks that I collectively call dust collectors. The list goes on!
Now the time has come to think about downsizing. Our home is way too large for two people, and I can no longer do the upkeep as it should be done. I have to hire everything done, and that drains our financial resources. I’m sure many of you can relate to this conundrum!
I’d be interested in hearing about your experience at downsizing. My e-mail is email@example.com.
Jerry Randall is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.