Today I came across ads from people selling things on Marketplace. That brought back memories of the time we bravely embarked on a downsizing expedition.
If you want a freight-train view of the past several decades of your life, just start sorting through the things you savored as “keepsakes” for reasons unknown to sane people.
There was the baby’s binky stuck inside the bottom of the freezer. (The “baby” was fifteen years old.) We found a box of rusty clothes hangers, reminders of the day when we were too poor to afford nice, plastic ones.
We found baby clothes our adult children once wore. Stuck behind those was a packet of old love letters, carefully hidden from the prying eyes of children.
“What do ya need these for?” our daughter said, pointing with her toes to a box of cassette tapes in our living room.
"Um, Dad collected those over the years,” I offered. “They’re sermons he taped from preachers of the past. The other 500 are in the garage.”
I had to ask myself, why do Americans have such an affinity for collecting things?
In self-defense, I decided it harkens back to our pioneer ancestors who probably said, “Better keep that thar axe handle, Cletus. We might need it when this ‘un wears out.”
So, what does a person do with the excess clutter? I don’t recommend everything our adult children did prior to our last move—but it served our purpose. First, they delivered a truckload of our things to charity, then rented an industrial-sized dumpster and disposed of a large percentage of our belongings while they kept us occupied elsewhere.
To those who prefer a gentler approach, we recommend yard sales or Marketplace. And of course, donating things to charity stays at the top of the list.
Christmas time is not quite here, yet the old tune “Jingle Bells” came to mind one day while mulling over the fate of our excess clutter. I wrote the poem below, which fit nicely into both the verse and the chorus of “Jingle Bells.”
Several months ago, we thought we found a place.
The price was just our size. “Just fix it up” they'd say.
It’s diff’rent than the last; less storage space, you see.
And now we’re pitching all the things we found we didn’t need.
Oh, rusty bolts, fishing poles, pictures old and gray.
We don’t remember all this stuff. Where did it come from, say?
Baby clothes, dolls that doze, cassette tapes from our youth.
Books and hooks-let’s sell this stuff. Downsizing’s not uncouth.
So to the shed I go, almost ev’ry day.
Making piles to sell, at auction, not e-bay.
It’s great to live this way, uncluttered by the stash,
Someday our kids won’t have to sort, and we get extra cash.
(Repeat chorus cheerfully)
Your turn. Any thoughts on the benefits or methods of downsizing? Feel free to comment below.