Get a dumpster he said. We don’t need one I replied. We don’t have that much stuff.
That was the argument Mike and I had for years before he passed. We had thought about downsizing with the boys away at college. Some things would have to go. I couldn’t imagine putting our personal belongings into a dumpster. We have all really good stuff, I thought.
Well Mike, it is finally happening. I am moving and boy do I need a dumpster!
For the past five years and a half years I have been slowly going through my clothes, my photos, my books and donating Mike’s clothes and different items we no longer needed. You know, those things that don’t bring me joy.
I watched the Marie Kondo Netflix series and was inspired. I bought a few books on being clutter free and I thought I was doing all the right things.
Last year my Pete, my new husband, sold his house and moved into mine. He brought some of his stuff and put the rest in a storage unit for our “Florida house”. So this year we bought the Florida house and I decided to say Good bye to New York. I will miss this house, but this chapter for me is closing, ever so slowly, and I am ready for the next one to begin.
Meanwhile, all the stuff I thought I got rid of, still seems to be hiding in the corners of closets and garage space. How on earth am I ever going to bring all this to Florida. And do I really need to?
It seems that I thought I was getting rid of unwanted and old items but somehow I was just spreading all of my things into the new spaces abandoned by my sons!
Since both boys were away at college and Mike is no longer here, I had the house to myself for a while. During that time I sorted through some of the memorabilia and things little boys need while growing up. We lived here for 15 years, enough time for the kids to have gone through some wardrobe size changes as well as sports and electronics trends. I did some rearranging and my home is starting to have my personality and look even better than ever.
I love the renovations I have made. The kitchen is just beautiful and brand new. The laundry near my bedroom on the 3rd floor is perfect. The furniture fits this house perfectly and I even decorated it just the way I always wanted it.
This has been one heck of a ride, but I am ready to move forward and that means leaving some things behind.
I have been overzealous lately on Facebook marketplace and Poshmark. I seem to daily be selling items from this house and making new friends!
I don’t know why I still have 35 old cans of paint in my garage. I had two sunfish sailboat sails, five lacrosse sticks, a chocolate fountain, a juicer, two lawnmowers (even though for the past 2 years I have had a lawn service) four pairs of skis and boots and poles. There are boogie boards and rakes, snow shovels and even a never yet used generator. I will not go 11 days without power again like we did after Hurricane Sandy.
After moving everything into the driveway I opened some large black garbage bags and started to toss. People began to stop by and inquire about objects in the driveway. It appeared they assumed I was hosting a garage sale as they wandered about touching my stuff.
Last week I inherited 5 boxes of papers and books that belonged to my mom. It took a few hours to go through those papers. She had been a Poet in Residence and many folders contained stories and poems she had written, some journals and notes she had regarding schools she would be visiting. In addition, I found another couple of hundred photos in one box.
Photos are the one thing I have difficulty abandoning. When Mike and I drove across country in 1987 to California, we had a U-haul container on the roof of my Ford Mustang. He had one suitcase and I brought along about 7 photo albums which is why we needed the container. You can only imagine how many albums and loose photos in shoe boxes I have now.
So other than the photos, I have been doing well decluttering the house. Here are some steps I have taken that could maybe help others:
- Outdated Electronics: DVDs, CDs. Videos, gameboys, video games, laptops. I found quite a bit of these treasures. On Facebook Marketplace I posted photos of video games and controllers. People were eager to pay for those. Also the app decluttr has an option to scan the bar codes and sell back many items.
- Papers: I am still going through these and consolidating as much as possible. Shred bank statements but many papers are available on line, like credit card statements and such so no need to hold onto them.
- Clothes: Trendy name brand items do sell on Poshmark. I’ve enjoyed selling a few items and people appreciate the items. Since I have a lot of “teacher” clothes that I don’t wear anymore, I have been trying to find a few each week to donate.
- Kitchen: So Pete and I are planning to combine our kitchens to one so I don’t need all the extra pots, pans, plates, cups etc. I will keep a few favorites, but plan to donate most of those to either my kids or Good Will.
- Books: This could be just a teacher thing, but I do collect books. I haven’t read them all and I have started to read my books for free on line from the Libby app (connected to the library). For me books are like clothes, I am trying to donate or give away a couple each week.
I have faith in my life and I am looking forward to new beginnings.
Don’t give up the fight. We are so oppressed by our stuff. The idea of a smaller home and less junk is starting to appeal to me. I am enjoying retirement and don’t need all this stuff to confine me.
It is all a question of needs and wants. I need to have a healthy life style with shelter, food, water and love. The extras aren’t going to bring happiness.
Being happy with what you have is what brings happiness.
Clutter can be so overwhelming and is often hard to even begin to attack. Start with one drawer or one surface. Clearing the space brings such a calm feeling that we can all appreciate.
Letting go of what is not necessary and making an effort to stop bringing more stuff into the home is my goal now. Each day I write a small to do list that helps accomplish the goal of getting ready to move. I am making good progress, but I know I will probably still bring along more than I really need.
Moving forward is the only way to go. What can you leave behind?