Monday, May 21, 2012

Storage Wars!

This isn’t about the reality show.  It’s about what’s going on at my house these days as I prepare to downsize my house. I’m talking about a major downsize. My home, since my husband passed away, has gotten too big for me. I rattle around in it like a lost soul, making me yearn for something cozy, something Kate sized. So I’ve bought a condo home with half the storage space, hence the reason for the war.

It’s a battle between me and my stuff. I’ve hauled around this “stuff”, for lack of a better word, for twenty years, as our moves kept taking us to bigger homes. Now I have to go through it to decide what’s important and what’s not. What’s absolutely essential to take with me and what’s a waste of space. Lo and behold, three-quarters of it is non-essential. At least that much has never made it out of boxes in the basement since we moved in fifteen years ago. Yet each time I packed for a move, I kept it, fearing I’d be lost without it.

What’s there? A box of papers from my college days and another one from my teaching days. My ceramic cat collection that hasn’t seen the light of day in twenty plus years. Boxes of random toys of no value that my kids played with. A giant box of board games. Two huge garbage bags of stuffed animals that I was certain they’d want as keepsakes. Ha. My kids, I’ve learned, have no attachment to the “stuff.” Lucky them.

It hasn’t been easy to let go of it. I have to keep asking myself, “Do I want to haul it to yet another basement where it will sit unopened and take up valuable space?” And even though those cats were lovingly collected when I was into country things, I’m so beyond that now.

Have you ever had to clean out a closet and get rid of your “love them and can’t live without them” things? What was the hardest part of paring down for you? Did you find it cathartic?


Shirley said...

Ever since I retired (Oct 2010), I have gone through closets, my basement, attic, and a storage unit to try to downsize. I have trashed, recycled, donated, sold, etc.

I find it very difficult to decide what to do with items I inherited from my Mother (hence the storage unit). I am still working on that issue. I have decided to pass on certain loved items to my nieces now rather than later.

I also have a hard time letting go of books, I have a library full and boxes stored in basement and storage unit.

I now have an ereader so it may be easier to donate books if I know I can download it later, if I want to read it again.

Amanda J Anson said...

I am in the process of paring down currently. We moved not to long ago(ok four months going on five) into a smaller home. Its just a little over 900sq ft. While we didn't have much to begin with, it seemed we sure managed to accumulate a lot in a short matter of time. I am tired of dealing with all the stuff, and I have been so busy and stressed of late that the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time with cleaning or organizing. So out the stuff goes. However I am having a hard time parting with my books. I have quiet the collection and while I have an e-reader I still find it hard to part with my books. Even though I have at least two boxes full of books I have purchased and never read! Despite that I still love how I feel when I have purged a whole bunch of stuff. I feel lighter and like I can breath better.

Carol S said...

We also just moved at the first of this year. Books have always been our biggest part of a move. We kept most of them. As for the kids stuff, give it to them and let them decide. Author Sharon Fiffer in her "Stuff" series wrote a good chapter about how the stuff a hoarder keeps is really just about collecting memories. Once one realizes the memories are still with you whether the stuff is or not, one can let go of the stuff easier.

Kate Collins said...

Carol, that's a great thing to keep in mind. I have a horrible time letting go of photos. I have boxes of them, and will I ever sit and go through them? Probably not. But I'm terrified of throwing them away and NOT having them. Books are easier for me. I envy those people who don't feel committed to "stuff."

Lizzie said...

I pared down last year after a brief marriage that I had been preparing for. Everything I had bought for "us" that was stored here and there went as soon as the divorce decree arrived. It was so cathartic....a literal and figurative weight that was lifted....and everything went to a good home...a local "warehouse" for household items that go to deserving families:)

Aurian said...

I've been cleaning out some closets lately, as I need more space since my boyfriend moved in. I have no idea why I saved all that stuff, so lots of garbage bags were carried out of the house. Only one time did I regret tossing something, as I kind of needed it (after 10 years of never picking it up).

Book Dragon said...

When I first got married, we lived in a one bedroom apartment with no garage. Moved to a 3-bedroom with storage in the carport. Now we're in a 4-bedroom with a two car garage.

I tell you this because my stuff has grown with each move and is currently overflowing our current home. We don't park in the garage, too much stuff.

I have a hard time with everything and am sure I'd be on "Hoarders" if I lived alone.

I'm starting with my books. Entering them in an online data base (so I don't buy them again) and getting rid of the ones I don't want/duplicates, also making note of them so I don't buy them again.

No ideas to share just sending you lots of encouragement!

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Book Dragon.

C said...

As part of adjusting to the empty nester season of our life, dh and I-- both serious packrats, have been redoing our home to a style that makes us happy rather the sturdy enough to survive multiple boys style. Part of that has been letting go of accumulated collections of craft stashes of all kinds, furniture, and just stuff by way of freecycle. The strange lightened feeling of holding less (which is still plenty) and seeing things that made me happy going on to make others happy while I'm alive to see it rather than the mother of all yard sales when I'm gone has been remarkably freeing. It has seriously helped the letting go into adulthood process of our son for me, something I was not sure I could handle as graciously as I wanted. Trading off old things for new colors, furniture, and lifestyle has made a good difference.