Let me state at the outset of this article, that “downsizing” is not for the faint of heart. After a little over eight decades of living; more than twenty-eight years of marriage; almost too many moves to remember and dozens of disarrayed storage closets, it is not only difficult to comprehend, it is just about impossible to fathom.
I suppose it happens to the best of us at least once in our lives. We go along throughout our twenties and thirties accumulating boxes of memorabilia - momentous piles of significant keepsakes that we just can’t part with. Our forties and fifties don’t improve the storage picture, we just add to the junk pile hidden in secret places we alone are allowed to enter because no one else would dare to disturb our cache of treasures. The sixties and seventies should prove the worth of our valuables, but often there is only a little more dust on the faded folders and forgotten reasons why they were saved in the first place.
What type of memorabilia have I saved over the years? Taking stock of the many treasures accumulated, I found materials covering years of ads and commercials for varied clients. There were archives honoring political campaigns for candidates of local, state and national level. There was a wealth of pictures from grade school, high school and college days along with grades that weren’t always so glorious. I found speeches covering every topic from welcoming new students to honoring recent graduates. Family and friends were captured in slides, photos and movies that would take hours to sort through. The phrase “pack rat” began to take on a new meaning where I was concerned and I knew something had to be done, or many of the items saved would disappear in a wisp of dust and mildew.
Downsizing opens the doors to a lot of questions. Once the decision had been made that it was time for us to downsize, we had details to work out. Where were we moving? How much room would we have? This was a major concern of mine considering the amount of stuff I have stored away. I have a store house of a lifetime of memories – most documented in one way or another. Personally, what was I going to do with a lifetime of accumulation of stagnant junk – most of which, as mentioned, had been unopened for a long time?
This all has a happy ending. We made a successful move to a lovely home in East Texas near children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all of whom have gone out of their way to assure our continuing comfort. And, yes, I shipped the boxes of my unopened accumulation!
I am passing along the inherent wisdom of this article so that those of you who may be thinking this “will never happen to me”, can start making adjustments now – before it’s too late. I am still trying to unpack and sort through the boxes that I just couldn’t live without, but hardly ever opened. The lesson learned is very simple. Don’t wait till until the moving van is at your front door and the movers are asking what you want to take with you. Start “downsizing” your significant piles of precious artifacts asap! Suggest you start today! If you don’t, your kids, family members or friends, will end up doing it for you. They won’t understand why you kept all that stuff anyway!
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