We all know what we’re supposed to do. We’ve read, even clipped, the articles. Some of us have bought the books. We’ve made resolutions and false starts. Count present company among the crowd.
Seven years ago when we began this phase of retirement in earnest, with the sale of our house in Virginia and the plans for a new home in a new location, we knew we needed to downsize not just our space but also our stuff. There’s nothing like the need to vacate in a month to concentrate one’s attention. Thus, we disposed of approximately 60 percent of our books, asked the children what they would like from our inventory, gave box after box to good causes, and sent the rest off to auction.
Despite these efforts, probably not our best, when we arrived at our new home in New York, we immediately filled the basement full of items we thought we might need — things we weren’t ready to say good-bye to yet, family heirlooms that the children thought they might want in the future, and a lot of papers, letters, photo albums and unsorted bins. Seven years later it is obvious what we really do need and what we do want to hold onto.
We’ve made fits and starts at cleaning out the detritus, but they have been short-lived. Other things take precedence. Last fall I began a program of throwing out or giving away at least one item every day. At that rate it was going to take me more time than remains. Ray has worked on the garage, largely on a seasonal basis.
So, with this blog as a fresh incentive, we have decided to follow our own advice. Of course, this will work only so long as we are held accountable. Therefore, we will be reporting to you periodically on how we are doing. We’d also like to hear from you about how you have tackled the stuff in your lives. Do you have a method? What works; what doesn’t? Where does the stuff end up?
Here we go:
Two days ago Ray gave away three bicycles by posting them on our local yard sale website. No more fantasies about the children and grandchildren coming to ride them. Besides, the kids are too tall now and have more sophisticated bikes of their own. The daughters bring their bikes with them to train on the steep slopes.
Yesterday, Donna culled the bookcases in the guest room and the catch-all periodicals basket. Yield: two wine boxes worth. (Wine boxes are the standard unit of measure here in Finger Lakes wine country.) Most of it was old local newspaper articles and travel brochures. All the information can be found on-line.