Most people come to a point in their lives when they gradually make plans to downsize or at least simplify. It typically comes when kids are all out of the home and you decide you don’t need so much space (and stuff). For me? The tornado of October 2019 that had me staring at 350 boxes packed quickly and without emotion by insurance workers. And while memories of the kids and grandkids playing in the pool and the many greenhouse dinners hosted filtered and manifested mega nostalgia in that moment, I knew it was time to get rid of some of (or a lot of) our stuff. Because if this terrible tornado taught me anything it was that, at the end of the day, it was just stuff, right?
Where to start? That’s the question that causes most people to freeze and delay downsizing and decluttering. For me, I started with what was obvious. Most of our furniture had been destroyed and so it was thrown out. Despite grandiose plans of handing down antique pieces to my kids, the truth of the matter was, they probably didn’t want them and they definitely didn’t want stuff that wasn’t in perfect condition.
Next up was the china. Wow, when did I become a china hoarder? I have a set from each grandmother, my mother, and then one from my great grandmother. I decided to let my girls choose a set that they would like to have. This way I can still see my china from time to time and hey, if I ever need to borrow them, I know where to find them. The glassware we received from our wedding was another story. I know, if I am being honest with myself, that these were out of style and aren’t worth as much now as they used to be. It was time to give these away.
The kitchen was the most daunting simply because I had to come to term with my excess. I had ten boxes of pot and pans. Ten whole boxes! I have no idea why I thought I needed five cookie sheets or six different glass pans. I knew that I would never be cooking 50 cookies at a time or baking up six lasagnas simultaneously, because hey, in a town like Dallas, I have learned how and when to outsource. I managed to greatly reduce the number of boxes labeled “kitchen” and feel good about the fact that everything I kept would be used frequently.
Next up was my clothes. As most of you know, I am a clothes horse, and so I was very relieved to know that most all of my wardrobe was salvaged. This was huge for me because I did not think to schedule specific insurance for my pricier pieces and so they would have been clumped into the “contents” bucket and assigned an arbitrary value.
Despite having my entire wardrobe post tornado at my disposal, I knew it was time to sift through these items too. With visions of @imagine.it.done. as my inspiration, I set out on a mission to part ways with everything that I had not worn in a year. I managed to achieve this goal despite really not wanting to. I mean, I still wish I had saved that purple leather fringe jacket I had from college. UGH. I digress.
But without a doubt the most emotional part of downsizing or decluttering is going through the sentimental pieces that were saved for a reason. I have handmade scrapbooks, pictures albums, and endless piles of pictures. I was so relieved that the tornado did not take these precious memories from me. Heck I even have a wedding scrapbook that I poured my heart into for the first 18 years of our marriage. The pictures need to be scanned (and will be at a later date) but overall I am pleased with my progress in this area as well.
Bottom line? Downsizing and decluttering can be difficult and emotional. Although we are more than comfortable in our high rise apartment, I long for the day when I get to move back into our “new” old home. I am fortunate to also make our rebuild ADA/Universal Life compliant so that we can age in place. Perhaps a silver lining?
Are you too thinking of downsizing? Overwhelmed and don’t want to go at it alone? I recommend calling my friend Staci Ferber at Reorgit.
Staci Ferber (ReOrgit)
Email- [email protected]
She is always so good at reminding me (and her other clients) that an organized life is a life simplified.
You got this!