//Retirement dilemma: How to downsize when no one wants your stuff

Retirement dilemma: How to downsize when no one wants your stuff

Nobody wants our stuff anymore. That’s what the headlines are saying as people downsize in droves.  My informal survey bolsters those reports. Many of my friends are having trouble foisting off the china, silver and any number of other family treasures.  My own daughter doesn’t want ours.

I downsized about a year ago. When I posted several items for sale on my Facebook page hoping to give my friends first chance at the fabulous bargains, people called my daughter to see if I died. No kidding.

I downsized because I had to, but deep in my sole, I knew is was a good thing. It was painful. It can feel like you are disposing of your life.  Most of us keep things with memories connected.  What happens when to the memories when you get rid of “things?” It’s a question I did not ponder before I had to take the plunge.  Keep reading.

One moving day, I left some favorite cousins in front of my china cabinet with boxes and packing paper. I gave them strict instructions not to allow me to retrieve items out of the boxes once they were packed. I made the hard decisions once and wanted to avoid at all cost, making them again.  For most of us, this practice starts as children when our moms tell us we must clean our toy box. The first time through, the Give Away pile is bigger than the Keep It pile. Left to our own devices, toy after toy in the Give Away pile is reclaimed leaving nearly nothing to give away.  We become sentimental or stingy or conflicted and before you know it, the toy box is full once again.

Fortunately, I sold my house in three days and was forced to vacate in less than three weeks. I got my price and winter was coming so I said, “Yes.” The lack of time was nerve wracking but a blessing nonetheless.  I didn’t have time to get sentimental or stingy or conflicted. My old stuff wouldn’t fit in the new place, and I adamantly refused to get a storage unit.  That didn’t stop me from an occasional longing look at what my cousins were packing or a dash into the past to remember the dinners around the cherry dining room table. (I don’t have a formal dining room anymore.)

Now that I’m a year away from my downsizing experience, I have had time to ponder. Here’s advice I’d like to share.

Get help from someone who has no sentimental attachment to any of your stuff. They will see it as stuff and won’t help convince you that you should keep it.

Don’t look back. Revisiting what you’re parting with is like calling your old flame before the wounds have healed. Don’t do it.

Keep in mind memories are in our minds not in our china.  I got rid of a ton of glass items from my mother. She’s been gone since 1993.  I don’t need a cabinet full to remember her. I kept one beautiful vase. I realized that photographs (they are way smaller) and a few well-placed treasures can do the trick for me.

Don’t fret if your kids don’t want your stuff.  They get married later than we did, if at all. They have limited living space.  And they have ever memory they could ever want on their phones.

Update the memories.  I have replaced much of what was with reminders of memories made in the last 20 years. It’s change the conversation when someone asks about something on the wall or on display.

Decluttering my closets…my basement…my garage…why it was refreshing even if nobody wanted my stuff.

By |2018-04-11T14:22:39+00:00January 9th, 2018|