Fandango’s Friday Flashback: February 28

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: February 28

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year….Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post is from February 28, 2018. It is the first “full length” post I had done on this blog.  I had not yet tried including photos.

I may need to write an update on stuff at some point. It is starting to accumulate again. 😮

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downsizing and stuff – part 1 – the nest

 

Many of us are:

  1. thinking about downsizing.
  2. talking about downsizing.
  3. reading articles about how to downsize.
  4. going through stuff wondering “where did this come from?” as if it had snuck in when we weren’t looking. Or better yet “why did I buy this?” and having no answer to “why did I keep 6 shovels or this roll of ‘perfectly good’ rug scrap for 30 years?” [My favorite – “I swear these hangers are reproducing overnight. I keep finding more.”]
  5. purging piles of stuff or at least trying to.

And what is stuff? Well, everything is stuff. The hardest stuff to deal with….are those once precious belongings or mementos and, yes, diaries and journals that we hold on to for….”later.” Boxes and bags gathering dust in remote corners of houses and apartments and basements and attics; the stacks increasing year by year. The packing tape yellowed, cracking & falling off. This process is often jump started when adult children move out. Really move out.

The thing is…the term “empty nest” is misleading. The nest is not empty when the kids who inhabited said nest leave all their stuff behind…crammed in the nest they flew out of. Hmmm… That is not helpful.  A good friend of mine suggested Rubbermaid storage totes. “Put all their stuff in those totes. Let them come get them.” I knew we could never downsize with buckets of toys, sports cards, dolls, stuffed animals, books, clothing, magazines, saved schoolwork, etc. The Molly doll that my daughter saved up money for? — upside down in one of those buckets, glasses askew. That didn’t seem right. She once had a seat at our Thanksgiving table. Sigh.  Well, the kids flew the nest and and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Back to stuff. The solution to getting rid of the kids’ stuff ending up being fairly simple. I offered to ship it all to them via a pod. They could put it in storage where they lived (400 miles away in a major city). Panic ensued. “We don’t have room. Wait. WAIT.” They arrived a few months later, sorted through (most of) it, pared it down and rented their own storage unit nearby – a vastly cheaper alternative. It’s been 4 years and Molly remains safe and sound and upside down a few miles away. She is surrounded by 10,000+ carefully catalogued sports cards, a dog-eared collection of Babysitter Club paperbacks, and much more. Sorry Molly.

Adult children these days (when did I get old enough to say “these days”?)….do not want their parents’ (free!) old furniture or dishes or silverware. Ew. Old brown furniture. Ew again. No sentimental attachment to the kitchen table where one made earrings out of Cheerios? Or displayed the college acceptance letters? Or spread out racks for cooling Christmas cookies? They politely decline. I am not sure what the deal is there; but it is comforting to have this ice breaker discussion with any downsized empty nester. I am not alone. Look in any Goodwill, Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity Restore facility – it is packed with old brown furniture that baby boomers have donated. Their kids don’t want it. An antique dealer I spoke to about this phenomenon snorted “all they want is that cheap Ikea stuff.”

22 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback: February 28

  1. I wore this one favorite sweatshirt for so long, it finally dissolved in a washing. I wish I had a photo of it. It said “Your NEST is not empty until their shit is out of your basement!”

    sigh.

    And now, one of them is back, along with his two sons. Not as bad as it could sound to some. It mostly works for us. Those boys needed familiarity, security, and Gramma’s house has been the most constant thing in their lives since birth (one of them literally here.) We did have to downsize to make enough room for everyone though….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I literally laughed out loud when I read this. I wish you had a photo of that sweatshirt too. I would have added …attic…old bedrooms! We actually still have some stuff of theirs – mostly toys in buckets marked for grandchildren. One grandson so far. I have friends who had t-shirts made that said “Nana and PopPop Moving and Storage” 🙂
      Kudos to you for making room for more family. And all that entails energy-wise. On the other hand, how cool to be such a constant presence in those kids’ lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand! One huge mistake I made when I moved from CA to Colorado was NOT opening the boxes I’d inherited from my mom. If I HAD I would have had room for my bicycle and sewing machine. Ultimately, a year or two after I moved here, I purged the whole mess. I threw out things I probably shouldn’t have, but as I am the sole survivor and I have no kids, I really didn’t think I “owed” the future anything. I looked through most of it and kept bits and pieces for myself. My garage went from 20 packed boxes to two packed boxes and they hold my things. Also four plastic bins of stuff like my paintings, Christmas decorations and a box of photo albums for my niece. I don’t know where or even IF she is any more, but it’s there just in case. Once I started, it was easy, exhilarating and liberating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! 20 boxes! It is really hard to know what you might miss when getting rid of stuff – especially anything sentimental. It goes from “do I really need this?” to “do I really want it?” I have only regretted a few discards/donations (like some old 45s), but in the end what difference will it make, right? (I think a friend of mine once said something like…you never see a UHaul behind a hearse..). It did feel liberating for the most part. I have the most trouble throwing out family photographs. I have some really old ones from the early 20th century. I am hoping my kids will hold onto those.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I went out there and threw out stuff until my trash can was full. It took several weeks, so I had the chance to find out what was in those boxes. I love the image of a U-Haul behind a hearse. That’s hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I found some things I really needed to see. A letter from the pastor that married my parents and baptized my mom – an earnest plea to my mom after my dad died to let others help her and not close herself up. It showed me my perceptions had been right. In my dad’s wallet was a little picture clipped out of a newspaper that says everything. I found treasures like those. It was easy to get rid of a giant sent of lead crystal, but not seeing these things would have been a loss.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes those are the real treasures. Letters and notes like that make going through the boxes well worth it. I have files & boxes of letters. Some between my grandparents. I can understand so much more now. And I feel a part of them is still with me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand completely. It took me close to 5 years from start to finish to “distribute” my often treasured belongings so we would be able to downsize and move when the opportunity arose.
      I looked at it as finding many of the things “good homes.” That helped, as it meant I didn’t have to actually throw out as much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I think so. And the funny thing is, when we found this condo – which fit our needs – we were able to go ahead with it. Only because I had been getting rid of stuff (and doing minor home improvements) for those years. It felt like it was “meant to be.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe because I have no familial attachments, and live in a bijou apartment with only 2 closets (one of which houses the large hot water heater) and a paltry few cupboards…I purge frequently 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes–2 closets? That’s just wrong! 🙂 And when I moved in, almost 25 years ago, I was appalled at the tiny kitchen…very little counter space or cupboards–as though the powers that be assumed the tenants here wouldn’t be cooking/baking. How rude is that?! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Totally rude and inconsiderate. Planners of such things don’t often consider the real world scenario of people actually living a full life within those walls. That’s my thought.

        Like

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