I started this process by making an 8 page list of every item in the house. Yes, everything. This was a much quicker process than I anticipated. I walked through each room with my computer in hand. I sat on the floor and looked around. Once the list was made, I shared it with everyone I could think of that might help by taking stuff off my hands.
Folks had a hard time with this. They struggled with the list- as it felt so personal and FINAL. They struggled with the idea of taking our belongings which they had been familiar with as parts of our home. They really were troubled by being asked to take things from us for FREE- as our society is all about economics! But once they got over these issues, I had responses to the list and they were asking for specific things. It was terrific!
The next step involved loading up duffle bags, boxes, anything that would hold the items they were requesting. Then we drove small loads around and dropped them off. A box of board games, coffee mugs, towels and pillowcases can sure make a person smile! Items that I had given up on (an old bakers rack) would find a new life in a new household. It was very cathartic, and felt wonderful to give things away.
Of course, some items were for sale. I spent quite a few evenings on Craigslist, posting things that might bring in a few dollars. The sales went well and I made enough money to pay the kid that is cleaning up the yard. Sometimes I got a request from a friend for an item that was listed- so I pulled it off Craigslist and gave it away for free. I need lots of goodness in my karma bank for the long haul!
One of the odd items to get rid of was silverware. I mean, really, do we need a full place setting for ten people? Since one of the kids asked for it, we packed it up and brought in the mismatched setting from Alta. If we can use it in Alta, we can use it in the house! We got rid of 12 dinner plates, 14 coffee mugs, 8 travel mugs (we kept 8 though) and numerous other kitchen basics. We narrowed the bathrooms down to just 4 towels. Did we ever need 4 of each color, or just 4 total? The knick knacks are gone from the shelves, the pictures are gone from the walls, the clocks are being carted off, years of folk art have been parceled out to new homes. There is not much left but the basic furniture. But as anticipation is building, this house in Prescott still feels like home.
4 thoughts on “Purging-”
Planning for the past 27 years has been the easiest part of this process! Clearing the house has been quite difficult! There is so much emotion attached to our belongings it is amazing. The clothes, shoes, gloves, coats are intense. The pictures, folk art, dishes, cookware was easy by comparison. But the hardest, by far, are the sentimental items like old love notes, yearbooks, handmade gifts and mementos of the past. But with eyes on the future, I am doing what I can to clean up the accumulations!
Thanks for reading my post about purging! It is a challenging process. So many of the things we keep are things that mean something to us, trigger a memory or have emotion attached to them. And all of those are important things to keep in mind as the decisions are made. In my case, a particularly good question to ask myself is “will I want this in 5 years?” followed up by “will anyone else want this in 5 years?” If I can say “I doubt it” to both of those questions then the item can go away!
With that stated, I must explain that my reasons are a total shift in my living arrangements. On the home page is a post (ABOUT) which explains that we will be moving in to our VW camper van. Our possessions are being pared down in order to prepare for that transition. We will keep barely more than what we can carry in the VW. That is what has prompted the purging process. It is quite emotional, and quite liberating.
You are inspiring. I was referred to this site by a relative of yours that is taking the downsizing e-course with me. I have made lists and offered to kids–I like the idea of extending it to others. I’d like to know more about what precipitated this effort.
You are so awesome. It has been scary getting rid of everything but reminds us that the retirement journey does not start when you quit work.