(I’m back after being ill and I just hope that I make sense! I have no idea why it posted in italics.)
This week: If you had to get rid of most of your belongings in order to move into a smaller place, what are the things you would not be able to part with?
I know that I have addressed being a ‘keeper’, who is married to a packrat.
I actually went through this in my head a few years ago. I thought that we were going to downsize and move.
Things did not work out that way, and here I need the room again, but after being insecure and wanting to hang onto everything all the time, I thought that it would be freeing to let go of quite a bit.
When I was a kid, I ‘designed’ a home with storage, storage, storage so that I could keep everything that I wanted. Several times I moved good distances and let go of some things, things that I wish I had not. Several times family members, close and extended, have left family items in other states which got lost, sold or were destroyed by vindictive exes.
Those break my heart.
My granddaughters want family china and the like, so I know those will be taken care of when I am gone, or they get their own places, so those will never be gotten rid of. However, all the serving dishes, equipment, etc., that I still have would have no place in a small place. I am not doing the fancywork I used to do for so many years, so some would have to go. I still kept a box of candy molds, plus candy cups, cake molds, fancy boxes, baskets and bags for them to be given away, but I have parted with many already.
I hate admitting that some things that I did will just not be done again. It was fun, it was creative, it was something with which I put myself out there and impressed people, giving them joy. I enjoyed myself more, but my life has changed. Fewer people, and even fewer appreciative people. People here who do appreciate good things and want special foods I do accommodate, but gluten-free pumpkin bread is just not as satisfying to me as making fancy tartlets, molded candies, painted cookies, but it is more important, I suppose.
My serving/warming trays remain in cabinets, unused to a number of years. It’s been a long time since I had enough people here to warrant their use. I miss those times, but I think they are gone.
I have a few cherished toys of mine and a great deal from my kids and grandkids. Fortunately, Son #1 lives not far and has an attic and a basement in his new house. He took most of the toys to his place; I am grateful.
I have a lot of material and some craft supplies that I do not use, and as much as they have become old friends, I can give them away, after I finally make the few items I have been [putting off for a long time.
Holiday items would be impossible to part with. I have let some go,but many I have had all of our married life, pieces I picked up traveling, others made by kids, all of which are in my heart.
We have an extensive library. Giving books away locally is a waste and they may even be ditched. We have considered selling a lot of them, not to make money mind you, but to see that they would probably go to people who would want and appreciate them. However, when I say that ‘we’ considered it, that means that I would have to be the one to actually do all the work, and I need to take more time for my own writing. If I won a big enough lottery, I would love to find an established library that would keep our books as an endowment. I know that others have tried to will books, only to have someone come along later and thin out the collections. Again, I would hate to see these on a ‘quarter table’ at a sale only to be cast off.
I have many books that would be hard to part with. I already gave away many cook books that I had gathered, been given or inherited. Most of them have a very few recipes in each that I have used, use, or have tinkered with. Still… I have many notes of my own recipes. Will I make most of them more than a few times? Who knows? I am always adding more.
I would have trouble getting rid of the boxes of my aunt’s papers. I have written of her before; he radio logs, etc. I learned so much and there is so much family history there, but who else will appreciate them?
Photos are something that I would have to keep, although, again, who will want them? I know one granddaughter is particularly keen on the old family photos, but I have tons that I took myself. They do stretch back fifty years and many, I suppose, are now family history, but golly, there is a lot on my external hard drive, flash drives and burned into discs that are probably not worth anything to anyone but me.
Also on the external hard drive and flash drives are my writings, ‘starts’ to completed works. Again, few would be of interest, especially to family.
The hardest things to get rid of would be … everything. I think at this point I could do it, if I felt secure enough. The biggest problem is that let me get rid of anything, and one of us will need it in very short order, no matter how long whatever it was had gone unused.
Most of my life, I have been attached to things of my own, because so little belonged to me alone. Borrowed things never got back to me, no matter ow many reassurances I got that they would be returned. When I go to buy things for myself, very often someone else needed something else more.
But they are THINGS.
Leave me with some of my favorite books and movies, my comfortable clothes that look nice, a few cozy blankets. Give me a computer with internet access and a cellphone to text /call the kids and grandkids, and at this point, I think that I would be good.
Life is shorter than I ever knew it could be.
I think your last paragraph says it all. There are lots of things that are nice to have, but as long as our needs are met, we can get by.
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I hate to sound maudlin, but the older I get, the more I face, the more I realize that things are less important, even though family has always been highest on my priority list.
Love this description: “being a ‘keeper’, who is married to a packrat.” and it also applies to my situation… though I’m not certain which of us is the keeper and which is the packrat. Ha.
For one thing… WELCOME BACK. We missed your Friday post on that week or two that you were (understandably) too ill to deal with the cyber-world.
As I think I discern in your post, I share a sense of sadness that “things” which are important to me may not have much or any importance to the family members who remain after I’m gone. In a way, I suppose, that’s healthy — in the sense that it means my children and grandchildren are individuals who have developed (or who are developing) their own interests and directions. That’s gratifying in itself. But a big part of me yearns for someone else in the family to share my love of old books, my devotion to preserving military history artifacts, and my appreciation of antique hand-tools.
On that last note — tools — I’m dismayed to see the change between generations: my parents’ generation would keep a tool for a life-time and use it often. If they were wealthy enough, they might own a power drill or a power saw… which would also last for the rest of their lives.
Nowadays, it seems, people drive to Harbor Freight, purchase a cheaply made foreign import that lasts for basically one task or one season… and next time they need a tool, they hop in their vehicle and make another run to Harbor Freight.
Thank you, Jeff. I really was unwell; the headaches were what made only short-term reading, writing or even WATCHING hard, and I found myself also very fuzzy-headed.
I can relate about the tools. People are still using my uncle’s tools that are 70 years old, mostly the life-time Craftsman. We stretched our budget even when first married to buy that type and were heartbroken to see them go so far downhill. We almost always buy the best or upgrade a bit for tools and appliances, even if we had to wait for sales or save up; it is far worth it in the long run.
The hardest part of having children/grandchildren is something you don’t foresee: having to know how much to be supportive, but then how much to let go, and how so many things that you feel are important or interesting means little to them.
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You’re lucky that your granddaughters want some of your china. I have lots of good china, including three sets of Christmas china. I don’t know why I needed three sets, but I bought them anyway and have enjoyed using all three of them.
I forgot to mention my Christmas collections in my post this week. Like you I have many things that I’ve collected all throughout our marriage. Every year we hang Christmas tree ornaments that we bought the first year we were married. We also hang the little angel that topped the tree. Besides that, my granddaughter and I used to do a themed Christmas tree each year. Our first theme was candy, and it was so beautiful. We’ve also done polka dots, cowboys and indians, shells, pigs, birds, and many different color combos. The last one we did was done in pink and rose gold. She’s married now with a child so we let the tradition die, but I still miss it. When my great granddaughter is old enough to handle the ornaments without breaking them I hope we can restart that tradition.
I also have a snowman collection, a Christmas village, a set of hand painted family Christmas tree ornaments, a big nativity set, a silver Christmas tree, and a small forest of tabletop Christmas trees.
I guess that’s most of it unless you count the wreaths. We have plenty of those. The thing is neither of my daughter-in-laws care about Christmas decorating. My granddaughter does, but she has a lot of stuff that she bought for herself. I hope that she’ll want some of my Christmas things, because except for the hand painted family ornaments I don’t think anyone will want them. That breaks my heart, but it is what it is.
Could I walk away from all my holiday treasures? You’d be shocked at how much space it takes to store them. I think I could leave most of them behind, but not my nativity set or Christmas village. I’d also keep my ornaments for my candy tree and my cowboys and Indians tree, but other than that I think I could let them go.
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I am still in wonderment how many of my most treasured Christmas decorations simply disappeared out of my garage for 3 years, only to show up RIGHT THERE, in an open box. I always preserved them carefully and I had gone through every box in the garage, more than once,but there they were. I had thought they had been given away by mistake,(I checked with the local charity thrift), or thrown out, how??? Anyway, I had let them go. I am overjoyed to have them back, but it was a lesson on how to let go.
I love your themes. I had dishware for almost every holiday. I still have a few, but I tell people to go for basics, wood, china, glass, wicker, and add different linens.
Yeah, that’s a good idea.
Glad to see that you are feeling some better.
I am sure that the gluten free pumpkin bread is more appreciated than any tartlet that you could make. I know that when special gluten free treats make it to our table that they are really appreciated. My younger brother brought a tomato soup cake over for Wyatt the other day. You would have thought he was given an expensive gift.
That’s wonderful that your granddaughters want the family china. It is wonderful when things like that can be passed down.
I hope you find a good home for your books once you do decide to get rid of them. I always hate the thought of books being tossed in the trash or ripped up to make crafts. I think they should be cherished and loved. I have always had a difficult time parting with books.
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Oh, gosh, yes, those crafty things with books upset me to no end.I could see if you have really old ones that have been truly damaged, but still.
Yes, I have those who need gluten-free, but I made real money off of my tartlets! The fancy work is nice and it is good. I never sacrificed taste for good-looking food. That makes it a total failure, no matter how ‘artsy’ the work.