The Challenge of Downsizing

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Grandma's Coffee Set and Tea Cakes

Grandma's Coffee Set and Tea Cakes

Life is full of the unexpected from good news to the not-so-good news.

These past few months have been a whirlwind as my husband and I have been going through gigantic changes. First, he learned that he would be given the opportunity to leave his company where we have been for most of our adult years. Then, we went through the agony of no prospect of no job soon. Then, a job opened up on the other side of the country—far away from the familiar and quite close to the exotic.

So, we went through the down-sizing that many other people have faced, getting rid of what was a precious treasure to us and discovered that those treasures were just junk to others, much to our surprise.

Like a long movie, so much good stuff was left on the cutting floor because the final product would not benefit another person. All those cast-offs become the out-takes we had so enjoyed at the end of the feature movie. So, too, at our house and with our lives–off with the appliances, good dishes, pictures, books, and so much more. Instead, we have less clutter and more time to for other activities, instead of dusting and caring for our stuff.

In just a short time, gone was the furniture we had used for decades, bought when we were young and full of hope for the future. After years of wear and tear, five pieces of the set are gone to the consignment store to sit and wait for someone, anyone, to pick up at a bargain. The hand-carved Old Teak Thai furniture just does not fit in with the modern, more casual world. The magnificent lighted china hutch was just so much trash for someone looking for a cheap deal. Our outdoor furniture and grill went to people who complained about the price as they carried off hundreds of dollars of materials for a tiny fraction of their original price. The list goes on and on as we rid ourselves of big and small things. Our lives are more than stuff, but sometimes we are too slow to realize that.

As I asked one of my daughters if she wanted something from her childhood, she replied that while she did not anything, she was content with the memories. That is a mature way to look at things, and for that I am proud of her. I gave those precious childhood treasures to another young family who could use those things to make their own memories. Our other daughter said she wanted the set of china from her paternal grandparents and then looked to a website to find the missing pieces. When she moves into her own apartment, she will be ready to give a party. My maternal grandmother gave large and fancy parties during the 1930’s while living in Austin, Texas. Her silver, china and fine linens are no longer part of this modern world. I sometimes wonder what we have lost with those gracious manners of a time long ago. Pleasant times are not defined by the stuff, but by the company around the table. For that I am thankful.

What about you? Have you had to downsize for yourself or for your parents? How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of either by giving away or by selling? Life means change and downsizing is part of life. Share your thoughts with others.

Remember, when you are ready to tell your story, we are ready to help!

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