The 20 years of accumulation
I'm totally serious about this - we're moving and after 20 years of apparently trying to fill up every square inch of space in this old house. To make matters worse, we're downsizing. From an unmeasured number of square feet (let's ballpark it at 1200) to less than 500 of living space and another 300 of indoor storage with a bit of covered outdoor storage as well. Needless to say, there will be a purge.
Actually, the chucking out has already begun but not feverishly yet, as well it should be. We've been meaning to go through our closets for a couple of years but now we truly must. I've already thrown away a few bags of stained, ripped, worn out garments and given another few to Good Will. I still have waaaay too many pieces of clothing. Especially for someone who goes out publicly maybe once or twice a week, three closet racks of dresses, pants and tops are just more than enough, am I right? Combine that with a dresser with a larger drawer of underwear, another of socks and stockings and bathing suits, and TWO of pajamas (yes, 2!). I do love PJs.
But that's not the half of it. I also love books - paperbacks, hardcovers, and collectible sets. I have two bookcases full of them. I also have a large plastic bin with paperbacks - to my credit, I joined a book swap club some years ago and so, rather than accumulate more, I end up breaking even, but I still own too many books. I also am a collector of boxes - the kind that hold trinkets or jewelry. None too large, but a great many and each one unique and special. Luckily, they don't take up much room, nor are they heavy to carry, so they will, in all likelihood, be coming with me to the new house.
Oh, but there is more! I do crafts, so I am a bona-fide hoarder of yarn and other fibrous materials. Also buttons, broken pottery and tiles, beads, wire, and the equipment one uses to construct projects made with such items. Mark down another two bins full of craft items that WILL be relocated. And don't forget the unsold, as yet, projects I've already crafted, crocheted, sewn, painted, pyro'd or otherwise cobbled together to make something new. I am currently having a sale in my etsy.com shop where some of these things can be taken off my hands for a deep discount. You should check it out:
Where there's a way, there's a will
My spouse, on the other hand, has a "spare room" full of his own collectibles. He has often verbalized that someday he will leave our offspring his collections and they will happily keep or sell them. While a magnanimous idea, certainly, I've rarely noted a descendant who was thrilled to be left with a bunch of "stuff" that they know little to nothing about and have to now get to know or simply get rid of it. But I didn't rain on that parade, so we have load after load of collectibles - myriad types of bakelite items, ceramics and pottery, knives, coins - that we are currently attempting to sell on eBay. Here's one such item:
Then there's the kitchen. The kitchen we have isn't large, but I have a metal industrial rack that is 5' x 3' x .5' that houses all my baking essentials, cutting boards, pots, pans, lids, tins, racks, cast iron, and some Tupperware that you can microwave safely in (I was a salesperson for a while and bought some nice pieces for myself). So there's a lot of "cooking items" to be moved and then the big question is - will the industrial rack fit anywhere? The kitchen, proper, will be home to the washer and dryer, so that's a large part of the bare wall available to such a rack. We'll see. But, there's no way I am giving up what took most of my married life to accumulate in the cooking department, and I do love to bake and cook.
Still, I believe we can do this downsizing without any remorse or despair. I fully expect to give away many things, but these will be things I did not really need in the first place. And we will be better off for it, I'm sure. As I've noticed, no one person NEEDS three full closet racks of clothing and two dresser drawers full of PJs; similarly, no one family needs three food processors (I never bought more than one, but have kept all three), two toaster ovens (one is a rotisserie/convection oven as well, but still...), 5 different sized muffin tins and three bundt pans.
There's even a problem in the bedroom
You read that right - there is a problem in the bedroom. As I said, the square footage is sparse, our bed is a queen. However, we have figured out that without the frame (which I really don't care for anyway) the queen bed WILL fit. Are we going to sleep with mattress on the floor then? No, we plan to place our current (new, BTW) mattress upon 30 or so 5 gallon plastic buckets and a stout piece of plywood. This serves dual purpose: 6 inches of spare floor space plus plenty of vermin-proof (not that we're expecting any but one never knows in the rural, middle TN area) storage. My husband is a borderline genius about some things (the collection of Pigeon Forge Pottery, notwithstanding).
The second bedroom, since we don't actually need a working 2nd bedroom, will become, you guessed it, storage! But, more than that, my sewing machine, our stereo and collection of CDs, vinyl records and cassettes will go there, too. It just never ends, does it? Oh, and likely a good many books as well - the ones I simply can't part with, at least (signed by author, collection of Shakespeare's writings, for example). And then there's that supply of yarn and fabric I mentioned.
We are very fortunate to have a finished attic room that is really nice and roomy and will serve well to hang clothing that is not currently in season (because the closets are small), and will house a great many plastic bins (the large kind) of which I currently own about 15. Right now, I'm very, very glad that I accumulated so many of them; once the majority of them are cleaned out of what I know to be stuff I haven't seen in over a year or two they will very handily be a godsend for moving the stuff we feel we must keep. There are ways and I have the will.
Go forth, my child, and hoard no more
I am hoping that after we move, we will continue to "downsize" and stop filling our lives with unnecessary crap. I know we will think not twice but three times before bringing anything new or used into our "new" home. I hope we will find things to give away to someone that needs it more than us. I hope to sell a lot of the crocheted and crafted items I currently have so that I can make more with the yarn I currently have. Either that, or I will probably just start selling the yarn and fabric that I have on hand to someone else who is just getting started on their own hoarding foray. But, then, I wouldn't wish that journey on anyone.