Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Down, Down Downsizing

Yesterday seemed silly in a lot of ways. (Almost as silly as this shop window picture. Thanks Uncommon Objects.)

We paid the extra careful movers to move what can best be described as some junky furniture from our house to our parents' abodes. I was thinking I should recommend the extra careful movers to my friends moving to the condo and then thought better of it because it's hard enough to get an appointment anyway.

I had this old dresser that belonged to my grandparents (my mother's parents) and maybe my great grandparents. We displayed various art and awards on it in what we thought was an artistic way. It had occupied three different spots in our house, four if you count being in what we call the 'store room' while we remodeled the master. These movers had moved it to the store room for us, carefully taking the mirror part off and then moved it back to the location it occupied until yesterday. I'm a little sentimental about it because as a kid I would stay with my grandmother and sleep in her bed and go to sleep and wake up seeing it and I thought the top decoration was a face. So it reminds me of my grandmother and how much I loved her. It has no place in our stripped-down condo lifestyle and I would have been OK with selling it. Rather than face the wrath of any other family members on that point, though, I decided to put it in my dad's house (which is really ours, deed-wise) and keep it in the family a bit longer. Delaying the inevitable, I guess. We won't be collecting a lot of antiques, family or otherwise, in a 1200 square foot contemporary condo.

I moved some other furniture to Dad's because I thought that they were a bit better, all-in-all, than what was there. Now I have to get rid of some of the stuff that is there, but that's another day.

My in-laws would not hear to us getting rid of a breakfront and dining table and chairs that FFP had kept in his houses for almost forty years. (He lived down the street from here when we married and we lived there together for over a year before buying this place.) We talked about getting a new table and buffet and a couple of times were inches from pulling the trigger. I guess it's good we didn't do it because, of course, we would have probably chosen something that didn't go with our condo lifestyle, in size or design. But the in-laws made room for this stuff in their tiny cottage. I hope by getting rid of something else but I suspect not. I kept telling FFP it was easier to pay to move it over there than to argue.

This activity was sad-making, that's for sure. It is a little sad when we just give something away to someone who needs it. But just shuffling it around is even sadder.

We are also getting to the point that paring down the knick-knacks and books is painful. At first it was easy to find books we didn't want and get the other to quickly agree. Now it's harder. One person or the other "always intended to read it" or "was thinking of reading it again." I have to admit that I am amazed at some of the books we have and wonder that we thought we had to buy them and would find time to read them. I have to adopt the strategy now that I keep books that will be hard to find again. This is easier said than done, of course. I also want to have a small collection of books whose titles, together or separately, will amuse someone who stops to inspect a shelf. I'm losing books, but not my sense of humor, by going to the condo. But a second pass through things does yield some good candidates for the thrift store, especially given the old "cubic foot" rule where you look not at what it is or what you paid for it but only how much space it occupies. Reference books, too, are sort of redundant in the digital age although I have insisted on keeping my giant French/English and German/English dictionaries in paper form. So far.

The funny thing about downsizing is that it can get you down. Or up. It all depends. Yesterday was a down.


deb said...

Hah! While I was driving the half hour to one of the malls, it hit me. The first post I read here, the one that hooked me was about......

downsizing. Who'd have guessed that one?!

Linda Ball said...

Who indeed with 115 posts about it. Yikes! I'm boring. "Memoirs of a Downsizer" Has a nice if ungrammatical ring to it.

deb said...

In all honesty, it might work!

You've inspired me to think about writing a post about my own downsizing. Just one post.

On the down side of many ways I do miss a lot of the stuff. Or at least the life that it was part of. A kind of melancholy. Anyhow, it's interesting to hear about someone else going through it, albeit for quite different reasons.

Well, you are now listed on my blog and I gave you a personal plug. If you like reading some eloquent blogging (sometimes a bit over-wordy) check out Alice at