As one of the Baby Boomer generation, I am aware of the fact that in the next twenty years it may be necessary for me to downsize my living style. The four bedroom/ three bath home we live in on our half acre lot may be more than we need or want to care for. My husband and I may not continue to enjoy our excellent health and physical lives. But we know that eventually the saying will be proved true- "You can't take it with you"!
So, I have a choice. I can live each day continuing to be a consumer and pack rat or I can choose to be proactive. Spending less money and taking as little as three hours a week to evaluate our home. Just looking at an area while following the simple organizing steps: sort, purge, establish a zone and containerize will result in cleaning up the clutter, organizing and reducing the unnecessary bulk.
As I put away our Christmas decorations I followed these steps. Some decorations definitely needed to advance on to a landfill. But, I confess that I did take pictures of a few of the items my children had made that had become too bulky to save! Another set of items I gave to our daughter. A small 6 x 6 x 6” boxful was saved for the grandchildren we look forward to having someday. The rest of the items were placed in clearly marked containers. The beautiful, rarely used, Christmas glassware was marked for holiday giving next Christmas. A plate of cookies or Polish pastries given on these plates will be an elegant present! I will have made good use of these former gifts.
God forbid that I am hit by a Mac truck this year…but if I am, I am confident that my children can easily navigate through our Christmas items. While I was at it I looked at the other seasonal decorations we have accumulated over the years. Yes, our Easter, Thanksgiving, Saint Patrick’s Day and summer decorations were looked at and similarly encased in clearly marked plastic totes, too!
The next areas my husband and I both attacked were our closets. As we ruthlessly went through shoes, belts, clothing (and for me other accessories) we found we didn’t need any more space in our closets. We just needed less. A suit and two suit coats, a size too small, no longer needed saved. Shoes that I was convinced would be comfortable, and proved not to be, were passed on. Out of date clothing saved in case the style returned were parted with. In the end, we agreed that a “clothing fast” was in order. No more buying clothing unless both of us agreed it was needed…..not merely wanted. To celebrate we quickly drove our castoffs to the Goodwill drop off and didn’t look back. The next day while dressing for church I confess that I did lament not having a specific white undergarment. Then I realized the reason it was donated was because it was the wrong size and type. So, later that week an appropriate replacement was found and all is well.
Our bathroom seems next on the list. I think I’ll attack it this next week. I know I’ve been saving some cosmetics that will never be used! I believe I will find many other items that could easily be trashed. Think of the space I will save! Yes, a few more containers will be needed to establish order.
By moving from one area of the house to another, spending only three hours a week, I will continually address the accumulation of our possessions and get rid of the items just taking up space. My home is not cluttered but the excess is there! Also, by addressing the issue of our many possessions I find that my recent purchases are more thoughtfully made. This is especially helpful as we approach these years of retirement.
We may remain in our large home throughout our lives. However, if we need to downsize or our children need to clean out our house, I will know that I have left things in a manageable state. By being proactive I am in charge of the decisions and not just waiting for the day that family members will take charge.