Moral support! Downsizing/moving

imscatteredJanuary 5, 2012

Help! My husband is retiring in July. We live in a house supplied with his job. Therefore we have to move at that time. We are in a very large 4 bedroom, complete full finished basement with lots of "stuff" in all rooms. We had lots of room when we moved here-but I�ve filled it up!! We are moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community to our own single home that most likely will have 2 bedrooms, garage, combo living/dining & Sunroom (3 season).

Help! Now, how am I going to get rid of all this stuff? I do not exactly qualify as a "Hoarder," but I am a sentimentalist "saver." I have almost every letter/card from family & best friends (back in the day when letters was it.), lots of old pictures, lots of keepsakes. Our kids are 30�s and still live in small apartments and we have a lot of their belongings. I have kept much of their childhood toys, school papers, books, etc. I am the family historian (genealogy) and of course have lots of files, books etc. It goes on and on. My house is tidy but the closets, drawers, bookshelves, boxes, boxes, boxes are bulging.

Help!! Physically getting rid of it is one thing but emotionally� I�ll feel like my life has ended. I have kept things so that I could enjoy looking at them later in life.. Well, I think I�m at that point. What now?

Anyone have experience with this???

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Did the same move a year ago, also to a CCRC, moving from the NY/NJ area to Washington State. We started cleaning out as soon as we made the decision. And you will be surprised to find how much you can do w/o, especially when you find out what the move will cost: in our case, after all that cleaning out, $11,000! You (and most of us) exemplify the saying that nature abhors a vacuum. We have the space & we fill it; now we have to unfill it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 3:11AM
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Try not to cling to the past; you are moving to a new future where you will make many new memories.

In reality, there are very few material things that are truly meaningful and worth saving. What is valuable is the EXPERIENCE and the MEMORIES.

If your kids have not used any of the "stuff" they have stored at your house, they don't need it. Tell them to sort through it, give it away, take it the dump, or take it home - make a deadline and hold firm to it.

Photos and sentimental papers, like legal docs, can be digitized. Get a family member to do it, or pay a neighbor some spending money to digitize it for you (but only after you sort through it and carefully label how you want the files titled; otherwise you'll never be able to find anything again).

Edit the 'keepsakes' down. All of us have way too much stuff and most of it is out of sight, out of mind. The older I get, the more I realize I don't even really look at this stuff when it's out, it just catches dust.

Call a good full-service RE agent and ask for a referral to an 'estate sale' vendor. When my MIL sold her house of 38 years, we got her house emptied and moved her within five weeks' time. I'm still amazed it went so smoothly.

We did the following:
- Contacted the relatives and friends to ask if they wanted any of the furniture. To our surprise, one of her relatives in Canada was eager to pick up quite a few items. They drove a rental truck all the way down the West Coast to haul them away.
- Told her to decide what she truly wanted to keep. But she was restricted to one room's worth (she was taking over the front bedroom of our very small cottage). Even so, there were things she brought that went unused, such as extra bath towels. Anything that wasn't used after two years, was given away in our periodic donations to charity.
- The RE agent referred us to an estate sales vendor. They loved all the tsotchkes and stuff, and she made $800 off the sale. The money was unimportant; what was important was that it was a completely 'clean sweep'. We piled it up, they took it away, and we didn't have to deal with it any longer. Hands-down, it was the smartest thing we did during the whole process.

To this day my MIL misses her house - in the sense of the happy life she had when her DH was alive - but she doesn't miss the extra 'things'. She still has the items that are important to her (and she has a few new fun things she's bought or people have gifted her with), she has a new routine to keep her modestly busy, and she knows she made the right decision to move forward rather than staying put.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 12:06PM
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I can certainly relate to what you are feeling. We have been in our same home since the late 80's and have accumulated way too much STUFF. My husband and I are both sentimental (especially with the belongings of our loved ones who have passed), therefore we not only have our things, but their's also.
I have finally gotten to the point that I know I need to get rid of some things so that I can enjoy the space that I have in the house. My 19 year old daughter was killed in 1998 and I still have room as she left it. I am taking pictures of many things including clothing, and giving them to others who may need the items or want them. I find that pictures help ease the temptation to keep. You can still hold on to the memory, but discard the item.
I wish you luck, because I know it's hard. I also tell myself that when my husband and I are gone, I really don't want to burden my son with getting rid of all of our stuff which I know he will probably just want to keep a fraction of. I want to discard as I please while I have some say in the matter.
Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Imscattered - There are two forums you should look into here - Smaller Homes and Organizing The Home. If you search through them or just come out and ask, there is a wealth of thought and help in just what you are facing. Both forums are fairly active, especially when a new challenge is presented :-)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 5:57AM
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