Mary’s Musings

Downsizing: Hard to do

Posted:  Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 8:45am

Every time we watch one of the TV shows on hoarders, we breathe a sigh of relief that we’re not that bad yet, but we do feel guilty that we save far more than we should. Some folks can claim that they stopped throwing things away during the Great Depression which is understandable but we’re not that old, so we can’t use that argument.In our own defense, we grew up believing that if something was still serviceable, you didn’t throw it out.

We’re not sure why we’re so hesitant to throw things away on the (slim) chance that we may want them some day. Our home seemed to have ample space when we bought it, because, after all, it meant at 21 we had a three-bedroom house all to ourselves after having  just our own bedroom in our parents’ home.

It didn’t take too many years for us to determine that since our house was originally constructed as a summer cottage, it didn’t have much closet or storage space. Even early year-round residents probably had no problem with the limited space because they very likely didn’t have all the “stuff’’ folks have today.

Somehow, we convinced ourselves along the way that it was always wise to keep the old “just in case.’’ After all, old cookware or dishes were still good even if we had newer pieces, you never know when you’ll need an old towel or blanket for outdoor use, and the well-worn jeans could come in handy for painting, yard work, fishing, etc. All of the colored shoes, once worn to match your outfit, were still in near-new condition, even if we no longer bother to color-coordinate like we did when we were younger .An extra fan can always come in handy on a hot day and it’s always nice to have an extra calculator or phone directory handy.

We also are guilty of “hoarding’’ food such as canned goods and packaged products – you know, stuff you may want on any given day when you don’t feel like going to the store.  Once in a while, when we decide to reorganize, we’re amazed at just how many cans of the same kind of vegetables we’ve managed to accumulate.

We always tell ourselves that we’ll cut back, throw out stuff we haven’t used for years and turn over a new leaf, but somehow that day never seems to come. We’ve only really known one true hoarder in our lifetime – a real one, with just a path through the middle of the living room and kitchen counters stacked high with pots and pans that hadn’t been used for years. It weighs on our mind every once in a while when we observe that the desk is covered with clutter and sales flyers seem to be on every flat surface.

The older we get, the more we admit to ourselves that we’ve got far too much stuff and need to sort through it to save family members from being stuck with the task someday. We’re one of those folks who should probably have started out in life in one of those tiny homes which discourage you from keeping anything you don’t need right from Day One.

We’ll try to do better, honest.