Downsizing….elegant and simple but not easy!

“She opens another box and un-wraps a set of her Grandma’s stoneware. It is grey with teal circles and black starbursts. Memories flood into her mind of meals shared in her grandmother’s kitchen. The warmth and smell of cinnamon and bacon sizzle to the front of her memory. Memories of her Grandma’s kind smile, her soft giggle, and hours of board games hover on the rim of each plate. She unconsciously smiles and that memory warms her deep down as tears flood into her eyes. “

I recently moved from a 4000 sq. ft. house to a 1700 sq. ft. house. The memories of days gone by swirl and linger in every box. There are memories of my kids as preschoolers with blankets that were crocheted by this special person or that special person. There are old Legos, Connects and Beanie Babies carefully packed in plastic bins and dearest of all Children’s story books. There are old Klipsch speakers purchased shortly after I got married 27 years ago and lightly used furniture that does notDSC_0672  fit in my smaller house. This list could go on and on. It is a fact, I have great stuff but mostly I have stuff that holds memories for me.

I once heard a preacher say that in order to receive a gift, you have to let go of what you were holding on to and reach with an empty hand. The act of letting go does not come easily for me, for I don’t relish change. I hold tight to the known. I gather and hoard, telling myself it is for leaner times, but that my friend, is a lie. I struggle with losing the memories of my past loved ones. I feel disloyal for even entertaining the idea of getting rid of the last gift my brother gave me before he died, like that could somehow bring him back. I even entertain the idea that Grandma would be so disappointed with me if I got rid of something she gave me. Perhaps I am afraid that she might haunt me for getting rid of her “Gone with the Wind” collector plates that graced on her walls but are merely gathering dust in my basement.
To be honest it has been freeing to empty my closets, bookshelves and cupboards. It has also been very hard. I am not saying I did not shed a few tears in the process, but it has been good for me to say good-bye to the past, complete with the dream house in which I raised my children. It is said that the elegant solution is often the simplest and perhaps that is something I lost in the clutter of my life. It has never been said that the simplest solution is the easiest path to follow. For beauty and simplicity of getting rid of the things I don’t use is much like running a race, it takes motivation to even start thinking about the task. It is simple and elegant….the complication arose when I started to justify. When in my finite wisdom, I tried to figure out how to keep this or that, and the amount of dust it has collected did not deter my stubborn will.
What I do know is… I now have room for new memories, for grand kids yet to come, and friendships yet to be forged, and books yet to be written. I find myself with hands empty, anticipation a new adventure. I now have room for new dreams, new loves, and new obsessions. I also know in this process I have lost nothing but gained the whole world.


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