Living with Heart

Downsizing for Health 2 – Can I keep the kid’s teeth?


Yeah, that sounds weird. But it sort of encapsulates the 2 year journey of culling a lifetime of memories to fit into a 96m2 unit. With inflammatory arthritis sticking and staying around like an old fish smell – downsizing was really the only option.

When it all started – about 2011 – I looked at our big old house and it seemed overwhelming. Cupboards full of life, drawers full of memories and a massive collection of 72 pieces of red glass and a gorgeous china dish with every tooth my kids had ever lost. It was weighing me down and holding me back. And the teeth sort of smelled…bad.

The sheer mental energy it took to acknowledge all the things that possessed us and kept us in this big old house was enormous.

I knew that moving to a smaller place was the right action – but I also knew it would take a lot of time and physical energy. With fatigue ever present, I physically couldn’t go for days or hours at a time without a break. I knew it would be months or years to get the house and ourselves ready for the move.

So we began with easy things. We emptied the linen cupboard and threw out anything that had been given to us second hand. For some reason, I had been the receiver of all second hand doona covers from parts of my family. I was even given second hand towels!!! What fresh hell is this?

Why had I allowed myself to be given someone else’s used towels? Because I would always accept them. I would always find room for them. 
I allowed myself to be the recipient of other people’s memories. 

When HotY and I looked at the furniture we possessed, we realised how much of it was second hand from family and how much of it was not ours. Not our style and not part of us.

So, back to the linen cupboard. Once we had the above realisation we loaded up the car and delivered anything in good condition to the Salvation Army, anything in bad condition to the tip. What was left was manageable.

We applied this logic to all our possessions. Emails were sent out asking any family wanting things to come get them by a certain date. After this it was fair game. If I had a quilting group at my house I would lay out a selection of red glass or china cups and say ‘Have at it sista! Take what you want and love it’. 

Over about a 2 year period we devoted a few hours every weekend to culling, giving away and dumping.

Along the way we discovered some interesting things about eBay and Gumtree. People do not want to buy second hand furniture. They really do not want to buy something old – even if it is an antique. So, most of our stuff was given away or sold at such ridiculous prices that they may as well have been given away.

And now, we have 3 sets of towels – for us. They were specially chosen and debated over. The colours are our colours. We do also have 4 guest towels for visitors and 4 beach towels. But now, for everything that is bought, something has to be thrown away.

As I write this I look at a garbage bag full of clothes heading for the Salvos. I just had a birthday and was the recipient of some gifts…..therefore an equal amount of things need to be given away. 

There is a balance in this – a level of equilibrium that is just logic.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for taking time to listen and to hear. Thank you for seeing my life through my joint perspective. 

Michelle

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