This is the summer of downsizing and decluttering. For real this time. Now that we’re free from property ownership for the foreseeable future, it’s critical that we get rid of anything that won’t fit into a 5x10x8 storage unit.
Two weeks ago we dumped a truck load of our belongings at the Goodwill. As I peered into the blue bins and stared at the remnants of our life, I felt horrified, relieved and sad.
Horrified that every day all over America the scene plays out again and again. Old stuff gets dumped. New stuff gets bought and consumed. The new stuff turns old and it’s back to the blue bins. Where does it all go?
We All End Up in the Blue Bins
I was relieved to be free of material things that weigh us down, mentally and financially.
And also sad that at some point in all our lives, everyone’s stuff ends up in the Goodwill bins.
Unless you’re a dead rock star, nobody gives a rat’s ass about 95 percent of your possessions when you’re dead. If the remaining 5 percent can be turned over for a profit on eBay, that’s the only time anyone really cares.
The first time we downsized, the goal was to get our stuff out of storage in one year and move it into our dream property. I wasn’t feeling any regret or sadness about putting our things out of sight and out of mind. I would see it again soon.
But this time it’s different. I’m struggling a bit. Now I understand why retirees have such a hard time downsizing to go full-time RVing. The older you get, the harder it is to get rid of the material representations of your life.
My stomach flip-flops when I choose between “Keep” or “Toss” for an item. If I think too much about the few things we are keeping, I feel sadness for all the people who lost everything in Hurricane Harvey. They would do anything to have their stuff back. And I’m getting rid of most of mine. On purpose.
In two weeks everything from Jerry’s precious Barney doll to our wedding album will move into a dark storage locker that we may or may not see anytime soon. This time, there is no set date for retrieving the reminders of our previous lives.