Downsizing. / moving.

How do I get my life into a box?……

Quote, “Imagine you lost your possessions in your home in a fire today. What would you immediately feel heartbroken to have lost? What would you need to replace right away to move on with your life?” …. anonymous.

2013-11-13 23.12.18

Just part of my “sell” pile!

We are downsizing from a three bed bungalow with loft and garage, to a two bed apartment with just one storage cupboard.

The idea of getting rid of all the “stuff”  and starting afresh appeals.

So how do you sift through  the accumulated “stuff” of 34 years of your life and decide what you just cannot live without?

I am told to clear one cupboard at a time and get rid of anything you have not used for the past year.  and have three collections, rubbish, charity and sale.

Simple, Yes?

but it’s hard!!!

What do you do with 43 year old professional exam papers, letters telling you you have passed, have been registered and can practise?  Degree certificates, teaching certificates and other qualifications, I had forgotten I had accumulated over the years.

I am unlikely to ever apply for another job and they are meaningless to me now.  But I worked so hard for these bits of paper.

Then there are baby books, baby teeth, even labour records. (yes I kept them!)Photos, obsolete family videos, CD’s even some cine film and cameras.  School reports, exercise books, artwork, stories written by my children.

…….not to mention, lovingly bought, and even more lovingly made, cards for birthdays,  mothers day, Christmas.  Love letters, Pre email letters to my son at university, diary’s and other personal sentimental documents.

I haven’t looked at these things for years, so why keep them?

And this is only the small stuff.

There are wedding dresses, (three!) wedding albums and bridesmaids dresses.  Evening dresses. All with sentimental connections that I don’t want to give to a charity shop.

I have already decided to sell most of my furniture, as it is too big for the new place. But I love my retro dining chairs I bought in 1978…..  Do I really want to get rid of them?  but I doubt if they will fit into the new place and really want a lighter colour scheme.


……  and will I need one of my  only three year old leather sofas to sit on while I decide on a new décor scheme for the new place?

 ( the answer,is no,   it came to me as I write this,) 

I have discovered EBAY!  and sucessfully sold a Vintage Kenwood chef, circa 1960. and  listed more items including a working reed organ that was my dads, who died in 1978! plus comic books, figurines in boxes,  I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember where the figurines, still in boxes, and obviously gifts,  came from.

Michael of course,  who   came into my home with just two cardboard boxes  and a suitcase,  will probably leave with the same   Does his usual..

. “It will sort it’self out in the end”

Love Denise

Anybody want a leather sofa?…good condition!

Edit…and then I watch pictures of all the devastation by the typhoon in the Phillipines, the people who have lost everything… and think “what are you mithering about!”

A year ago I was saying goodbye to an old friend and welcoming a new one!


24 thoughts on “How do I get my life into a box?……

  1. Hey Denise…I think you hit the nail on the head with the Philipines comment…what are we holding on to? One thing you might want to do it take lovely photos of say the wedding dresses and the other things that you are finding it really hard to part with…put those photos in a lovely “memory” book and then bundle them up and take them to a charity shop…imagine someone getting some use out of them …might be all they could afford and you’ve made their special day.

    in the end it’s just “stuff”….I boxed up alot of things that I couldn’t dare part with a couple of years ago..took it to my sisters to store (she has much more room than I do, outbuildings etc)..and you know what? I don’t even remember what is in those boxes now….so keep the small things you can’t bare to part with but let the other stuff go.


    • Hi Debbie, thanks for your comment. The photo idea is a good one. especially as photos just sit in my camera and don’t take up any space.
      Actually, we are going into a rental for 3 months while the new apartment is being finished so most things WILL go in boxes. but I don’t want too many boxes!…… So maybe I can store the things I can’t bear to part with and then “forget” what I have and just thow the boxes on the tip in 3 months.


  2. Don’t do it!!! Well, not all of it. I recently found my Mum’s record of me since birth (first this, first that, etc – I don’t think I’ve mentioned that anywhere yet) and even though it’s just one page of A4 I think it’s priceless. I am definitely a hoarder, of sorts, and have run out of space for books so have been periodically donating all the “naff” ones (that I think have no merit, even if they are well thought of) to the charity book shop in Manchester. Everyone has to give in at some point.

    As for three wedding dresses? I’m sure there’s a story.

    Good luck with the move.


    • Hi FM. Funnyly enough, I asked me son, who is a terrible hoarder to come and sort out the comics he had kept for 25 years. I showed him his baby book and to my surprise, he just threw it in the bin. After he went back to Birmingham, I got a frantic text from his wife saying, “don’t throw the baby book away!”

      ……and yes there is a long story behind the wedding dresses, one day I will tell all.

      Love Denise


  3. I’ve lived in several countries, so I’ve learned to be ruthless. Its a marvelously cleansing experience! But I do keep the photos. Even the rejects. Always. Wish I was there being ruthless for you! Hugs. S


  4. Well, as I mentioned in my response to your FB post, it is very difficult for me to pitch all that “stuff” – yes, I know – a lot of it could go and I would never miss it – in fact as you and others have mentioned, it would be very cleansing to finally get rid of it!! Not to mention how much “lighter” I would feel as all that stuff really weighs a lot on my mind! However, as I get older and my memory isn’t what it used to be, I guess I’m afraid that I’ll “forget” many of the memories that all those things represent! I do like Debbie’s suggestion about taking photos of the most treasured things – looking at the photos would help jar my memory I’m sure! So good luck with your “cleanse” – wish I could be there to help you! Hope Michael is feeling better – Hugs to both of you!


  5. Ho Sandy…I’m gradually ploughing through a bit at a time, it but it is making me feel anxious….I keep asking myself, am I doing the right thing? I’m thinking the best way is just to throw it all away unseen!
    Hugs. xx


  6. Hi Denise. I will be very interested to read the suggestions people make, and what you finally did. I have a housefull of stuff similar to yours. A lot of it belongs to my kids, so what do I do with that? (Gwan, for instance, has a whole room of stuff in my house – including all the old exam papers and lecture notes, books, clothes, knick-knacks, etc – and she hasn’t lived here for about a decade!) GM x


    • Well I have decided keep ONE large box marked “sentiment” for photos cards etc I just cannot part with. When I move into our newly built place I may just throw the whole box away. because I will just not have anywhere to put it.

      Then. I asked my children to come and decide what to throw away and take home whatever they wanted to keep. For you Bossy, this may be difficult, as Gwan is on the other side of the world.

      My daughter said she had enough junk of her own and just to throw it all away because what she didn’t know about didn’t matter. But I drew the line at her wedding dress and HER wedding cards, so what she does with them is up to her.

      She didn’t even want her baby teeth! but I have kept them because I saw a detective programme recently where they traced an unidentified body by the DNA from the baby teeth her mother had kept! …..sorry Sunshine, I know that’s morbid!!

      My son who is a terrible hoarder came and sorted all his comics he collected 25+ years ago. Some he took for his own children. ( as if his wife has not got enough of his junk already!) Surprisingly he said to take the rest to the tip, but I have put some on Ebay ( 65 Beano special comics from 1984) and if they don’t sell THEN I will put them in the recycling.

      Love Denise


      • This gave me a laugh, thanks Denise! You sound like you are making fine progress. In my case, all three of my kids live thousands of miles away so maybe I should just throw everything out and reclaim my bedrooms! Like you, the crunch will come when we finally make the decision to move to a smaller place… GM x


  7. Hi Denise, yes it’s very hard to part with stuff you are attached to. Last time I tried to have a clear out I couldn’t bear to part with photos and the children’s pictures, school reports etc. I ended up being quite ruthless and only kept one item from each child per school year and tore up loads of duplicate or similar photos. I was more successful with clothes, bedding and household goods fortunately and a lot went to the charity shop. Like Bossyi a lot of stuff here belongs to the kids. When the firstborn moved into his flat in London I thought he was going to take it all with him – how naive can a mum be – I’m sure I have more stuff of his now than I did a year ago!

    Anyway, good luck with the move – both of them! I’m sure you’ll manage to sort it out. Love from Janet xx


  8. Hi Janet…. I guess I an being forced to do this, so in some ways is is easier. I even looked into renting a permanent storage unit, but the cost was too much. So I kep telling myself I have to be ruthless!

    I have had a clear out before. After we returned from honeymoon in 2000. But a lot of the really old stuff I still kept and of course it has built up again since.

    I know we all vow not to let stuff build up again but we all do. I hope in the new place I will be a born again minimalist. I would hate the thought of my children having to do this after I am gone!

    Love Denise


  9. HI
    After 20 years in the same large office, where we kept almost everything, I downsized and moved to a home office to get ready for retirement. It took me 3 months to get it all done.
    It really drains the energy out of you especially when you have to make decisions for the items that you have been hanging on to because they once meant something.
    I took photos of the items that were difficult to part with. For the items that had some value I priced them real low so I could get rid of them rather then taking the chance that I would be left with it; which would have meant another trip to the tip.
    Wishing the best with your move.


    • Hi Conrad. As you say.. what I didn’t anticipate was the anxiety cased by having to decide to throw things away. I haven’t looked at some stuff for years and some I didn’t know I had, but I worry if I am doing the right thing by getting rid of them.
      Love Denise


    • Hi Megan, I love the chairs too , (of course you have seen them,) and I am loathe to get rid, but they limit the colour scheme and re-covering isn’t an option as the original retro pattern is part of the attraction. Maybe I will just put them on ebay at a high retainer say 500 and see what happens.

      Any tips on moving….you have done it across the world!

      Love Denise


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