If in Doubt Throw it Out…No Wait Give it Away

As I wrote in a recent post my husband and I are moving and we’re downsizing ….no wait a minute we’re DOWNSIZING!

We’re going from a semi-detached bungalow with basement and lots of storage which we utilize to the fullest…to a Mobile Home with virtually no storage and definitely no basement. It was this or an apartment for which we were not prepared to go into right now. With an apartment, there is no outside property and we would really miss that, especially my husband who loves to make gardens and care for them. Some of you know that I have M.S. so while I enjoy his gardens, I can’t really work in them.  There is also a deck which we can enjoy outside in the summertime.

Now for the hard part. After collecting odds and ends for a lot of years, we now have to determine what to do with them. Even the excess furniture that will not fit into our new home has to be given away or sold.

How does one determine in doing this purge, what we can do without either for logical reasons or for emotional reasons. Pictures I will of course not discard but what about some of my children’s or grand-children’s beautiful artwork they made in kindergarten that has had a place somewhere in all of the houses we’ve been? I may have to find a box and keep it as I don’t know if I could throw it in the garbage. Knowing my children, they are not ’emotional’ enough to want to take it and keep it themselves.

Now for closet space! The closets are very small and I have too many clothes….however I started getting ruthless and if I haven’t worn it for a year or more or it does not fit me at my current size, it is going to a shop that sells second-hand clothing where the funds go to a charity.  I’ve already packed about 3 or 4 bags with such clothing and my husband has done the same…maybe not so many bags as what I have though.

The next challenge is books. While I don’t read or re-read all the ones that I have…never-the-less they are in cabinets and on shelves everywhere in the house.  Oh and the old Reader’s Digest books from long ago that take up space on another shelf. Maybe I can find some Nursing Home or possibly the library, that will take some books but I probably won’t find a place to take the Reader’s Digest books. Hospitals and Doctor’s offices don’t put them out anymore because I guess old magazines and books are considered germ laden. While I hate to think of throwing any out I may be left with no other alternative.

While we will have a very large shed when we move to store some things like Christmas decorations and such, even they will have to be limited. It sometimes seems like we are changing more than just our address, when I think of all the limitations we are placing on ourselves.

It’s not that we haven’t thought this out but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of actually making these decisions I’m finding it a bit overwhelming at times.

I am aware that there are many who have had to live with bare necessities in their lives and not by choice. We are making the decision because we want to, and there is a difference of that I am sure.

The most important fact of this move is not  ‘the things’  we cannot take with us but the fact that we will be together, and closer to our family….and people are far more important than ‘things’ are anytime!

37 thoughts on “If in Doubt Throw it Out…No Wait Give it Away

  1. I can see how it could be tough to discard so many things. Perhaps this thought will help:

    I believe that that beyond a certain threshold–which may differ from person to person–one goes from owning things to being owned by them.

    May your move go smoothly and may you have many happy years in your new home.



    • I think you’re right…they are only ‘things’ and as I go through them I realize that more and more. What real attachment do I have with them? With photos and some memorabilia there are …but others I’m thinking that I don’t. In the end I think it will be fine. Thanks..I think this move will be good for us in many ways…Diane


  2. You have quite a task. I like Pamela’s idea. I will need to keep that one in mind, if we ever have to make a big move like this again. Let them pick out the stuff before you pack it…

    When we moved, our youngest was about 6 months. It was hard having to drop everything for house showings. Since my husband had to start the job in Iowa, and we lived in Nebraska, we found a temporary place to live. In a friend’s basement. But that meant we could not work on getting rid of stuff before the move. We went back to the old house on the weekends, packed it up and brought it all here.

    As we unpacked in our new home, we decided then what we wanted to keep. Besides being in a new home, we also were drastically simplifying our lives, so got rid of a ton of stuff. Whenever anyone came by with a meal or to lend a hand, we asked them to go through what we wanted to get rid of. I was happier to give things to those I knew would use them, rather than just dropping the stuff off at the thrift store.

    I pray all will go well for you.


    • Thanks….I am going to do that…to ask close friends or family if they would like something…like you say. I know it will all work out …Selling the house is the biggest issue right now too. I’m praying the Lord brings the right person. Right now for a week we’re in Illinois at our daughter’s visiting and ‘kid’ sitting (12 and 14) for a week or so. Thanks for your prayers….I know God will be in all of this and help…Diane


  3. Maybe you could have a day to invite all your family and friends and have them bring a food dish and “shop” at your house at all the stuff your getting rid of to make sure there’s nothing they might have wanted. “When you loose your life you shall find it.” You will have an abundant life for all that your doing to loose yours right now.


  4. Oh what a job! We downsized from two houses to a two bedroom in 2009! We went though years of accumulations and I must say it feels really good to have it all pared down finally after so much emotional work! HA! And I just love the picture of your family Diane. 😀


    • Thanks…I think it will be good once it’s all done ….I guess it’s the thought of it that’s the toughest ….The picture is of one son and family ..He and his second wife have 5 children between them…and then of course girlfriends…and our little great-granddaughter..It will be good to see more of them all…Diane


  5. Praying for such a wonderful new start when you move, Diane.
    It must be hard, after many years in your present home, to uproot yourselves and not be able to take everything!
    I’ve always been a hoarder of memories myself – so letting go of things that many people would struggle to understand why I would keep is hard – because there are so many emotions and memories attached to them. I also felt for a long time that throwing out things that might be the only tangible remains of some past event might be akin to actually wiping the event from history – like it never happened. Like that saying, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound – I found myself thinking, if something happens and nobody remembers it and there is no proof of it any more, did it happen?
    I also can’t begin to experience how much harder it would be for you, struggling with your memory already, to have to let so many things go.
    At the beginning of this year, I moved from a very large 1 bedroom apartment, to a tiny studio apartment that was less than 1/3 of the size, and has absolutely no storage. I had a LOT of stuff, and I had to be ruthless. In the end, I think I left more than 80% of my things behind! For many things, letting go of them was a huge step forward for me, breaking more ties to the past. I’d kept family cards and gifts from over a decade back, simply because I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away, it felt to me like rejecting the people I’d tried so hard to start over again, despite their already rejecting me. So it really did set me free.
    Other ideas that helped me were:
    There are many uses for old books, besides charities etc. They still do put them out in some places. I’ve found a lot of old books get given to people who are on the streets, to keep. Sort of like a library for them but since they are on the go and likely to not be able to commit to a return time and place, it’s better to give them to them. A book can be a real comfort. It’s worth searching to see if there is an org that does that sort of thing near you. Books that aren’t readable, or just aren’t wanted by anyone -there might be a recycling company in your area who can use them to turn them into cardboard boxes, kitty litter, bedding for animal refuges, fuel for stoves/heat etc.
    I threw out the oldest of mine, those that were just dirty and yuck. Donated many. Most of mine that I wished to keep but couldn’t, were picked up by friends who offered to keep them in their garages/stores indefinitely. They are all booklovers and are enjoying reading them themselves. Maybe you could do something like that. Just take the ones you couldn’t be parted from with you and make sure you know where your local library is, or have a kindle to read what you want when you want!
    Clothes.. that’s hard too! We accumulate so many! I asked myself what I actually wore from all my clothes, what fit, what I liked. Those went on the KEEP pile. Then with the rest, i just kept sorting them a few more times. First into ‘donate’ and ‘throw out’ piles. Throw out benefits nobody – so they go out, unless you have a charity in your area that uses/sells unwearable clothing as rags or similar. As you whittle down the other pile, the questions I asked are “will I actually ever wear this” “does it look and feel good, is it dated?” and “is this worthy of a place in my wardrobe?” It’s hard when you have grown up being frugal, but you need to throw away things with stains or tears or buttons missing that you are used to ‘mending’ or using as ’round the house’ or ‘messy chores’ clothing. Every day is a special day – unless you are doing something bona-fide messy, wear things that look and feel good, you don’t have the room to have round the house clothing any more, and you deserve to always wear the best, not just when you are going out or to a special occasion!
    Donations are the usual thing, but also consider places like where I’m working now – Dressed For Success and similar for better clothes! If you have to give away particularly special clothing, you could perhaps try and think of the smile it will bring and the special moments that might be lived in it by the next owner. Friends and neighbours might be of use too, if you had a lot of clothes you weren’t keeping, if they wanted to come in and select clothing for themselves – pretty much does the work for you!
    And then, photos, cards, memories, they are hard. Really hard. All I can think of is perhaps keep the most special ones, and photograph the rest (like gifts you cannot use or keep but are special regardless) and keep them all in a special album for the memories?
    It’s hard!!
    Don’t forget – charities might come and pick up the donations too. Many of them do, especially if you have larger amounts.
    Good luck, (((hugs))) be gentle on yourself. Remember it’s about what feels best – always listen to your heart, first and foremost – there are no ‘rules’ here xxx


    • Thanks..lots of good suggestions. Most of my clothing problem I’ve taken care of and donated to where they sell them reasonable to people so hopefully someone who needs them for work etc. and can’t afford new…will get them. Books, I’m tackling soon…I save some that have meaning to me, I’ going to try Kijiji at someone’s suggestion re 75 or so old Reader’s Digests..They’re monthly small reads put out …and they are old but maybe someone collects them or has a use for them.. I rather give them away than throw them away..Somehow I’ll find some place for them and other books I won’t be keeping. I may ask our church if they want any…for annual book sale they have. knick knacks I have given to the place that sells things for charities …

      I’ll work my way through the rest…somehow. Furniture is no problem because if we don’t have anyone to give it away to or sell it we’ll just call the Salvation Army or someone to come and get it.

      It’s all doable just daunting at times… Oh well….main thing is to sell the house before anything…But I believe all will work out….Diane


      • It’s all very daunting! It sounds like you are definitely on the right track. What I found hardest wasn’t actually doing it, it was the thought of it all – that fazed me so much it rendered me frozen for a long time! But when I finally got past that and started doing it, it got a bit easier. I found that getting started tended to lead to me getting on a bit of a roll.
        Just remember to take lots of breaks and be gentle with yourself!
        I’m sure there will be someone out there who collects the RD books, there always is! Best of luck, and my thoughts and prayers are with you xx


  6. I wish you well in your move. Oh, I can imagine how painful choosing what to keep and give away would be. We have a difficult time tossing old rickety furniture that hold sentimental value. God bless you both.


    • Thanks…Actually, they and my other son and family are why we are moving…to be closer. For 12 years we’ve been over two hours away and while it doesn’t seem far…they work as do my grandchildren who are in their 20’s and then busy weekends so we haven’t seen much of them …oh and our 4 year old great-granddaughter..So we will when we move be 15 min. from one son and 30 min from other and the grandchildren. Our daughter is in Illinois so it won’t make any difference there except maybe 2 hours closer when we drive….We just felt the need in our lives right now to do this…Diane


    • While we hope within the next couple of months…we have to sell our house and so the exact date remains unknown..Someone is coming to look at it today so if you’d like to say a prayer that maybe these are the right people…I would appreciate it….Thanks Diane


  7. It has to be hard to sort through the things that you have collected through the years. I feel for you. I had my daughter and her family move in with me. I had to slim down in order for them to fit. It was a really emotional thing, believe it or not, to sort through all my keepsakes. But, in the end, I feel lighter, and I realize I didn’t need all that stuff after all. Bless you in your purging and your move. I know it will all be alright. Jamie 🙂


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