NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

May 3, 2013

The upside of downsizing

Have you ever looked around your home and thought, “I can’t believe I have so much stuff!” Everywhere you look — the counters, tables, bookcases and closets are full of “stuff.” But, the truth is, you like your material possessions and really don’t want to part with them.

The time could come, however, when you must downsize and that means getting rid of a good portion of your belongings.

Perhaps you have already been through this process with your parents when they became older. At some point, almost all of us will either choose to — or be forced to — move to smaller quarters. It could be that we decide to move far away for the climate or to be closer to our grown children and we simply cannot take everything with us.

Moving takes physical effort of course, but also, for some, the process creates emotional distress. We wonder what to take and what to leave behind, and how to dispose of all the many things you have accumulated throughout your life ... things that are precious to you.

Can you let go of the delicate teacups and saucers you will never ever use, clothes you love but never wear, a kitchen full of too many dishes and mismatched pots and pans?

Holding on to all our possessions can be burdensome, a responsibility weighing us down, keeping us in the past while preventing us from moving on. But letting go, if done with few regrets, can lighten the load and be oh-so-freeing.

That time has come for me. I think about my file cabinets filled with papers from all my schools and jobs. I am attached to the many journals I kept for 40 years, pouring out my dreams, my challenges and the disappointments. And what of the inherited “chatskees,” the dust collectors that still hold the familial connection I don’t want to lose. There are boxes and photo albums full of pictures going back to my childhood and my children’s early days.

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