Since we returned home in mid September from our 3 week sojourn in Cuenca, more than ever, I am ready to go. I’ve begun seriously cleaning out drawers and closets. Whenever anyone comes over, and admires or even mentions an item, my reply is: Do you want it? take it! The hard part is going through everything. Many items make me think of when I got it, what I used it for, something that happened….and then the memories flood back.
Someone told me to clean out a closet or a bunch of drawers with 3 grocery bags and music. Put on a favorite music CD, get 3 bags and as you look at each item, put it in either the bag to keep, the bag to throw out, or the bag to donate. Only spend as much time in the closet or drawers as the CD plays, usually about one to 2 hours. Once the CD is over, stop. The music on the CD will help your thoughts stay with the music, instead of with the items, and you won’t get sidetracked by going to put stuff away or trying it on, or thinking too hard on each item. Force yourself to not go back into the throw away or donate bags, but get rid of them. Later, deal with the “keep” bag.
I’ve started stashing items that I know I want to keep and bring with me to Cuenca in the 2 top drawers of a dresser in a guest bedroom. Stuff I know I will need when we go, but don’t need now: a collapsible lightweight laundry basket (new), small, light, decorative trinkets that I can’t bear to get rid of, a small collapsible umbrella that I always take with me when traveling as it fits in my purse. As the next few months pass, and I clean out more stuff, I plan to stash even more items in there. But not too much! can’t take it all with me.
Friday, I posted 4 pieces of furniture that I can live without right now on a local “neighborhood” email digest. Today, I sold one of the pieces. I really wish I had been able to sell all 4 (2 bookshelves, a buffet and a highboy) but at least it prompted me to clean them out! To get ready, I culled through our books in the bookshelves and all the junk that was in the buffet in the corner. The highboy was already cleaned out. Now I have 3 more boxes of stuff for the October garage sale and 2 boxes of books to take to the book exchange. My son and his friend came over and they wanted quite a few of the books, so less for me to have to carry off.
On the subject of getting rid of stuff, I’ve become much more disciplined about letting go of things. What has helped me is the decision to take some of my pictures and framed items with me to EC. I’ll just take them out of the frames and pack them in between some cardboard in my suitcase– then later, I can get them framed in Cuenca. All the other stuff, if my kids don’t want it, then I don’t want it. The frames I can sell at a garage sale.
That leaves my big antique steamer trunk full of mementos and treasures going way back to before we got married in 1977! I’ll have to tackle that, along with all my photos and slides, next week.
How have my readers handled leaving your stuff behind and getting rid of possessions before moving to EC? I know that there are some of my readers who didn’t bring all their stuff in a container. I’d love to hear your experiences. And even those of you who brought a container, how did you decide what to ship, what to get rid of, what to leave with family?
Part of me loves the idea of starting out fresh, shopping and buying everything new and having the experience of starting out all over again, somewhat like when I was young and had nothing. The other part of me, the frugal and the sentimental part, screams NO!!! when I try to throw away or donate an item that I have saved for a long time. It’s as if – maybe I won’t be able to find that in EC, or, maybe I’ll need that, or I just can’t bear to get rid of it.
Meanwhile, here’s what the weekend storm left in my Texas backyard:
The tree limb must have bounced off the roof before damaging only the gutters and falling on my patio. Probably weighs (with all those pecans and the limb being about 8 inches diameter) 600 pounds. Somebody up there was watching over us, it could have been MUCH worse, the roof could have been seriously damaged. As it is, however, this has made me think: do we really want to rent out our house? what if something like this happens while we are miles away? Yes, we have insurance, but someone would have to be here to oversee repairs, work, etc., and that’s not what we had envisioned our “retirement paradise”. Our son (who had planned to move in to rent it out and share the rent with 2 friends) is having second thoughts, too. He came over to help me saw off some of the heavier limbs and move them away from the small brick fence to the right. The fence is damaged and leaning because of the weight of the limb and was threatening to fall over onto our air conditioning unit, which you can’t see to the right. That would be really bad. He’s thinking that maybe staying here as landlord would tie him down (and might be some work for him!) and if he wanted to move somewhere else (following HIS dreams) he would be stuck here since we would be depending on him. Hmmmm.
Hubby and I are going to have a serious talk about this in January, after he has officially retired. Maybe we should just sell it, take our stuff, lock the door and go. I certainly don’t want to tie down my son, and I’m not sure that we could manage a rental from far away. I have a few clients who own rentals and they all tell me that letting a rental agency take care of your place is a waste of money and that they rarely “take care” of much of anything. Selling it would be more permanent than I am ready for, at this point, and the sales market hasn’t come back to where I would like it to be, but it may be easier for us all around. Anybody want to give us some advice?