Downsizing, along with Relocating…an Emotional Exercise

Picture this: you’ve lived in a previous house for over twenty-five years. You’ve seen neighbors come and go, a few of which have gone on to meet their maker. Little Jimmy and Janice from next door moved on to their first year of college. It seems like only yesterday you gave Jimmy a hot wheel for Christmas. Janice preferred a little black doll. They are around your two children’s age who have also moved out.

Now, you are planning to move to a new house—an unfamiliar neighborhood with friendly neighbors. Yet diversity is still your prerequisite. If you haven’t experienced this type of relocation, it is more than a notion.

It’s just you and your spouse. Your son and daughter regularly stop by for announced or unannounced visits to check on their parents. Besides that, the house is no longer populated with family or visiting guests.

To begin packing is an easy task. You start with the kids’ rooms. Each toy, book, or whatever has a profoundly emotional memory of a severed relationship. Your spouse joins you. Each item now takes on additional importance. In these rooms, you’re reminded of a past event. You can remember many things: a tooth pulled, a special birthday, a specific holiday. Your spouse helps you to recall if you have forgotten certain events. You know you told those kids to take their souvenirs with them. One look at the residual items and you know this was an almost impossible task. In the end, both of you leave the room almost as it was because it’s also hard to throw away certain items.

You may use an attic, basement, or garage for stored stuff. Here, you run into personal gifts, awards, and sure souvenirs that are just as hard to get rid of as those items in the kids’ old rooms. Never let it be said that you haven’t looked at the little artifact and classified it as unimportant until you realize who and why it was given to you. By now, you’ve got the picture. Ultimately, you cannot take all this stuff to the new house. Now comes the hard part: what goes and what stays.

Somehow, both of you have got to give each item the stay or go designation. The retaining criteria can be a priceless or silly item with some personal or monetary value. In the end, you will throw away cherished items. You will donate some of your most deeply personal things to churches or Goodwill. Again, …you cannot keep all this stuff you two have accumulated over the last two decades.

We finally realized that even though we had an eye for quality items, we still had to let some go. It doesn’t matter that Aunt Hattie will one day ask where the location of the cuckoo clock she gave you for your wedding present. The answer is, “Honey, we kept that little priceless item for over fifteen years and finally realized that someone else should be able to enjoy it. Anyway, it stopped working a few years ago.”

Your mother-in-law believes she has some gift tenure or supreme right to place items in your home for perpetuity. You are floored to find out your father-in-law feels the same way, not to think of your mother, father, or even some close relatives or friends.  

By now, you two are annoyed, no longer amused. The nerve of those who expect you to keep the little dusty vase or artifact forever. Your spouse asks what she thinks is a silly question: “Do they think we should be buried with them?”

Face it. You will hurt some folk’s feelings while tugging at your emotional reasoning for keeping or discarding certain items. Trips back and forth from Goodwill remind you that they will resale the items. Some of these priceless artifacts could be placed on the Internet by you. Then again, who has the time to haggle with potential buyers?

In our case, we had retail items stored in a tuff shed. They were bought for resale when we frequented the Flea Market back in the day. Most are collectors’ items that cannot be discarded as worthless.

It is usually hard to sell these items for a fair price at the flea market. You know their actual worth, some appreciating in cost rather than just collecting dust. i.e., Ron Lee clown sculptures, Annie Lee paintings, and collector statures. Folks are not as excited about those items as back in the day. Yet these pieces stand the test of time. They will be worth their weight in gold someday. The question is when and how long you can hold on to them.

Struggling craft artists created other artifacts at the time. Most likely, their works are not going to increase in value. The bottom line is that I cannot keep them in a costly storage bin—it’s time to get back on eBay.

I have personal and retail items in PODs, my new garage, and others in a public storage unit. My wife and I do not move as fast as we did back in the day. So, it’s a slow process. Everyone I’ve spoken to reminds me that organization doesn’t happen overnight. My new next-door neighbor shook his head and noted that had it not been for friends’ help, he and the wife would not have been able to settle within weeks in the new house.

I long for the good old days in our twenties. With the help of a couple of cousins, we could move out and into a new house within two hours. We could do that on a Saturday afternoon and attend a house party or concert by nine o’clock that evening. Rise and shine the following Sunday morning, spending time with family and friends. By Monday morning, we would report for work fresh and ready to work eight or more hours—those days are gone and buried in the past, along with the quality of moving help.

As it turns out, we completed emptying the last two PODs on Thursday, the 21st. Imagine moving your belongings around for almost two months until you have them in your new home. Now, I have boxes in my garage and a public storage area. That timeline includes selling our old house and moving into our new residence. Finally, we can begin sorting the items to keep necessities and discard the rest.

So, if you plan to move away from a resident after a long residential presence, prepare for an emotional experience between your spouse, neighbors, relatives, and within your mind. These days, it turns out to be quite a very drawn-out endeavor.   

 Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                                     Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

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