Downsizing is horrible. Every day I question my decision not to die in a big house surrounded by a lifetime of accumulated things. How bad could it be? It’s all the fun of moving with the added delight of revisiting purchases that make no sense in retrospect.
The last time I did this was my divorce, but that felt more joyful. For that purging I placed a dumpster by the front door, and gleefully filled it with anything unclaimed. Freedom is an excellent payoff.
There’s the physical labor of pulling all your belongings out one by one, examining them, and making the decision to keep or discard. I know now why people choose not to tackle downsizing. The painful part is looking at purchases that are extensions of a person you no longer are, or projects you never tackled, books unread, hobbies abandoned. You, unrealized.
My own stash is a who’s who of things I bought thinking I was someone else. Five inch, gold, Gucci stilettos with the thinnest of straps. The shoes are painful when I am seated with my feet up. I wore them out to dinner once and worried about making it from the car to my table. I was dropped off by the door.
An enormous, boomerang ashtray from the 60’s. I don’t smoke. Knitting supplies in every configuration. I only made scarves, and not even that anymore. A men’s coach briefcase. I’ve never once had a job that involved hauling documents to and from an office.
The x-large chaps should be self-explanatory. I did used to have a motorcycle. Still.
This process would be less painful if I made peace with each of these things, Marie Kondo-style. That is to say, with gratitude. I don’t know how grateful I am for the Philippe Stark side table that lights up from the inside, but I do hope some college kid uses it to display his bong.
I am grateful for the time and resources to select what is meaningful to me. The opportunity to create a space where everything is accessible, that’s easy to care for, and can be closed up and left behind without a care.
It’s probably not the worst thing for all of us to face the things we’ve bought and have to deal with them. I know one thing for sure. I am never, ever doing this again.