Sunday, March 14, 2010

Downsizing - Helping Friends Move

Visiting a couple of friends who moved to a new house in December and are working on getting their old house ready for the market showed me some of the problems that I have in common with them. They have a full complement of household items and personal belongings in the old house, even though they have moved and are living fully comfortably in their new house. My friend has clothes from forever, and most of them are way too big for her. She has lost weight, mostly through illness. We are hoping she will become stronger but not gain back much of the weight. She has clothes from when she worked in the 1970s and clothes for gardening (meaning sloppy disposable clothes, and many clothing items that still have price tags on them. Seeing the price tags reminded me of my mother's stuffed closet with many brand-new clothes with price tags still on. When we first started working on the clothes, my friend said, "I have a bag for storage and a bag to take to the new house." I said, "How about a bag for giving away?" She did agree, and many clothes went into that bag!

I saw my friend's pattern of acquisition as somewhat similar to mine. Getting things because they are on sale, keeping gifts received from friends, and keeping little things that are somewhat useless but difficult to throw away, because they are...nice.

I helped pack the photos from a hall closet that had boxes and folders and bags full of photos. Well, not as many photos as I have in my photo closet, but plenty. We packed all the photos in boxes and placed them by the door. My friend considers them precious and wants to be sure to hand carry them to the new house, rather than having any helpers move them or putting them in one of their 2 storage lockers. I agree that the photos are precious. My friend's husband said, "We'll never look at these photos!" Then, a while later, when we were done for the day, another friend was taking photographs of all of us. My friend's husband said, "Let's take more photos we'll never look at!"

I helped pack about 10 boxes of books. I am good at packing books! I was pleased to find myself so good at it. The books are my friend's husband's hobby. He loves to buy books and has thousands. He hopes to enjoy them during his retirement in a few years. Everybody was talking about how particular he is about the books. Someone told me to avoid packing the books, because he would probably be critical about anything I did that might damage any books. But he and I got along fine about my packing. He felt that I was packing the books in the same ways he tends to pack them. We are book collectors, who have packed many a book. We don't mind spending the time to find just the right book for the right spot in the box. I am not purposely building my collection of books now, but I am still buying books that I think will be useful to me.

I was glad to help my friends, but I did feel a little guilty about working on someone else's stuff instead of my own unfinished business!

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