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Thread: Organizing the rest of our lives

  1. #1
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Organizing the rest of our lives

    The placement and organization of “stuff” takes up a fair amount of my thinking time. Following are random thoughts about future organizational systems and spaces.

    Chime in with your own
    ideas about your own life. I see this as a big picture look at organization and decluttering, not “ I decluttered two socks, a bag of plastic ties, and a yoyo” of other threads. But hey, you can write about whatever you want to write about here.

    Because I am old and have a sense of time passing quickly to the END, I want any stuff I have around me to be useful or beautiful.

    A Brief History of Iris and Stuff: As a single person decades ago I didnt buy a lot of stuff because I was in simplicity mode. But Lordy did I own stuff mainly from my youth when I lived with my parents. I moved across country a few times and carted some if it with me, other stuff remained stored in my parents’ basement.

    When DH and I got married I took all of those boxes. There were dishes and childhood objects like toys and a trunk full of sentimental things and ohoto albums and yadda.Because pur house was not “done” (i.e. there were no finished floors, painted walls, complete staircase until 2011) I unpacked those boxes sporadicaaly over the years. But also, smewhere in there I exercised an obsession for chinese pottery and silverplate serving dishes as well as Victorian dinnerware and table accoutremonts. Then my picture book collecting effort started in earnest in the early 1990’s and wrapped up about 2012. So in summary, I collected a ton of crap.

    Around 2010 I started getting rid of all of boxed stuff feom my youth, selling or giving away sets of dishes, toys, dolls, costume jewelry. Then, because that was fun, I unloaded most all of the Silverplate servers. (I have indulged in one thing* pretty horrific as far as $$$ goes, will tell later.) Around that time I skimmed the best of my mom’s stuff (she was in a nursing home by then) and sold it, splitting profits with my brother.

    Now, I am contemplating the next round of offload. We have a favorite charity to donate antiques and collectibles, our local Park Conservancy booth during our neighborhood’s house tour weekend. We help set ip and sell at the booth. This will be a semi-deep offload, where I plan to donate some of the
    chinese pottery, a big Victorian chair, and other things I still like. But I no longer “love” them, ya know?

    such is the saga of me and my stuff.

    * silverplate foolishness: my mom had a big ornate tray that she liked a lot. I took it many years ago. The plate was wearing off. Each time I polished it I thoight “either this thing should be tossed, or I get it replated.” Well, in an uncharacteristically sentimental move, I took the thing in to get it replated. Cost: $340. It’s value now: about $100 on a good day.

    I was surprised that the plating people didnt ask me for a downpayment because Once they put their silver on it they had a whole lot more money into the thing than I did. bless their hearts, they trusted me to come back for it and pay the bill. I saw many silverplate family treasures lined ip in the pickup area, so
    I am not the only foolish person, I guess. But that is one giant waste of money!At least now I can polish it and bring ip the shine.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    In my mind we move to our
    Hermann house and maintain a small aprtment in the city. Our Hermann house is currently 1400 sq feet and we will add a sunroom and garage. This is plenty of room.

    I saw the perfect, adorable, most beautiful condo for $74,000 here in the city that I would buy in a second if
    I were moved to buy a condo. I still think renting is a better thing for me, condo management makes me ragey.

    But anyway, I picture this Hermann house with DH having control of the entire basement. i have gifted him that. I told him the basement is all his. But—he has to keep crap out of the main part of the house. I also do not want to see the garage (as yet to be built) crammed every inch as pir garage is now.

    I suspect we will rent storage for his giant ugly pieces of Furniture I will not allow into my Hermann house space. I know, stupid, yeah. But at this point in my life I am all aboit peace of mind. And storage space is chwap for that.

  3. #3
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    The challenge, dear IL, is that you are trying to declutter in your thinking for two people which has its own problems but I relate only too well.

    When DH passed on and I sold the farm I had to declutter three workshops full of stuff. I swear he had the first electric drills that he ever owned, (great big heavy clunky things) and all of a lifetime of accumulating the upgrades as needed including wonderful collection of antique tools that he loved. We did talk periodically about reducing the volume of stuff and he would agree that it should be done 'one day'. I got to do it when I moved. One can only plan, even mentally, if both parties are on the same wavelength; otherwise, it is stressful. I was guilty of accumulating stuff as well that made no sense to him but I am using it up now or decluttering. It is hard.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    I have dealt with so many elders in my life who did not think they would ever get old, did not plan for it...that I am always thinking about it. I think the condo and Hermann house are a good near future plan. If I understand, you have a large Victorian home and several small cottages in the city. The upkeep on those will continue to bug you especially as you get older. You can have fun with the Hermann house now and have a small place in the city available for now/later. But I don't know how attached emotionally you are to the city houses. I had a lot of silver and china "crap" when we sold in TX and what I couldn't sell on my own, I gave to my estate sale neighbor. So easy - he sent me a nice check a month later. I took some photos of the things I was hesitant to get rid of and stumbled onto them yesterday. Haven't missed any of it so trashed the photos.

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    On the husband side, there is hope. About a month ago, DH got a bug in his butt and said he wanted to sell some of his old camera collection that we carted up here. And so he did and bought himself one really nice one to replace about twenty old cameras. Now if he'll get rid of all the new age books from the 90s that he couldn't part with, I will be impressed. You just have to make them think it is their idea

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I'm not much of a collector, but I still have a lot of stuff. I have done purges from time to time, so I have gotten rid of some. On the plus side, I don't have superfluous clothes other than a handful of holiday sweaters and a couple of dresses. On the negative side, I still have too much entertaining stuff. eg different types of glasses for different beverages. Do I use them all? No. I wind up using the same stemless glasses for almost everything. I don't have a whole lot of any one thing, but I have lots of different things (weights, linens, travel gadgets, vases). I know I will have to get rid of these items at some point (likely when I downsize to an even smaller house). I am aware of what I have, and that at some point it will be "too much". Hubby is a mild hoarder and has never thrown away a piece of hardware or wood. He doesn't go through stuff like I do, but he does keep it to his office and half of the basement that isn't finished.

    I'd love to get rid of some old antique pieces that were me at one time, but no longer. I was able to unload a Hoosier cabinet to my sister, but no one wants brown furniture anymore.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    On the husband side, there is hope. About a month ago, DH got a bug in his butt and said he wanted to sell some of his old camera collection that we carted up here. And so he did and bought himself one really nice one to replace about twenty old cameras. Now if he'll get rid of all the new age books from the 90s that he couldn't part with, I will be impressed. You just have to make them think it is their idea
    A DH camera collection? Check (he bought a couple of old Brownie cameras foe nostalgia sake. And then his old wonky 35 mm camera with a bent piece. Ugh.

    A DH collection of new age books? Check. We have all of the Foxfire books, never cracked in 30 years, he will never get rid of them. It was funny that when we looked at the Jermann house first time, the man of the house was reading a Foxfire book.

  8. #8
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    ...

    I'd love to get rid of some old antique pieces that were me at one time, but no longer. I was able to unload a Hoosier cabinet to my sister, but no one wants brown furniture anymore.
    We called the local antique dealer in Hermann to come and get an large walnut
    victorian style cabinet . He wants it and will get it one of these days. Free to him.

    My gorgeous walnut secretary here at home is too tall for Hermann, it need 11.5’ ceilings, and it breaks my heart to think I will have to get rid of it. Wanh. Fortunately, I have a smaller version (walnut, Victorian) that I also love and I always knew it would go with me to my final home, it is short.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I love the title of this thread.

    Yes, I think about all the crap now, too, especially since we are now hellbent on selling the NJ house. That means downsizing a 2100 square foot home PLUS a two car garage that can't fit any cars because the garage is filled with kids' old stuff, Christmas stuff, MIL stuff, gardening stuff, a wallful of DH's old VHS tapes from when he was a working TV/video producer, and TOOLS!! I totally relate to the guy-tool hoard. Why someone needs triplicates of the same tool I'll never know.

    I lie in bed at night and examine a room in my mind's eye and ask myself, how much is it going to hurt to let this go? Most of the stuff I have resigned to letting go, but there are several pieces that both DH and I are struggling with.

    So for some things we've come up with a plan. DD had little plastic Japanese miso soup bowls on her Christmas list. The bell went off in our heads! We have 6 hand-thrown Japanese-style soup bowls that we commissioned from a monk in a Vermont monastery. We have used them ZERO times, because we're afraid to break them, and also because the Japanese style does not match our decor AT ALL. It was a case of being "a good thought at the time."

    So we said, "let's give them to the kids for Christmas!"

    DH, in his customarily dramatic way, made a big deal out of presenting this gift to the kids--telling them how dear Brother Augustine made them just for us, and they've been one of our favorite possessions, but we have to move on with our lives, finishing with flair and even a wee tear in his eye--"So here, B___, we hope you love them as much as we have."

    "So, you mean," she said (cutting to the chase as she always does), "You're giving us the crap you don't want."

    I would love love love for my kids to go to the little house in VT when the remaining half of DH and I dies and spend one afternoon sorting through crap and then be done with it all.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  10. #10
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    I sold or donated all my antique furniture and glassware that I no longer wanted a few years ago. I don’t count items but car or truck loads. We have even downsides a lot of DH crap.

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