Downsizing Solutions (Part 3)

Using the Keep, Donate, Throw-out method, we continued with our purge on the second floor and basement.  Thank goodness we do not have a walk up attic or a garage filled to the brim.   A few touch-ups here and there, some carpet replacement and we’re ready to show prospective buyers. Our downsizing end seemed in sight!

That’s not to say that we did not “cheat” a bit!  We were overwhelmed with what we had stored in the basement – paint cans, tools, Christmas decorations, old yearbooks, chemicals and applications for the yard, odds and ends of all kinds.  There’s no easy way to tackle this other than taking small bites and numerous climbs up and down the stairs!  This internet article had some good tips that I followed:

We enlisted help with tackling our basement and paid a couple of neighborhood teens to help us.  Our biggest challenge, and it still is to this day, is the hundreds of boxed up photographs.  These photographs, half of which I inherited from cleaning out my parents’ house, have not been catalogued or put into albums.  What’s more, many of the old photos do not have names or dates on them, so I haven’t a clue into whose face I am peering.   It takes an incredible amount of time to organize these photos.  So, this is where I cut corners!  I left them in the boxes to go through at a later date.  If I wait long enough, perhaps someone – one of my children, perhaps – will take an interest in our ancestry and do the leg work for me.  In the meantime, I’ll be sure to save the following article:

Additional Resources

Another article that I stumbled upon addressed what children go through when it’s time to clean out the family homestead.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I think you will too.  “What to Do With Mother’s Stuff (from a New York Times blog).  I wanted to be ruthless and get rid of everything except the pieces family members wanted. The rule I’d been taught by Joan Didion, whom I’ve known for more than 30 years, is that at times like this, you should touch an object only once. Make a decision and move on.

Flying home, I resolved that as soon as I had time, I’d go through all my rooms and shed, shed, shed. Because someday my kids will be going through my boxes of notebooks, fishing through my stacks of purple shirts, Indian jewelry and decaying snorkeling gear, throwing most everything out. They’ll surely laugh. “I can’t believe she bought this. What was she thinking?”



Although, God-willing, we have a few decades left to live, I’ve saved my children a huge headache when it comes time for them to go through our things.  I’ve declared war against accumulating any more unnecessary possessions, and aim to purge on a regular basis. Actually, I believe this will be a money saving endeavor – no one likes to sort and purge.  I’m saying goodbye to impulse buys and keeping my surroundings simple.


For more articles by Virginia Tortorici, click here.

« View all posts