Purging In Order To Down-Size

As someone who is really hoping to relocate in the not too distant future, I've already begun walking through rooms physically and mentally to ask myself what I can and can't bear to part with. 

If you're moving to smaller digs, this is something you must do. It may seem painful, but it's best to look at it in a positive manner and just get it done. 

There are some things I'm really partial to. One is my red cupboard. You know me and red! I would probably take one of my dining tables and not both. I will probably sell the black sideboard and black shelves. 

I like them a lot, but in the big scheme of things, I look at what I don't like about things so I can make the decision easier. The fact is, black furniture shows dust really bad, and that drives me nuts.

I would probably try to find a place with a stove and fridge, so I wouldn't have to move those two big pieces. I am not sure about the kitchen coffee bar. Because I'm really attached to the potting bench one in the dining room. 

I would really pare down my dishes and such. I do not need all those dishes. I need to seriously scale down. I thought I did all this when I left Texas, but now I must be more discerning than I thought I was being then. I would take less than half of what I have.

Though dishes are nice to have, there's no reason to keep hauling them around for one person. I simply don't need them. 

Now to the living room. I would keep my indoor/outdoor wicker chairs. Because they can always go outdoors if need be. You have to look at things in a practical fashion. 

The couch I'm not sure about. And I would sell this big heavy recliner I'm now sitting in. I would just get another chair whenever I could.

The dogs have a terrible time jumping up into it, and I'm afraid they'll get hurt. Plus, it's very heavy. Remember you have to pay someone to move you unless you have family that would offer.

I'm not sure about the blue secretary. Would depend on how much room I had. I so love my red bench, round red side table, and red plant stand. They were bought from an antique mall in Tyler, and made by the same individual. Thus the color shade of red is all the same. 

I've always loved my sewing machine tables. Plus they're on wheels, and you can take them into any room for about any use. So I have two of those, and they would probably go with me. 

The set of brown bookcases in the living room. Those I would take. It would have to be them or the black ones, and the brown ones have three pieces. Two tall ones and one short one in between. I will not part with all my books!

This oak coffee table I bought at a garage sale for $35 is very dear to me. I would surely hope to keep it.

Speaking of books, I would have to go through and purge. I have a lot of books sent to me as galleys from a publishing company that I haven't gotten around to reading, so I want those. And of course most of my decorating and gardening books. Reference books are always important. 

Not getting rid of these, my favorite poets!
The bedroom. I would probably take my white bed and white dresser. It took me over two years to find a dresser. And though it's just a rather cheap one from Wayfair, it gets the job done. 

The black bookcase with my bedroom TV on it would probably go. And the red sideboard I would probably take, since I'd likely be leaving the black one that is bigger.

Now to the last room, the office/craft room. I probably would not take the large black desk. Not sure on that one. I just need a surface for my desk top computer and printer. But I might use the longest sewing machine table, which is in that room now.

Actually I would probably not take most of what is in there. I have to do some serious purging of things I just keep moving around. I have three sewing machines, and I haven't been able to sew with them due to my ankle. 

Two are featherweights, a black one and a white one. The other is kind of dear to me because it belonged to a friend that is now gone. 

Speaking of sewing, I need to scale my fabric way down again. As well as my craft products. 

You have to thing of such things as towels. How many towels do you need? If it's just one person and two dogs, I probably need about six towels. I have quite a few dish towels. I would scale those down too. 

How many sets of sheets do you need? Depends on how many people in your family. I figure I need about three sets and that's it. I do have some pillow cases I'm fond of I have found on eBay over the years, so I would have to deep think that one. 

My collections and decorative pretties. I am very partial to my white pitchers, so most of those would go. Things get broken, so you really need to think hard about moving breakable items. 

I love my little collection of wash boards, so those would probably go. 

I would probably sell most of my Jim Shore collection, and just keep a couple of special pieces. 

My plants clean the air. So the ones that are still healthy and looking good would go with me if at all possible. 

I would have to get out all my many lamps and pillows and make myself give at least half away. I think... Don't quote me on that one!

On my washer and dryer it would depend on what I had where I was going. 

What would I do with the things I'm not taking? Probably have an indoor sale. I'm not dragging all this stuff out of here. Then they could do the moving.

It all depends on the room you're going to be having on what you absolutely must part with. But I didn't have a bad ankle when I moved here, so I would have to be even more practical. I sold a lot of things before I moved. But I would have to sell even more. 

In terms of the outdoor chairs, etc., again all depends on what kind of space I would have. 

You have to take your holiday decorations into consideration too. I would probably pare a lot of that down. By about half.

When you look at all your little pretties, ask yourself how tired you are of dusting them. I have tea cups and saucers that are indeed pretty, but I don't need them. Same with egg cups. 

Ask yourself if you're over collecting some things. And that makes the decision easier. Our tastes change over time.

My quilts I've made: always going with me.

Really think about what you need and what you'll have room for. Big pieces are the hardest to move. So give that a lot of thought. 

I remember it took me weeks to pack boxes of things, and I had a neighbor helping me much of the time. Thanks Liane! But I don't want to even think about that many boxes next time around. It was exhausting.

It all comes down to who is going to move you and how much it is going to cost. If that isn't a problem for you, then take all you want. 

We become attached to things. But remember, they are just things. They aren't my precious pupsters. 

(There's much less of her fur now!)

Sweet, sweet Charlie Ross
And last but not least, bloggers and readers helped me plant a garden here. If it is in manageable weather, I would be plucking out much of those plants that are dear to me. 

And they're dear to me because of who gave them to me. A really selfless generous thing on the part of so many people who knew how much a garden meant to me.

These plants came to my door step via Fed Ex, etc. in big boxes wrapped in wet newspaper and with not much dirt on them. They are perennials.

So I would do the same. I would shake off much of the dirt and wrap them. I think every single outdoor plant that was sent to me made it through the winters of 2011, 2012, and 2013. And now 2014. So they're hardy. 

Do you have any other suggestions to add to this long list of things to do?

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  1. Wow! Just wishing you the best! I'm on the East coast so can't offer to help you but can send my best wishes.

  2. You mentioned a lot of things that I have thought of, we downsized several years ago and then we upsized and will upsize again in a few months. It feels so good to get rid of stuff that has been sitting in boxes for no good reason. That is what we had to get rid of and I let some of my dishes go. Speaking of dishes, I love your polka-dotted ones in the first few photos, those are hard to find where I live.
    Have a good day!

  3. We downsized not too long ago from a large home to a small home. I offered my sisters certain pieces of furniture, and they wanted most of what I offered; it wasn't as difficult as parting forever. Even though I have a small home now, there is still the danger of accumulating; vintage stores and used books are our weaknesses here.

    I love your blue secretary and red bedroom piece and your coffee bar is adorable!!! It's good that you are surveying it slowly, because as you say a plan is really necessary.

  4. Brenda you are one brave gal. I'm proud of you. It will be very interesting to see where you go and how you decorate your next home. I'm making chicken and rice soup tonight and I sure wish I could send some your way. Hugs....

  5. I found that I can part with 'stuff' if I felt my things were going to a good home. I recently became a volunteer with our local hospice thrift store and--WOW--we are the benefactors of such great donations! 100% of all proceeds directly benefit patient care and people are terrifically generous! In fact, my duties are to list some of our merchandise on eBay. It is so gratifying to see 'stuff' recycled to benefit so many..........

  6. It's so hard to know what you'll need in a new space! I thought I downsized when we moved almost a decade ago, but I've still got way too much stuff. I'm finally to the point where I'm getting rid of "extra" furniture that's been cluttering up the garage and basement "just in case" my girls would like them. I gave my little farm sewing table to one of our daughters and bought a heavy duty folding banquet table for crafting. It folds in half, so it takes very little space. You can always have a second sale when you move into your next home.

  7. With regards to your garden plants, the reason they arrive free of dirt is usually due to agricultural regulations in certain states. (They don't want destructive bugs or soil contaminants sneaking in) You probably don't need to be as careful, though it certainly wouldn't hurt. I pot mine up, though, because it's easier to care for them at the new location. You can nurse them along indefinitely in pots, as opposed to having to plant or pot them up immediately when you arrive and will be so busy with other things.

    Best of luck with your purge....I think you'll find most of it easier than you think! You seem to be very well organized about it already! I wish I was close enough to buy your desks and bookcases, but I'm several hours away in the Ozarks.

  8. Hi Brenda! Have I missed something? I've been super busy this past week and not visited as often as I'd like. I'll have to go back and read your other posts. I do hope you find the perfect place for you and your babies. It's kinda hard to pare down because I just love my things but I could do it if if meant being happier! You're an inspiration and I'm praying for you.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  9. Wish I lived close. I have found a friend in you, though we have never met . I would love to help you pack and move. It is so hard to let go of cherished treasures. Wishing you all the best. God Bless.

  10. I'm downsizing too Brenda, not because I'm moving but because I simply have too much stuff! My tastes have changed so much over the years but for some reason I'm still hanging on to things I bought 20 years + ago. Stuff in the garage, stuff in the attic and for what reason??? I'm not getting any younger and I don't want my kids to have to go through all that stuff when I kick that bucket. I'm also selling things I no longer love to afford to buy the things I want now. Basically I just want to live more simply and with things I really love, that's what it boils down to.

  11. I sometimes go through this exercise just for fun -- what things would I absolutely never part with? I know it would be different if I were doing it for real. I would just say don't part with anything you are not sure of until you know what your new space will be like. My friend recently "downsized" to at place that was half the cost, but was much larger! You never know!

  12. It's amazing how much "stuff" we really have when we start going through everything, isn't it? It sounds pretty overwhelming to start thinking of what to sell, what to keep, thinking about packing again...none of these are easy decisions.

  13. When you have the time and money if sewing is still important to you think about a machine that is push button. Mine I can either use the button or a pedal. After I got used to the button that's all I use and I love it.

  14. Brenda, I wish I had an easy answer for you. I lost my husband 7 years ago and hung onto our home for as long as I possibly could. Last year I lost that too. I moved from a 3,000 sq ft house to a 1,000 sq ft house. I sold stuff on craigslist, carted carloads of things to the local teen challenge thrift store, gave away so many things on freecycle.org and in the end I had a huge moving van come to the house from teen challenge to pick up a load of my furniture, glassware, household goods, and even keepsakes. I thought, "at last, I will fit into that small house". NOT. After almost one year I'm still maneuvering around boxes and plastic bins and can't ever find enough space to store the things I do use on a daily basis. The trunk of my car is always full of one more load to donate. I wish I could help you decide, but instead I'm looking to you for support to purge even more. Good luck, wherever you go. I admire your determination.

  15. I too sometimes sit in the house and wonder what I'd take if I downsized, which I do plan on in the future. I think this will be an easier move for you as the one when you left Texas was a very difficult one. You have a beautiful perspective on life and it sounds as if you've already sorted out much of the house for another venture for you and the pupsters. Very cute picture of Abi and Charlie! Wish I was there to help, as I really enjoy packing the kitchen, weird I know!

  16. WOW! Is this really happening and so soon? Brenda, only YOU know what makes the grade, what things will make the cut and accompany you to your next little haven. When we moved into our home, here in the hills, from our apartment in the city, I had about 22 years worth of 'collectibles', and the competition of what made 'Poppy's List', (like the coveted 'Dean's List'), was fierce! The best piece of advice I would give you, in addition to your already well thought out terms, is think twice about sentimental objects that may not seem rational with regards to size, weight, (current) colour, or condition, as these are more than just objects, but rather, 'companions' that conjure up feelings of happiness, gratitude, peace and yes, even pain, (e.g., reminding you of a lost friend/family member who was dear to your heart), the last, in itself is part of one's history, too. Case in point: I had packed many of my textbooks from my university days, and when my daughter and husband spotted the boxes, they were shocked to think that I could part with these VERY heavy psychology/anthropology/sociology/philosophy textbooks, as they know how much they had a hand in molding me into the person I am today. Needless to say, I felt somewhat ashamed, letting things like space and weight take precedence over the meaning and history in my journey to my individuality and character.

    I know you'll make wise choices, when the day arrives.


  17. I would think about keeping pieces of furniture that would serve more than one purpose.. Charlie and Abi NEED your sofa and it could be a second bed for you. Your coffee/planting station is nice and came with the house you're in now. Memories ? You'll need something to hold all of your books, house plants and dishes that you decide to keep.
    How about Judy ?
    You're undertaking a big decision and move.. Think hard and long about what you're doing. Be careful about who you let in you house if you decide on an "in house sale".
    Just know that I will always wish the best for you no matter where you are.
    Charlotte in Virginia

  18. Not sure I can help out with any moving suggestions, I am a rat pack and hate to get rid of anything! I do however think you are on the right path, planning what you can sell and what to keep...sometimes it's about the thinking, planning and your options.

  19. Have someone....Judy and husband.....with you if you have an indoor sale. I am really looking forward to the time when I can move, too. As a lot of my things were stolen, I have already pared down some. I'm with you, my friend, even if it is fron afar. xo Laura

  20. I have not read all the comments so this may have been suggested.
    Start at the other end.
    "This I must have."
    Then add on according to circumstances. :)

  21. I am moving and need to rid myself of things that I do not need....but I love everything! It is so hard to scale down..sending best wishes to you, Sharron

  22. Hi Brenda. You have some lovely items so I'm sure it's challenging to make such decisions. As I read through your ponderings, I found myself hung up on your secretary. I was thinking, "That light blue is such a nice contrast to the red things." But, then I realized it's the color of the secretary that's grabbing me, not the secretary itself. So, if you don't have room for it, but you really like the color, you could always paint something else that color when you get to your new location.

    Considering what you can find or create when you get to the new location is a big part of the equation. When we moved a few months ago, when we weren't sure about taking some item, we asked ourselves if we could easily and inexpensively replace it after we moved. If we thought we could, then we left that item behind. For instance, we decided not to take our living room sofa, because we found it on craigslist for just $75, and we decided we could find a similar item after we moved. (Instead, we decided to put our guest room daybed in the new living room, and didn't even have to buy another sofa, so that decision worked out well.)

    We did blow it on a couple of items. We moved two big, heavy, ugly dressers, thinking we needed them because they held a lot of stuff. But, after we got to the new location, we couldn't face moving them up to the second-floor bedrooms. We left them on the U-Haul truck and drove them to a charity store and donated them! We later found one lightweight, pretty dresser on craigslist, and also put some plastic shelving into a closet to hold things, and we're much happier with this storage solution. We just wish we could have admitted how much we didn't like the dressers before we moved them to another state!

  23. Wow, Brenda, I have been a semi retired blogger haha but I am surprised to learn you are moving...any idea where? Will you still be close to Judy and John? Perhaps you should see where you are going first and what will fit. I gave things away prematurely when I downsized and moved. Wishing you the best always....xo

  24. I could have written this post (and probably will). Not ten minutes ago I looked at some vases on the mantel and thought 'these can go'. Seems we are experiencing similar thought processes. I've read the comments and you've gotten some great suggestions...some of which I'm going to borrow, most importantly Poppy's suggestion. Yes, things are inanimate objects, but if they evoke certain feelings, even if those feelings are somewhat sad, they deserve to be in your life.

    On a more practical note, right now I'm staring at an armoire that would take an army to move, and I don't love it. It houses a tv and some books, photos, etc. I'm thinking it would be cheaper to buy a second hand table to take it's place than to move it yet again. Like you, I suppose it would help if we knew where we are going. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes, doesn't it?

  25. It took us 9 years to downsize. From a large home, to a rental condo, to a purchased condo, to my sister's garage, to my brother's basement, to our tiny cottage... 9 years! With every move, we let more go. But now I feel that we have everything we need along with everything I absolutely couldn't part with. We actually designed the cottage around the larger pieces of furniture to make sure they'd fit.
    It's not an easy task, but it does feel very freeing to let so much stuff go and surround yourself with what you love.

  26. It's going to be painful to part with some of your things, I really love the style you have. I hope you have a garage sale or something, you can really make a pretty penny on all of that. I have been purging books. All I want to keep are the reference/decorating/gardening books. And some dishes have to go, just random dishes that I've picked up because I thought they were pretty. Sometimes we can be just plain silly!


  27. Why don't you just purge some and stay in your rental house? Less to dust and less to be moving around so much. I have noticed that you get restless and redo some rooms by moving things and it gives you satisfaction and a peaceful feeling and with the size house you are living in now, you could still do that. What is the problem here? Is it the rent amount? Have your ex's court-ordered payments stopped? Do you need to find a job? Or, do you just want to move away and not tell your family where you have moved to? Sit down and think of solutions to the real problem or problems you are facing. Get your friend, Judy, to brainstorm with you on solutions. There may be another way so that you won't have to move.....

  28. I agree with Poppy, Brenda. If it really matters to you, you'll find a place for it. Sometimes emotional attachments are more important than practicality. I do hope you'll be able to keep your coffee bar, but if you don't, you'll come up with another great idea.

  29. Love this posting...just what I am doing...going to smaller digs...much smaller...but I am so excited....sorting and more sorting just glad I have some time to work on it...I am not organized like you are....this post is a keeper for me....have read it a couple times already....thanks and hugs Brenda...you are the BEST.

  30. I know you've already downsized a lot so it wouldn't be nearly as hard this next time. I like the idea of keeping the things you love and what you use all the time. It's nice to work on it a little at a time though and get rid of things ahead of time. You're always planning and thinking! I admire you my friend! Sweet hugs!

  31. I'd love to come to your sale (not that I need anything - I have things to get rid of too)! I started downsizing stuff last summer and I continue to. We took a car load of stuff to Goodwill on Saturday and I have a stack of books I'm going to list on Amazon. We plan on having several garage sales before we list our house. I hate garage sales (having them). We normally just donate our stuff but moving is expensive so we're biting the bullet to offset some of our expenses. I've priced moving companies and it's just crazy but we are past the age of trying to do it all ourselves!

  32. I wish we could all come and help! But we can't, so I guess we will all give you advice. What I want you to do is to make very sure you are going where YOU want to go this time. I have been through what you have, and I know that it is very hard to let certain things go. But you know what? There is very little that I actually missed. I would say from my own experience that I would keep basic things that would cost the most to replace like your sofa and washer and dryer and maybe even your other appliances. You can always get out and replace bric-a-brac if feel you need some. Books -- I am like you -- I hate like the devil to part with any, but I do thin the herd every now and then, and I actually haven't missed them.

    I hope you find what you are looking for -- peace, contentment, a sense of home.


  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  34. (Apologies, my previous comment leads to my old blog prior to a transfer--hopefully, you can delete that for me, please? Didn't want to confuse you if you clicked on that. :)) I'm such a fan of your blog and writing. I realized this morning that I've never commented, but this post got me typing. :) I've been purging left and right since the first week of January. We aren't headed toward a move, but I sure have such an urge to downsize the amount of "stuff" we have. I'm terribly sentimental so some days I just can't force myself to get rid of much, but this weekend I went in the garage and tossed, donated, tossed some more. Ahhhh. I can't wait to follow you on your adventures this new year...I wish you the most blessed, beautiful year, Brenda.

  35. It gets easier to downsize once you get started I found. I am ready to let go of even more stuff. Keeping what is important and what makes me happy, but always remembering 'it's just stuff'!! So glad you are already thinking about this!


  36. I knew you have been talking about moving back to somewhere close to where you lived in Texas before, but didn't know you had decided! Have you definitely decided to move back to that place you loved so much? Maybe I missed that post, but I read all of them! Purging our "stuff" is so hard. We moved a little over a year ago and had a moving sale where we got rid of a ton of stuff. some was very hard to part with. We boxed things very carefully and marked what was to be sold, and what was to be taken with us. Somehow, one box of some of my most precious Christmas decorations (of my mom's and my son who has passed) got picked up by the movers having the sale. I didn't realize it until the lady sent me an email with a picture of everything all set up for the sale. (The sale was held after we had moved so I couldn't go there and do a walk-through). To my great sadness, I saw some of those things that I cherish, sitting there on the table. I called her right away but sadly, they had already sold.

    That was a bad experience for me. Don't think I'll ever have someone else do a sale for me again. I was in a frenzy to just get rid of stuff as we were on a timeline, but now, I've learned a lesson to take my time and be careful with what I part with..... my heart still hurts when I think of that little plastic Santa that my mom used to set out, and the little nativity scene that my son loved.... both gone forever.

    When we had that sale, I was sure we had gotten rid of so much stuff! But when we moved into our new rental, which is probably even bigger than the place we left, we are still stuffed to the gills and the garage is floor to ceiling tubs! Our next move will absolutely be a downsize... we HAVE to downsize for financial reasons, so I, like you Brenda, will have to walk through my house (once again) and decide (tearfully sometimes) what I can bare to part with. Right now, I love everything I have! Good luck with your move, and I hope you find that place, or get back to that place that tumbles through your memories and brings you such pleasure.

  37. Hi Brenda, Moving is never easy and deciding what to keep and what to let go, is a challenge. It sounds like you have covered all the bases and in your mind have things pretty well planned. I have moved so many times and each move was big and across the country which meant a lot of letting go. Keeping you in my prayers for all to go smoothly.
    Have a great week, Hugs

  38. I made the mistake of not getting rid of stuff I didn't need when we moved 7 years ago. We brought everything with us. BIG MISTAKE!!! It's 7 years later an d boxes are still in basement + New purchases I've made since. UGH AND DOUBLE UGH!!! Last year I donated a few things, but hardly made a dent.

  39. I made the mistake of not getting rid of stuff I didn't need when we moved 7 years ago. We brought everything with us. BIG MISTAKE!!! It's 7 years later an d boxes are still in basement + New purchases I've made since. UGH AND DOUBLE UGH!!! Last year I donated a few things, but hardly made a dent.

  40. Having been through this recently, I purged quite a bit before I left. As it turned out, there were things I wish I had not given away but at the time I was so concerned about the weight and the cost of moving over 1800 miles. Yet there are some things I don't miss at all. Given that you are not on a schedule, I would start a couple of boxes every week and deposit those items you think you won't miss. Give it a day or two and if you still don't care then donate it or have a little yard sale. Sometimes I think that just starting gives you the momentum you need. I wish we could find a place for you so that you have a goal.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  41. I love East Texas. I hope you are going there, where you are happiest. I downsized from 1600 sq foot house to 800 sq foot house. I cannot be happier in my tiny home...it is my little home that I rent, that I decorated...it is all me. Speaking of dishes, Lord have mercy did I have a collection of old pyrex bowls, not just four, not just ten....I hated to get rid of them, but who needs more than four big bowls when it was just going to be me and a little weiner dog? Dishes, I only have a set for four....got rid of alot of dishes. It was a little hard, but in the end...it cleaned my soul...really it did.

  42. Hi Brenda,

    About your sewing. I have been known to put my pedal on the table and use my elbow to push it and it works just fine for sewing. You just have to adjust a little so I really think you will be able to sew doing it this way. Good Luck.
    Hugs, Lynnie


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