It’s time. It’s past time. It’s so past time. The time to begin downsizing is any time, but the job can be greatly affected by the volume of stuff to be sorted, the age of the sorter, and motivation.
The New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2001, tells me the following:
downsize: v. make (something) smaller
In the modern day, the “something” in the parenthetical is popularly applied to corporations firing thousands of employees before moving to India, and to the inevitable task of getting rid of one’s own or a beloved relative’s stuff.
I’ve done some research
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Margareta Magnusson: An acquaintance told me about this one. Love the title, but a reviewer of the book described it as memoir, not checklist. Save for later.
House of Havoc, Marnie Jameson: Yes, I have the messy husband, but no children and I’m not in the market for the best type of high traffic flooring.
Sell, Keep or Toss, Harry L Rinker: We possess no antiques, valuables, or much of anything worth the hassle of hauling stuff around to appraisers.
It’s All Too Much, Peter Walsh: More self-help lingo about de-cluttering one’s mind as well as one’s basement. Where’s the checklist??!!
Not helpful. Not helpful.
During my Google searching, however, I came upon a blog, https://www.annieandre.com/reduce-book-collection-clutter/. The blogger’s page focused on downsizing one’s personal library – I’m talking about the paper book one, not the one stuffed into your Kindle or iPad – but the steps Annie shared could be applied to CDs, vinyl, books, dishes, and tools. We have overwhelming volumes of each. I have shared her steps below, with my own comments.
Step 1. Start early in the day.
This I heartily agree with. I am an early morning person, although not one to jump straight out of bed into running shoes. There’s coffee, email, the crossword, the morning movie. Yes, I do watch an entire movie almost every morning when I don’t have to schlep off to the day job. So, if starting by 10 am is OK, I’m good.
Step 2. Have sustenance on hand.
Food is available as my husband is the cook. He’s much happier cooking than cleaning.
Step 3. Clear out a large area on the floor.
Floor-space in our tiny house is a very small piece of real estate, occupied most of the time by two English mastiffs. The couch and dining table—with chairs–will have to do.
Step 4. Start making small book-[CD-LP-dish-tool (this last in the basement)] piles.
Absolutely necessary. I may not be a duster, but I am an organizer. Books and music by genre and author and tools by what I think my husband could keep (five pliers of the same size???). Here is where decisions of where the rejects should go are made. Books are hard to sell. Tools maybe less so, but then, there’s always GoodWill.
Annie mentions a critical preparatory element. SMALL BOXES. Moving several times with many books over the years, I learned that lesson the hard way. She also recommends giving time to items you’re not sure you want to keep. You will likely end up getting rid of them, too.
And here’s a last minute update. There IS a good book with the necessary checklist, also mentioned by the same acquaintance: Toss, Keep, Sell, (hmmm) Leah Ingram, which I just downloaded, is just the checklist-heavy book I desire. There’s a chart, too!