The task of downsizing goes on.
A couple of months ago I wrote about the pain of deciding what cookbooks I could part with, eighteen cartons of fiction, non-fiction and the cookbooks were sent off to the library and other book depositories. There were lots of other things that had to go so that we could live comfortably in our charming little house. I’ve been able to give much of my furniture away to family members. A carload of assorted things (clothes, dishes, bedding) went to Goodwill, I’ve given things away on Freecycle, I’ve sold things on Craig’s list, and taken a box of treasures to the Granny’s Attic feature of the Ipswich Museum’s holiday celebration.
Parting with my books was probably the most difficult, although I also kept the ones that meant the most to me. I’m now in the process of trying to organize my office space. Lots of papers aren’t needed any longer they’re already stored on the computer.
I finally decided to part with the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition. I loved that dictionary but must confess that I’ve not looked at it for years, the internet is so much faster and gives me even more choices. Also going is the comprehensive French dictionary that I used to decifer difficult passages. Translate.google.com is so easy to use that the dictionary is passé. I’m not ready yet to part with Roget’s Thesaurus or The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations although everything in them can undoubtedly be found online. I’ll also keep Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. I still look up where the quotation marks go in a sentence and when a colon or semi-colon is used.
Much of our shelf space is taken up with photo albums. One for each year since 1990, and now, working backwards, one for each year back to 1975. I’ve still got the photos from 1975 to 1955 to put into albums. There are another thirty or so of trips that I’ve recorded, along with journals about the trips. These are the life history that I won’t part with although after I’m gone, I don’t know if anyone else will think they’re worth a nod.
It is actually rewarding every time I carry another load of books and papers to the recycle bin. Living in a small space has the advantage of making one take careful assessment of what is important. I have a storage tub filled with odd pieces of china that belonged to one of my grandmothers and some baby clothes that I wore. I have the doll that was my mother’s, passed on to me on my tenth birthday as well as every other doll I ever owned. I don’t see or think about these things from year to year but I’ll never be able to let them go. That task will fall to my children.
For now, my office is looking neater and the bookshelves have some space. There’s some room for a book or two that I find I can’t live without when I wander through Jabberwocky Book Store.