The ups and downs of downsizing

Please excuse me if you see wet spots on today’s column; I am truly afraid my tears are of such strength that they can transcend all realistic barriers and carry themselves over to this printed page. In a word: Downsizing is “h-e-twosticks,” as my friends and I used to say in our mutual childhoods, when cussing was totally disallowed and soap liberally administered to the offending mouth when overheard by parental overlords and ladies of the day. 

Following what I truly feared might be a potential fire hazard, I had a total house inspection by a trusted company that has done all my necessary plumbing and other repairs for 40-some years. Two men came and went over everything with the proverbial “fine-tooth comb.” No fire hazards, thank the Good Lord! But they did identify about $7K worth of things that aren’t really essential, but would update the house I will soon be wanting to sell. I would rather take that money off the selling price (of course with full disclosure to any prospective buyer) to avoid having even more work to do during this downer of a downsizing, which I’m now vigorously working at myself.

Yes, I hear you ask, and the answer is, I do have some help. But maybe it’s not the right kind. A relative who knows the house and its contents has recommended what should move with me and what is best left behind. A friend who knows my “style” choices, such as they are, has helped me go through closets and purge years’ (maybe even a few decades’!) worth of clothes destined not ever be to worn again by me. Every institution from our Jewish Family Resale Shop to Goodwill Industries has benefited. And still: A mountain of “stuff” remains to be evaluated for future possibilities, then distributed accordingly. Looking around today, I doubt there is enough help available in all of the TJP’s circulation area to help me!

Also, as I write this, it was only yesterday that I personally called on a woman who runs a consignment shop — a very nice one, I assure you! — and also does estate sales. When I told her what I’d already done with the good help of those already available, she was not happy: Clearly (well, at least clear to her!) I should have called her first and let her handle everything! Today, after I’m done writing this, I will call a friend who had an estate sale following the fairly recent passing of his own mother; I know how dissatisfied he was, but not why. I will make the call although, frankly, I think I can already anticipate his answers. I resonate, also today, to the name of a novel I first read more than 20 years ago: “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.”

Well — I must say that unburdening myself to all of you who are reading this has been somewhat of a relief for me. Sometimes it really helps to share your problems with others; this may not actually help the sharer, but it may help those others, who will then perhaps be able to see their own current problems shrink in comparison. I do hope I’ve been able to accomplish that for at least a few of you.

And so, now that all this has been said, I return to the battle at hand. My first target: writing checks for bills due to be paid. A gift I never anticipated: The two men who came to help me today did their welcome work without charging me anything! 

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