Is there poetry in downsizing?
We think there can be, given enough time and a sensitive approach to this process, which most of us go through not just once but several times during our lives.
In fact many writers have written quite sensitively and beautifully about downsizing. Last year the New York Times published a lovely blog series by Olivia Judson, in which she describes the process of going through the massive amount of accumulated “stuff” in her parents’ home after their death. Her writing about it is quite poetic, and so were many of the hundreds (thousands?) of comments from readers. And that’s just one example: along with the appendices in our e-book that help direct readers to information about how they can preserve, donate, sell, or otherwise get rid of “stuff,” we’ve provided one with links to other essays on downsizing, some of them also quite poetic.
“Rummage Sale,” a poem by Jennifer Maier, lightheartedly but sensitively evokes the poignancy and bittersweet quality of decluttering a home full of objects laden with memories. “Forgive me, Aunt Phyllis, for rejecting the cut-glass dishes…” it begins. You can read the rest of the poem here.
When we take the time to say goodbye to the things we’re getting rid of, and to remember the people who brought them into our lives, we’re saying goodbye to the past. But by the very act of savoring the connections they evoke, we’re also finding a way to “keep the memories, while getting rid of the stuff…” (our mantra!) And to keep the memories, at least, alive into the future.
Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor, writing coach, travel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.