Posted in family, Projects, retirement, rural life

A Long Rabbit Hole

So “it’s” been on my list since I retired 3 years ago. 3 years and it took us 3 evenings to accomplish the task. “It” and a few recent events have sent me down a rabbit hole inside my head so bear with me as I twist and turn.

The “it” above (as seen below) is our 1980 to 1985 slides. We got out the slide projector and the screen & ran them all through. The we reviewed which were worth keeping and which to toss. Then they got set aside and low and behold I couldn’t find the notebook with the list in it.

Once it turned up the slides moved to a slightly more prominent location. Then I saw an email that states the local photography place is having a 20% off digitization sale. So they move to sit in the kitchen island (which drives me nuts which is the whole point) with a specific deadline. Now they are thinned out and sitting by the back door for drop off tomorrow – just squeezing it in on the last day!

But then to the rabbit hole. I just finished reading “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Elizabeth Berg. It’s her first hand account of her elderly parents departure from their house. It’s frank, honest and full of pain, sorrow and joy. It made me think as did a post I read recently about downsizing photos. Add in a family death and my mother telling me to take the items from her home that are ear marked for me. Then the thinking gets so loud I am giving myself a headache.

Am I adding to the discard pile or I stockpiling visual memories? I’d put a lot of money on the fact that my other half won’t be in favour of disposing of the slide projector or screen. He’s a bit of a packrat and says “you never know when you will need it”. So did I just add to digital clutter by moving them over? Do I print them and add one a photo album to the pile or leave them in the computer?

Upstairs, in the creative attic space, I’ve got the Scotland England 2019 scrapbook in the “final” stages with a goal of that space being cleaned up by April 12th (guess I should admit this is also winter 3 on this item). But as I am working on it I wonder if it’s worth the time and energy. It will get looked at a few times and bring us joy but once we are gone will our kids and grandkids care that we hit 28 Scotch distilleries or spent time enjoying the scenery in Skye?

Does one think about each and every purchase with an end date in mind? I’m seriously hoping we have 20 more years in our big old rambling prairie four square but what if… Now I am not trying to be morbid but I also don’t want to burden our children with a lot of work. I already know that experiences are better than “things” but I love photos so feel that the scale tips in favour of actually printing them. But what about the old mirror I just removed from the dining room or the miscellaneous vases lying around?

I am certain the 40 days originally came from Lent but social media has appropriated the idea to do the declutter routine. I have never gotten into doing this on a set schedule. Is it a strange thing to be thinking about at 63?

A friend was recently diagnosed with glaucoma and feels she should move to a more central location now so that options aren’t as limited. She’s 63.

My dear cousin demonstrated grace under pressure recently. When she needed it she pulled out a binder that had all the info at her finger tips. She’s an inspiration on many levels and this is just another example.

Due to the above I’ve recently added a binder to the “to do” side. It’s for end of life so that everything that’s needed is in one spot. Which of course has got me thinking….

All these things and thoughts have put me in a quandry. I don’t feel ready to downsize but there is excess “stuff” in our life. At what point do I tackle this? One should live each day like it could be their last. So does that mean I should get all these items organized and decluttered and then sit back and enjoy life? Or do some and put some aside for say the winter of ’29 (random number that seems far away but isn’t)?

  • Picture To do list
    • Scrapbook trip album
    • Slides to digital
    • Slide photos to album
    • Grandchildren yearly photo books
  • Age related To do list
    • End of life binder
    • Declutter certain areas
    • Update wills (?)
    • What am I missing??

As I said it feels like a huge rabbit hole and not the internet kind. Any thoughts about decluttering? About downsizing stuff or your living arrangement? Any sage words of advice totally welcome except from the packrat that is!

Bernie

Author:

I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

24 thoughts on “A Long Rabbit Hole

  1. I remember decluttering when my dad died. It was a huge challenge but fortunately I love tool and he had a lot of tools. Now I have too many tools and neither of our kids are the sort to make use of them so what do I do. I’m convinced that we spend the first half of our anticipated life acquiring “things” and the second half trying to get rid of things. Sometimes I think it would be easier if our house burned down and we could start over. Of course I don’t condone either insurance fraud or arson. I’m just saying that stuff is a burden. Too much stuff can be too much of a burden. I must be getting old because in my younger days I dreamed of having more stuff. It’s the North American way.

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    1. We have the added bonus of living in an old house so people give us “old things”. I am decluttering but I have to do it slowly and sneakily as someone else is a bit of a pack rat! You are right though how it changes in our life time what stage we are at in the consumption of stuff. Thanks for reading and commenting. Bernie

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  2. Oh Gosh! I wish you luck. I think I’m in the same boat as Margaret – a keeper like my mother before me! I have boxes from my kids and my mother, and I try to deal with them a little at a time. I have been looking at a box of videos from my mom’s house, and am trying to figure out where to find a VCR to see which ones are important family videos and which ones are episodes of Murder She Wrote. I think if i found a VCR, I’d probably get distracted watching the shows (LOL). Good luck to you Bernie, and maybe try one little bit at a time.

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    1. Lillie, that’s what we are trying to do with our camcorder tapes. It’s a slow process and one we probably won’t finish for a while. BUT the slides are back from being digitized so that’s a plus! I do believe it is a process. Downsizing as we age and I don’t just mean house size but STUFF. So now I should go back and finish up the pantry. Thanks for reading and getting involved with the discussion. Bernie

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  3. No advice for decluttering here! I am a “keeper” as my Mother before me. I have some neat stuff!
    I have the room to keep it so will hang on to it for now. Having said that I just got rid of some paper and souvenir type stuff, don’t miss it.

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    1. I also have loads of room but there are definitely some items we should pre organize. Like the end of life binder and those sorts of things. I’d really like to get a handle on all the family pictures. But there are other things are indeed clutter so I will keep my hand in it here and there. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion. Bernie

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    1. Yes I noted you were also down it Pam. Renovations can make us examine every day items. We are adding wall paper to the dining room and I’ve decided the big heavy wood trimmed mirror is not returning. It wasn’t adding anything to the space so now more room for family pictures. Bernie PS I’m still thinking about my comment for your post from last week!

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  4. I regularly do the 40 bags in 40 days. One would think that it shouldn’t need to be done regularly! I too have been thinking about downsizing so my kids don’t throw everything in the garbage!
    I have finished my kids scrapbook #7 last week and it feels good to get that stuff off my list. I have to let them do with them whatever they will, my job is done…now onto 5 years of Huskie soccer!

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    1. Well hello there friend! Nice to see you join the discussion here. Oh gosh we should give up quilting and get these old scrapbooks done up hey! It’s hard to think about downsizing. I don’t feel that old but I also don’t want to be overwhelmed with stuff in 15 + years..or whenever it happens. Bernie

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  5. I think a binder with everything in it is good for anyone at any stage of life. A friend’s son just died suddenly (collapsed in the stands at a basketball game) and he was only 26. There are no guarantees in life. Hope for the best and plan for the worst. My mom preplanned and paid for her funeral right down to the songs and the sandwiches, and it was such a great gift for us in our time of grief – I started working on this about a year ago but need to follow through…
    Deb

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    1. Deb, I have given us a year to get our binder organized. The photos and albums and framing etc. Well this is winter 3 since I retired but I am sure I can give you a long list of why it’s taken so long 😂. Yes life comes with no guarantees. I’ve seen 3 year olds die of cancer and trauma knows now age limit so to paraphrase what Ally Bean’s comment was “find the right stuff to focus on” and don’t take time up on the wrong stuff. My mom has given out about 5 funeral lists for songs and readings and I wonder if they are all the same? Thanks for adding to the discussion, which kind of started from your post and some IRL events. Now I should go work on that Scotland photo album! Bernie

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  6. I long ago digitized my “important” analogue photos, but still have not had the heart to throw the albums out. I am not sure when the mood will strike, but, all my old VHS movie copies, CDs, DVDs, movie projector, movie screen, movie transfer unit etc. no longer reside in my house (trashed). Recently, I had a look back at our major trips from the 80s and realized my digitalized photos were a bit thin, so added some. I think the pandemic has added to my stagnation and I just want to take a step to start clearing the clutter….just not yet. I do have a word document I keep in my SDB that is headed, In Case of My Death. It lists all the details I will need my beloved or my executor to know to access my digital world. Did you know that lawyers now suggest adding wording to a will dealing with your digital files? It just gets more and more complicated as I get less and less motivated. Some day…….. Allan

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    1. Allan, you’ve brought up some really good points. I did not know that about the digital files. You certainly have a start on the “binder” and the trash piles. As to the photos it is hard to find the sweet spot for sure. I have given ourselves a year to get the end of life binder sorted out. Thanks for adding to the discussion. Take care and hopefully spring will return your motivation to you. Bernie

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  7. “Life is too short for you to be the caretaker of the wrong details.” Alexandra Stoddard, an interior designer who was popular years ago, said that in reference to downsizing her home. I try to remember that as I go through all the stuff, especially the family photos. It kind of keeps me focused.

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    1. Ah Ally — we just need to figure out what which pile is the wrong details! I certainly don’t think photos are the wrong pile. As I replied to someone else they are the trail of our lives. There is definitely other stuff that could be pared down but I can’t do it as a 40 bags in 40 days. LOL — some of it has to go out at the crack of dawn when I leave for work so that the packrat doesn’t see it leave! Bernie

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  8. I have several friends working on paring down their photos so their kids aren’t stuck having to do so. I’m not quite sure why anyone’s kids would mind. They’ll either go through them with delight or chuck them out! On the other hand, with things you haven’t used forever, that’s fair game for giving away or tossing. One of our biggest challenges is what books can go and which ones can’t.

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    1. Jane, I guess if there are massive volumes of photos or books or “whatever” we do need to organize it somewhat. If we are capable. A friend, who’s husband was an author and a University Professor, ended up donating his entire collection to the University it was so vast. I guess it pays to be mindful of what is fair game and what isn’t. Thanks for reading and adding in to the discussion. Bernie

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  9. Bernie, I feel your pain. This seems to be the lament of our age group. Most of us have said farewell to parents and been faced with the mountain of evidence of a life left behind. Then we begin to question our own stockpiles.

    The isolation of the past two years has given me plenty of time to tackle some of my own ‘treasures’, and the various closets and cabinets in the house are definitely lighter because of it. The one thing I haven’t tackled yet are the photos … both ours and my parents. There is emotional energy in photos and I keep telling myself I’m not ready. I might never be, so you have my respect for taking that plunge. As Donna said before me, I wish I have wise words to offer you, but sadly I don’t.

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    1. Joanne, it’s always nice to hear from you. It’s deciding what is a “treasurer” and what can go that is the challenge. Photos, albums, etc definitely are the hardest item in the piles for sure. They are the record of our lives aren’t they. Thanks for the comment and for letting me know I am not alone in the challenges this section of our lives present. Take care. Bernie

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    1. Donna, I thought as somehow who has moved countries you might have a handle on clutter and clear. I haven’t moved often enough I think! It will be interesting to see what other’s say about the assorted topics I brought up. Bernie

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  10. There is such good food for thought here. It’s all pretty over whelming. Thanks for this post! Some thinking, planning and decluttering ahead I see. ❤️

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    1. Long time no comment here Miss B! Lovely to hear from you. As to the topic – it’s not time yet to think about moving for us but there are some steps I think we can make to declutter somewhat. But probably not with photos. Those are definitely on the joy side of the equation. Bernie

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