Is it Just Stuff?

I recently helped a friend move from their big farm house of 50 years to a considerably smaller, one-level ranch. It was a daunting task. Room after room filled with knick knacks, books, boxes and boxes of things. I'm sure you get the picture. As we were playing the game of what to keep and what to give away, I heard my friend say, more than once, "Is it just stuff?""Why do you keep asking that?" I finally asked her."Well, it's like this," she explained. "I have 50 years of memories here. I pick up things and even if they aren't photographs or letters from my family, they still spur a memory. I have to keep asking myself, 'Is this really important to me or is this just stuff?' It reminds me to keep my memories and lose the clutter. Otherwise, I would try to move this whole farm house into my new house."Her words really struck me and I became a bit more sensitive to the chore at hand. I listened to her chat about her memories while she discarded old birthday cards and clothing items that were obviously from another era. It wasn't easy for her. Just about everything meant something to her. Downsizing is tough. If you are even considering moving from your home to a community like Partridge Knoll or a condo in Florida, start downsizing a little at a time now. No matter what, when you move from a larger home to a smaller one, your room for storage is going to shrink. Working at it a little at a time gives you the time to reminisce while you declutter - and will help to alleviate the stress from trying to downsize quickly when you are ready to move. Advice for the family members? Try to be patient and mindful of just how many memories are made your home. Encourage your loved ones to donate to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, the local library, and other centers accepting donations. Giving to others may help soften the blow of having to give up possessions. Bottom line for all? Try to remember, memories are forever. Stuff is just stuff.