Last year I found myself walking into a room to get something, then forgetting what I wanted to get as soon as I got into the room. Oh, so you say that happens to everyone? It doesn’t happen to everyone all the time and it doesn’t necessarily happen all of a sudden. The reality that forgetfulness is setting in didn’t make me panic, but it did make me take note and make plans to take action. We’re already downsizing everyday, but now I make notes or recordings of what I want to do and when I want it done. When I think of something that can be dealt with “later”, I still write it down in the “later” column. Hub has been doing that for years and for all those years, I would laugh at him when he wrote the date, time and name of the store we just left, as well as what we bought. I don’t laugh anymore.
So far, we’ve been getting rid of stuff in stages. If I’m not sure whether or not to toss it or keep it, I put it on probation and wait until the next go-round, which will probably be next month. Once we downsized, categorized and organized, that forgetful business began to dissipate, probably because I have much less clutter on my brain.
Then one day recently while writing notes to myself, the news came on and this is what I saw.
It was an extraordinary amount of stuff on the sidewalk in New York. Most people may know the story by now, but bottom line: two older men, one blind and the other with a mental deficiency, perhaps dementia, perhaps not, were roommates. They had so much stuff and some of it may have been valuable. I not only sprung into action when I saw that, I bought a file cabinet on wheels and put the essentials inside. If fire breaks out, our important stuff, all in one place, gets wheeled out with us.
I had so many thoughts while watching that tragic news story. The biggest thought was about all of the elderly people in this world with all of the stuff they accumulated over a lifetime and many of those seniors live in small quarters. Many of them live amongst their stuff. Where are the young people in their lives? What if they don’t have any young people in their lives? (that they can trust). Somebody should have helped those men. Then again, a lot of people don’t let others in to help them. Once folks retire, we start thinking…..”What if we die and our ancestors don’t know the history of our stuff, so they just toss it, donate it or let others take it?” Reality check: baby boomers need to live like college students and keep only the essentials plus a few things that bring a smile. In this photo, you can see stuff actually flying out of the windows of that New York apartment.
It shouldn’t take The Hoarders on TV, Niecy Nash or anyone else that advocates downsizing. That disaster in New York should serve as the strongest yet message for every hoarder with fake, phony reasons for keeping stuff. The late comedienne, Joan Rivers was a very wealthy woman. When she died suddenly at a New York day clinic, her only daughter was left to deal with stuff, most sentimental and valuable. Listening to her speak during a recent interview, I got a lot of inspiration from Melissa Rivers. Through all the grief of losing her mother, she sprung into action selling stuff and property. She kept some sentimental things and settled down somewhere else. She may be the Dean of how to keep what’s important, what you need and what allows you to move forward.
If it’s valuable, it should be secured somewhere. If you don’t know what to do with valuable stuff, research making money on it now. Otherwise, the money could be made by a random pedestrian, a firefighter, a neighbor or even a driver who finds a parking space and looks through your “stuff”. Those guys in New York should never have gotten to the state in life where they felt that hopeless. They probably either thought life would last forever or they thought their relatives and friends would clean up the place and secure their stuff if they died. Neither happened because no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
Younger people with older relatives should stop and realize they will be old one day. Be nice to the elderly, help them to minimize if it’s not done already and get rid of your own junk now so it never ends up under the boots of firefighters or as part of a helicopter video. Photos: Clips from FOX5 television New York and NBC TV New York news helicopter video
I am proud to say we have banked profits from selling our good stuff and we’re just about to the point where we can walk away from everything else…if we want to. HGTV’s series Tiny House has a promo during which a man says (in so many words): “It’s not about how much stuff you have, it’s about your quality of life.” ©®
by Dianne Thompson comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org