No, I’m not crying or cooking!  I’m describing the act of sorting through layer upon layer of your life’s accumulations, in order to downsize and move again.  There’s always yet another more subtle layer below, just when you thought you were nearing the bottom.  It’s just astounding what we humans hoard.

The good news is, all those misc. items I stashed away for a rainy day make great packing material!  I knew I saved them for a reason.  You’d be amazed what strange things can be repurposed for padding fragile china and glass.  Nothing, I mean nothing, goes to waste around me.

I’ve moved many times, downsizing in the process.  My poor son can attest to the fact that “you can’t take it with you” sometimes translates to: you donate much of it to your son, who then has to turn around and sort a bigger pile when he moves.  Still, I’m always gratified to recognize some of my old stuff in use in his new home, so it’s not all in vain.

This time around, the relatively little I sent ahead of me from NJ to OH hasn’t expanded too horribly; in fact I’ve learned by necessity (i.e. being poor) the art of being resourceful with what I’ve got instead of buying more unnecessary stuff.  And of course sorting always reveals many candidates for the donation/recycle/ trash piles.

I’m a big proponent of trying to be mindful and considerate of your survivors, and not burdening them with massive hoards of crap to process when you’re gone.  Having to sort through my parents’ lifetime accumulation of everything from treasures to trash really slammed this home to me.  Not to mention the twenty years I spent living with someone’s chaos.  Now I’m almost obsessed with order, organization, and traveling light.

But I’m also learning how it can be for someone who grew up and lived with abusive, unstable people who sabotaged any sense of security, decency, or order.  Having started with very little, she worked extremely hard to provide a nice home for her family, who undermined and destroyed it all.  She basically had to leave it all behind to start over from scratch, alone in this tiny apartment, which she turned into a clean, attractive refuge.  Nesting is an essential instinct, and what possessions she could afford are not disposable or replaceable.  She’s lost too much already.

So between the two of us, there are many onion layers to process, organize, keep, and dispose of, but all for a worthy cause, creating a secure nest for her, finally, and a garden featuring a roof for me.  Hopefully my son’s un-fond memories of his own moving ordeal will detain him there a while longer, so we can get to hang out and be a family again for whatever time we have left.


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