If I was going to liveblog my life…

There have been some very good “follow along with the blogger” blogs out there. Continental road trips by bike. Eating on a foot-stamp budget. Recording very low consumption. Reducing one’s possessions to so many items. Recording every bit of plastic used: a personal favorite.

I thought of such an idea. Not for me, but perhaps for someone who’s finds him- or herself in such a situation as I describe. Consider a blog about shrinking one’s household goods in anticipation of some kind of loss. A loss of family members, or stable income or independence, perhaps. I’m thinking here of people who have to move from a larger house to a smaller one, or into a care facility. Or a chosen loss: a decision to be be more secure and more connected because one’s household goods are more manageable. (Hubby and I are a mild, everyday version of the later: the apartment we bought is smaller than the one we once rented.)

Image you know the downsizing is coming, and you live in a house large enough to carve out an “apartment” the size you will likely have. Or room. Bathroom optional. Kitchen optional. (Many people share these, of course.) Empty it completely. Then treat the rest of the house as a store in which you shop for filling the new, smaller space.

What would you choose? What storage items, forgotten items, “perhaps for later” items would be given up first? What might be given away with an easy heart? What items would be savored and valued above all others?

I’ve just returned from visiting family, and so been thinking about relatives, many now dead. I’m thinking about cleaning up their homes, and knowing that this task will one day will fall on my relatives. I would rather spare them the trouble, and it could be quite comforting to undergo this difficult task in the presence of others. And such a liveblog could be a gift, too: to draw our attention to the relationship we have with our possessions in greener and happier times, so we can act with strength when we have little choice.

4 Replies to “If I was going to liveblog my life…”

  1. Folks who are preparing to live full-time in an RV or a boat all must go through this process. We did it over 7 years ago, and I’m sorry I did not document the process. As a military brat, used to moving every year, it was easy for me; joyous, even. But for my husband, it was painful.

    Watching my stepfather fall to incurable illness and my mother move into a retirement community was another glimpse of downsizing. I admit that when I visit her, I find my mind wandering to how I will dispose of the rest when the time comes. 100 antique silver spoons. 50 porcelain “collectible” bells. Three closets full of Liz Claiborne clothing, most never worn.

    I enjoy having significantly less stuff. Each piece I kept has been curated, selected. Any new item must be better than the best of what I kept.

    We have to carry our recycling and trash with us until we find a suitable disposal site, which makes us hyper aware of packaging and waste. This has led us to healthier eating without really meaning to. We store and carry both clean and waste water, making each gallon count. Now I question the necessity for each shower, each cleaning product designed for convenience. We watch every watt go into and out of our batteries; it’s fascinating. The coffee pot and the vacuum cleaner use about the same power but provide vastly different amounts of pleasure, who knew? Raising the temperature 3 degrees on a cold evening involves burning fuel, watching the diesel tank drop. Putting on a sweater is so much easier and look! It’s one of my favorite sweaters because I only have a couple.

    Sorry, I went off on a tangent. But the relationship between stuff and waste and energy was more hidden before and now is so much more obvious to me that the tangent isn’t tangential anymore. As you say, I hope that these new habits will help us, “so we can act with strength when we have little choice.”

  2. My parents died a few years back, but they still have a house full of stuff (luckily the income to pay for electricity and lawn service, as well as nice neighbors who keep an eye on the place). It’s not been put on the market, because it’s still full of stuff – as they were children of the depression “throw nothing out” packrats. Here in my house, I keep trying to throw (or give) away stuff.

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