COLUMN: No room for sentiment in downsize

Reporter's Viewpoint

I’ve come to the conclusion that moving houses every five years or so is not frequent enough – at least for a “collector” like me.

My husband and I have lived in the same house for about four and a half years and as moving day fast approaches, we’ve been busy boxing up our belongings.

I’ve noted two interesting things so far from this process.

One is that almost everything in the house is mine, except for the small space in the closet that my husband’s clothes take up.

The second is that I need someone standing next to me – screaming and swearing at me or whatever it takes – before I throw almost anything away.

I love stuff. I have a tea cup collection (no way I’m giving this up), a stamp collection (which I haven’t touched in years, but hey, it might be worth something one day), a Christmas card collection (just in case I have a hankering to re-read those cheesy season’s greetings) and a basket full of pieces of scrap fabric, saved years ago from old sewing projects. Keep in mind, I haven’t picked up a needle and thread since I was about 15.

My husband brought up box after box of items from the crawl space and as the dining room filled, I watched him get increasingly agitated.

Some of this stuff was thrown down there temporarily once we decided to make the move, but some stuff I’ve never, ever used.

Like the set of four oven-safe, individual-sized soup bowls with handles. Perfect for baking the bread and cheese mixture on top of homemade French onion soup – except I haven’t made French onion soup for about 10 years.

I’m sure I picked them up at some garage sale years ago thinking they were cute and practical and ever since, the bowls have lived in my crawl space, collecting dust and spiders.

Despite throwing a few things away, we still have what my husband thinks of as a colossal amount of things to move, although I think he’s exaggerating slightly because he wants to save himself some work – I broke my wrist recently, so he has to do all the lifting.

My relatives are partly to blame for the collection of possessions.

My mother started collecting cast-off dishware from all our relatives about four years before I moved out of her house – a not-so-subtle hint that I nevertheless decided to ignore for quite a while.

My grandmother keeps gathering boxes of things from the houses of friends who are downsizing and shipping them up to Nanaimo from Victoria.

Someone thought I would use plastic place mats with pictures of Butchart Gardens on them.

Until recently, I also had a set of mugs that depicted cats eating fish. The inside of the cat was pictured like you were viewing an X-ray, with the bones of a fish in the cat’s stomach.

All of this stuff has added up over the past few years to the point where it’s taken me hours to sort through it before the impending move.

The new house is only slightly bigger than my current homestead and it has a much smaller crawl space, so I think further downsizing will probably be necessary.

Maybe from now on I should stay away from garage sales, and maybe “forget” to give my relatives my new address.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com