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.

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read