Packrat Assets: Downsizing for Boomers

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At some time most of us must do it. Most of us consider it shortly after we withdraw from our labor for subsistence. We must make our change of days complete. It is a financially advantageous thing to do, we hope, and maybe a good thing too, we justify. That is downsizing, the dreaded act of relocating from our Colonial full-family model 4-bedroom 1.5-bath middle-class home.

You have stuffed your home with a hodgepodge of memories stacked and stored in many closets, bedrooms, an attic, a basement, a garage, a yard, and a myriad of dusty nooks and crannies, all in a nice lawn-groomed neighborhood. Now you are considering a move to a downsized dwelling in another neighborhood, or perhaps a retirement community. It may make you happier; you fantasize, and give you more time to do the things you want to do; you anticipate. You can finally de-clutter your life, after all!

Moving Your Hodgepodge of Memories

It is an intimidating chore, this moving thing, you soon discover. Somehow, after all these years, your collection of memories has magically materialized into solid and heavy structures and shapes, and just possibly, there aren’t enough boxes on earth to transport them, or a truck strong enough to drag away this bulk—these packrat assets. Downsizing is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube. Some memories will have to be forgotten, and some are run through the trash compacter and just abbreviated into smaller packages.

The unpacked boxes in the attic have gathered generations of dust, being there since your previous move in 1972. You will strongly consider either leaving them unopened and adding them to the charity pile near the curb, or, just dumping them in the garbage to alleviate the hassle. And then, alas, what are you going to do with the rusty garden tools and a gas-eating, smoke-spewing lawnmower, let alone the snaking, never-could-coil-it-anyway garden hose? You can’t water and mow the carpet in your new, tinier abode. You know why we kept the photos and artwork, but why the 1987 phone book, and TV rabbit ears? You must have considered, at one time, stuffing them and hanging them on the wall as a souvenir of the first boob-tube in a long line of boob-tubes that you’ve reclined before.

More books than shelf space. It is an accepted law of nature—more powerful than Murphy’s Law—and known by cosmic travelers for eons, that whenever someone moves from one space to another space, the books that once fit on those shelves don’t anymore.

 

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