Downsizing: One Year In


It’s been a year since my husband and I cut our house and household in half and moved to our current home in Olde Orchard Hill. We are so glad we did it. We love it here!

But we also know it’s time to fine-tune our downsizing.

We decided when we moved that we would give it a year, go through one round of seasons, then look at the bins of items that we were unsure whether or not to keep when we moved.


The basement, before


Two weeks ago we started digging through the bins stored in our basement. When I considered the items in each one, I used the same divisions we used last year: Throw Away, Donate, Sell, Keep. We didn’t throw away very much this time, but we gathered six large plastic bins and two cardboard boxes of items to donate.

We also set aside a bankers’ box for papers to shred.

One of our local reuse shops has access to shredding services that I’ve used before. I plan to continue sifting through my office files as well as the stored papers I kept when we moved, like old tax forms; items regarding our relatives’ estates that are now over ten years old; and documents that applied to our prior homes and apartments. These are papers that I didn’t take the time to sort before we moved, so it’s overdue. I think that this process alone will make a dent in what we store. We’ll call this step “To be continued…” for now.


Packed for donation.


The basement, after. A bit clearer – until next time!

There are some things I decided to keep.

I held onto some decorative items that I use on a bookshelf that we agreed I would use to feed my seasonal decor streak.

I kept some seasonal clothing but moved it to a more appropriate place in my bedroom closet.

I also kept some cookware and bakeware that I haven’t used since we’ve been here. One piece, a lovely Southern Living at Home serving dish in a copper tray, found a new home with some other copper pieces on top of one of our kitchen cabinets. I’ve taken the glass dish out of it to use for baking meals. We’ve used it twice already.

Also, I’m not quite ready to give up the idea that I’ll bake those famous Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Rum Ganache for someone. I only did a couple batches at Christmas over the past year, but I see some opportunities coming up this fall. I kept all the paraphernalia that baking those cupcakes requires.

I chose to keep some of the memorabilia that I inherited from my mom and dad. I wasn’t conscientious when I disposed of items from my father’s estate in 2005, especially the photos. I didn’t know who the people were, or how they were related to my dad, and unfortunately there was no one left in the family to ask, so I disposed of them.

In my mother’s case, I know a bit more about the history of the photos because she took some time to talk to me about the people in them, and she made notes on many of them. I’m more confident about the method I used to sort them. And while I did this with my family’s items, my husband worked on his own family’s documents and photos. We’re happy with what we’ve kept.

The good news is that I found a pack of photos of my brother as a baby, child, and teen. It turns out that he wondered why he had so few photos from that time. He didn’t know that Mom kept them, or that I ended up with them. Neither did I! Now that we both know, I can turn over a satisfying pile of photos to him. This is one donation that I know will be appreciated.


Mom Mike Me
Mom, Mike, & Me


This blog post is part of a series called Downsizing. It is the chronicle of moving from a 2475 square foot home to one approximately half its size during the first six months of 2016. It takes place in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Categories Downsizing

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