Monday, July 17, 2017

Books and cellphones and cords. Oh, my!

The rightsizing continues at our house. I bought an AARP book called Downsizing the Family Home. I read it and then I suggested Art read it. He is doing that. He commented yesterday that the book is mainly for people working with their aging parents to part with years of accumulation before they move into a smaller place, or taking care of everything themselves after one or both parents have died.

Still, there are helpful sections in the book. I note from the placement of the bookmark that Art is about two thirds of the way through it. That's a good sign.

We went through our "book closet" last week. One box of books went to the local library, to be sold as a fundraiser. Three more boxes went to Goodwill. We now have the following sections remaining in the book closet:

  • Books I have not yet read but intend to in the next couple of years. Maybe 25.
  • Books on writing that I have read and intend to read again - think Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and Stephen King's On Writing; AMemoir of the Craft.
  • Books on writing that I know I will read (about six; the others went to Goodwill).
  • Recovery books; we have many years of 12-step experience and we still refer to these.
  • Travel books (mostly Rick Steves), pocket language books (about eight), and half a dozen local maps (the two dozen others went to Goodwill; if we ever go back through Wyoming, Montana and Utah again, we're likely to use Google maps on our phones).
  • Two Thompson guides of the Seattle area, for Art, who loves the old familiar ways.
Also on the floor of the book closet was a box half full of photos in their frames (mostly of high school seniors and offspring getting married). The top half of the box was a jumble of cords and plugs for ten years' worth of electronics. I left the photos for the kids to go through after we're gone.

I put the cords on the dining room table. I'd emptied a plastic bin of candle stubs, so I asked Art to organize the cords. You never know when someone will come along with an ancient device and need a cord or a car charger and you can be useful with your plastic bin. Art's eyes lit up when he saw the cords. He said, "I have some old phones in the sidebar drawers." He pulled out six old flip phones, the kind he used until just last year when there was such a good deal on a refurbished iPhone 5 ($50!) that he couldn't resist. For two hours he sat at the table and matched up the old phones to cords and to car charges. These he bundled together and put in a sack to recycle. We'll be taking them to a place that collects old phones for soldiers and vets. Art was a soldier and is a vet himself, so it seemed like a good choice.

The mismatched cords are still in the plastic bin, just in case. But there aren't very many of them. My friend Gail came over earlier this week, missing a car charger for her cell phone. We had one that fit!

I emptied a shoebox-sized plastic bin and suggested that it would be a good place to store batteries. Art emptied the sidebar drawers and filled the little bin with the batteries he's collected. Probably mostly from work, when he worked. Seven years ago. He tested most of the 75 batteries. So we are ready for a prolonged power outage, and we know where the batteries are.

Yesterday Art took all the books off the lower shelf of the living room coffee table. Nine of them go to Goodwill. Six go in the book closet. He did this without asking, as though it was a ho hum job. Can you believe it?

We're moving slowly. Five boxes get filled at the  top of the entryway stairs. They go into the trunk of my car. They get delivered to wherever. We start in on five more boxes. No rush, but getting there.

It's kind of fun, actually. 


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I am impressed with how quickly you are going about decluttering. I have been doing it for five years and sometimes I think that I am not making much headway. You are very organized. One thing, though, is that I do pass on every book I have. Once it is read, I either put it in our neighborhood kiosk library or in a book bin or give it to a friend.

Barb said...

I was considering getting that book so once you both read it. I'll be interested in your thoughts. Another one I was looking at was called (I think). Sell, Throw Or Keep? Admittedly I am not a keeper, so my load is less. We have a little library near us so I try and put the novels there as I weed em out.

joared said...

Keep talkin' -- you're almost getting me to undertake starting a similar project, but think it would be more fun if I wasn't having to do it alone. My husband would have enjoyed doing this and I wasn't ready when he was years ago, but I was still working and he had been retired a few years.

DJan said...

I am the clutter person in our marriage, and I suppose I should make myself do a declutter like you're doing. Hubby automatically goes through anything he's accumulated and purges on a regular basis. It makes my job just that: my job. You've helped move the needle in my desire just a little. :-)

Anonymous said...

My goodness, you do have a lot of stuff to clear out. I give books away as I finish them. Stuff that no longer works or is used is tossed immediately. I cannot imagine having stuff sitting around that doesn't work. If I don't wear something for a couple of years, it goes out, too. We live in a small house so I have no room for extraneous stuff.

I housesat for a woman in a third floor walkup who would just set aside the broken item and plug in a new item. She had three lamps in her living room, and only one worked. The other two had just been set aside. It drove me crazy and I decided I could not housesit for her again.

Arkansas Patti said...

Hum, I did all that when I moved last time but ya know what, it needs doing again. Amazing how quickly we resort to old ways. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, like you, I find decluttering fun even though it demands making many decisions about what to keep, give away, throw away, and where to put this that and the other. I think your husband's idea about sending the phones and cords to an organization that provides for soldiers/military is a really wonderful one.

I have given away in my lifetime about 2,000 books. I now have about 500-600 still in the house. Many of these I haven't read and the years are passing and they're not getting read because new books come out and reading e-books is so much easier now that Glaucoma has compromised my eyesight. One of these days, I'll follow your example and go through all these books--which are in numerous bookcases in three bedrooms and stacked on the floor--and give most of them away. If I'm not reading them, someone else could and would. It's good to pass things on.

I'm so enjoying your posting about all this. Peace.

Lenora, Scottsdale said...

Hi Linda
I am really enjoying your blog which I discovered a month ago. We have so much in common and it is great identifying with others. I would love to downsize but hubby is not there yet. I love your idea of declutering and being prepared to downsize when and if the time arrives. I love to read but try to pass on my books to others. I keep my favorite authors and all my 12-step books. When or if we move I will always have a small libra. Summer in Scottsdale is the time to read and keep out of the heat.
Lenora, Scottsdale Arizona

Linda Reeder said...

We have done some of that in the past. We can part with things. Our problem is that we are still accumulating.

troutbirder said...

We're on the same path. Downsizing but not rushing. It's had though although my recent belated discovery of Craig list had helped with big items like boats and campers....:)

Tom said...

Five boxes at a time ... that seems about right.

Madeline Kasian said...

Good job! When we right sized somehow we cam eup with 4 broken DVD players that for some reason Ken thought should live in our garage. Everytime the DVD player in our business office wore out we'd get another one and "storee" the old one. ??? ALso--we had a WALL of bookshelves in prior house, a small built in TV/bookshelf unit in the right sized house.We pared down CONSIDERABLY. Ken was able to part with his hardback Anne RIce collection, finally! And we got rid of bulky chiro and nursing textbooks. Clothes,tools,dishes,so many extras.I don't miss any of what we released.

Question: Where do you get refurbished I-phones? Sooner or later our 5 and 5S will need replacing, we are usually a version or two behind, so a refurb would work. Craigslist? Apple store?

Mage said...

You are so brave with all your discarding. I'm working on this, but haven't gotten too far. The books especially will be a problem. We hang on to the 12 step volumes, and they get used over and over....