Evaluating the historical value of our junk

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There’s nothing like moving into a smaller home to challenge one’s ability to skim off the excessive possessions.

Of course, this is not to lessen experiences of people leaving their homes due to civil strife and natural disasters.

Moving during a pandemic provides enough limitations and extra costs – even within the same community.

I recently had to make difficult decisions: I had been holding on to nicnacs, family portraits, letters, Christmas cards from years gone by and artwork my children made many years ago. I had to get tough with my sentimental leanings and those “what if” situations where we would need extra dishes, linens, towels and sleeping bags. It’s not like we can accommodate house guests or invite people over for dinner any time soon.

Family history

I embrace and cherish my journals and albums tracing the family activities through good times and bad. To me, these are important memoirs, accounts, photos documenting the children’s growth, the reunion with my oldest child, meeting his wife and my beautiful grandchildren.

What about the doodles and whimsical sketches I made to keep my sanity during the quiet evenings of the many COVID-19 stay at home orders in 2020 and 2021? I like to think they will also have historical value some day. The people at the Ottawa Archives may think so too. I wouldn’t want to be the entry level Archivist who has to sort through and categorize thousands of boxes. We can be sure that by now, most Archives will accept digital copies of memorable documents and pandemic artefacts.

Downsizing questions

  • At what point do you justify paying monthly rent for a storage unit?
  • How much effort are you able to put into getting useful items to local charities?
  • How much are you willing to pay for a service that will take your junk away, and promise at best effort to redirect useful items to charity?
  • How many wine boxes does it take to pack your beloved books and other delicate items? How many bottles of wine would you buy in exchange for the Wine Shop staff putting boxes aside for you on a bi-weekly basis? How many of those bottles do you consume or gift to others who are helping you in the process?
  • When can I unpack my books and place them on the limited bookcases in our new home? Am I willing to make some difficult choices? Haven’t we been through this before?
  • How long until I decide to move again? Will I have unpacked all of the boxes or piled some into a cramped corner?
The Tabby Cat squeezed into a temporary hidey box after we moved in the first truckload.

Resources:

Distractions

You can spend another five minutes reading a humorous account of activities surrounding the recent move.

Thanks for stopping by. Please excuse the mess. I am trying to unpack one or two boxes per day now that we are settled in. I should be done by Thanksgiving.

Stay well. Stay safe. Be kind.

T

Home Phone

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I am sure there are statistics somewhere but I wonder what percentage of Canadian residences have such a thing as a landline or “Home Phone” anymore.

One of my goals for 2021 is to move to a cleaner, safer rental setting. Forget affordable; we will have to cut back on guilty pleasures and luxuries. I just want to have our own laundry facilities instead of dealing with inconsiderate, clueless tenants, lazy custodians and petty crime vandals – especially during a pandemic!

A sense of roots

I am debating whether to transfer our home number to a prospective new rental. I am also comparing costs of getting a bundle with major carriers for phone, Internet and TV.

To me, having a home phone number is like having a sense of roots, something that is permanent although transferable, a number where family and friends know they can reach members of your family if you are not roaming out and about. It’s not like we have the freedom to do that these days during a pandemic lock-down anyway!

One of the Millennial youth scoffed at my reference to “home phone” in conversation one day, when I used the term for communication options during logistical arrangements. “What even is a “home phone” anymore?”, he asked. Says he who had to move around the country for school and special training but still carries the same cell phone number.

This current rental is what was the last “family home” they lived in before jumping off to their various independent lives, sharing accommodations with friends or finding a quiet place to themselves. Some returned for short stays in-between engagements and the next phase in their lives.

I have to learn to let go and trust the Universe to protect and guide them. My job is done with providing a sense of family, home and convoluted roots.

watercolour painting tree of life
Tree of Life watercolour 2020 T. Jamone

It could be something deeper for me in that I have a hard time of letting go of them, of missing our small family gatherings for holidays, special meals and celebrations. The COVID-19 pandemic and regional lock-downs since March 2020 seem to have relieved me of that expectation but blessed me with the company of my youngest Millennial for the duration.

It’s time to move on after ten years, to downsize and remove emotional attachments. I have given up on waiting for the fifteen year-old cat to die; she’s going to have to survive the move. Perhaps a new home layout will provide her with more enrichment between her naps, meals and tongue baths.

Geneva Tabby Cat mellowing out on a Friday night

Thanks for dropping by – and keeping a safe distance.

T

Dilemmas and distractions

Fast forward to 2021, more than five years after writing this blog post. I recently made the harsh decision to put old Internet and web related books for recycling. I am downsizing for the potential move to a smaller place this spring and have to put sentimental feelings aside. The content of the books is too old to be worthy of donating to the public library’s used book stores. Since the bookshops are still closed due to the pandemic, it would be cruel to add to the piles of donations that volunteers need to sort in anticipation for the day when things go back to “normal”. T

Deep Blonde Thoughts

As I sort through the books in the library of le petit apartment, I feel emotionally drained. 

books on bookcase and in boxes One section of the personal library, sorted, categorized and tagged for potential purging.

In addition to supporting a family, performing full time work and nestling into a new volunteer role, I have let this project take over a month and will likely let it drag on through the summer. I am letting it prepare me for a quest that is doubly draining and has suffered from my procrastination.

It’s a daunting task to sort and justify keeping or discarding books. Some brought joy, inspiration and comfort. They are like old friends.

Some brought knowledge and helped build skills. Some skills are transferable; some are no longer applicable in today’s job markets.

I think back to 20 years ago, to my foray into dialup connectivity, HTML web design and website usability. While I balanced family, work and survival…

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