In her blog After the Kids Leave, Karen Irving writes about downsizing in preparation to a move to smaller quarters. Clearing stuff up, cleaning it out: This is something about which many of us have thought, fantasized, made decisions or delayed decisions. In previous posts on Leaving a Legacy, I've written that cleaned and cleared closets (whether or not we're moving) are part of the legacy we leave our grown children and grandchildren--the gift is that it's something they won't have to do for us.
In her post on tips for downsizing, Karen takes note of a guiding principle, thanks to William Morris, propounder of the English Arts and Crafts school of decoration. His words--her mantra and now mine as well: “Keep nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
As I tackle the mess of stuff in my basement and try to de-clutter my living spaces, I am tacking on an additional point to the Morris dictum: Check first with your grown children before tossing anything out--photographs, letters, figurines, decorative boxes or century-old baby shoes. There might be items they treasure for sentimental or other reasons. It's okay to store if for them; just be sure they will be willing to haul those treasures away when the final cleaning and clearing takes place.