Cleaning House

I’m moving — just like that. I put my house up for sale, got a decent offer and it’s now under contract. This has been home for the past 9 years. My oldest son will soon graduate from college (in December) and my youngest is a sophomore at UNC. They still come home on holidays and the occasional weekend. But, at 3,000+ s.f., our home is a little too roomy for me and my dog.

The challenge here is, what to take. Or, more importantly, what to leave. I’m downscaling to about 1,500 s.f., so I basically have to get rid of half of everything I own.

I’ve done this before – when I divorced. My former husband and I sat on the back porch and took turns “calling” what we wanted until all our worldly goods were divided evenly between us.

This time, it’s all my choice. That makes it more difficult.

The easy keepers are the things I’ve had with me for years – an antique piano, a wooden art table, a carved German wardrobe, a century-old oak schoolteacher’s desk, my great grandmother’s end table, a mission style clock, my favorite books, photos and paintings. Everything else is up for grabs.


It’s funny how little “things” actually matter. Look around your house and see what you have that you would not want to leave. There are probably only a handful of things. For me, it’s photos, paintings, hand-made blankets and hand-written recipes — things that remind me of people or experiences that matter most to me. Most of my furniture could be easily replaced. Just like the house.

I’ll give some stuff to my son to help him furnish his apartment. I’ll sell some things on e-bay. And I’ll have a gigantic yard sale to empty my garage. But I’m actually looking forward to purging again. After all, when you sift through all the clutter in your life, it becomes clear what’s really important.