Let’s stick just to my end of this endeavor. I won’t get into hers.

Yes, I’m talking about downsizing for real.

In this matter of daily living, I squirreled away a lot of doodads and papers – created quite a compact puzzle arrangement, actually – but preparing to move has meant opening the proverbial Pandora’s box and watching it all jump out, well, like a jack-in-the-box explosion.

There was no way I could take all of this stuff with me. It was time to let go.

Things like the library card, my swim pass and parking permit, old insurance forms and booklets.

Clothing got touchier, as I had to ask if I really planned on wearing this item or that – did I even like it? Old pillows, too.

It was time to let go of the tape cassettes, I had nothing to play them on anyway, but I do have a neighbor who’s big into his sound system, so I’m happy to know they have a new home. I simply realized I was unlikely to listen to them again, considering my schedule, even in retirement. I’ll concentrate on my vinyl and CDs, which will likely get a pruning in the upcoming year. You know, that reality that as you clear out the debris, you discover all kinds of treasures you didn’t know you owned. Ditto for the remaining books, which did get yet another culling but need more. What am I likely to need or revisit in the next five years?

I also passed along my student violin and sheet music.

Another difficult decision was to pitch a complete set of my mimeographed Ramblers, a periodic broadside I published in my years at Wright State University, as well as a long shelf of my contributor’s copies of literary journals where I’d appeared. Plus several boxes of unsold copies of my first novel. Even several drawers of acceptance letters – the more volumous rejections went out a half-dozen years ago. Add to that old genealogy notes and correspondence. The fact was that these imposed an emotional weight on me, and now I let go.

Oh, yes, and then there were several cases of 3½-inch computer cassettes. I couldn’t even access those now if I wanted to, though I moved all of their relevant content over years ago. No problem, overboard they went. Finally.

My cross-country skis are joining the discards. I was never that good on them, and getting older, I’m deciding to shift to snowshoes. Besides, I’ve usually been out on the snow all alone, as in solo, and I need to admit that if I break a bone in a fall, I’d be in big trouble. (Yes, I do tumble.) Oh, the realities and perils of getting old.

I am planning on going through my journals in the next year, and I suspect I’ll actually wind up burning some of them – the ones that have been thoroughly mined for poetry and fiction prompts or the ones that are boringly banal.

In the back of my head are the stories of surviving family members having to clean out the possessions of a deceased parent or grandparent. So my intent is to spare my own much of that burden. Not that they won’t still have plenty to tackle.

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