Downsizing is a daunting chore. There is nothing fun about it.
Recently I visited with a friend of mine who decided a couple of months ago that it was time to move out of her home that she had shared for a life time with her husband and five children. We old folks sense those things. Her basement was stacked full of tubs of papers, records and collectibles above and beyond the rest of the house that was full of mementos from the past. As am I, she was overwhelmed with how one is to gracefully dispose of a houseful of memories.
Her children, their spouses and grandchildren gathered to help and had her house empty within a few days. She was advised that having an auction to sell her household items was pointless as there weren’t people with money to buy them. They found a family who had lost everything in a fire and worked a deal with them. The thankful couple took the furniture, pots and pans, dishes and anything else they wanted off her hands in return for helping dispose of the remainder of things. What was left was donated to a used furniture business that in turn removed it from the house without charge. This was all nice furniture, mind you.
Her house went from her being there and surrounded by a lifetime full of memories to bone bare empty. She told the realtor to sell the house for the first reasonable offer. She knows that won’t be much but she’s wants to be rid of it. She’s happy with her new location and that she helped a young couple get a new start. She is happy in her new surroundings, but says she’s sleeping a lot following the ordeal of the move.
Which brings me back to my house and the chore I have of sorting through things. Slowly things are going out the back door. Very slowly. Every armful helps. Even with all the well-intentioned effort, I’m sure as I’m sitting here my house won’t look like it’s supposed to for open houses which I hope to have next month. I’ve already decided I can’t “impersonalize” my house as one would expect. It’s beyond my ability. People will just have to dismiss my “stuff” and envision naked rooms with their possessions in them.
This is what my kitchen looks like. I try to keep the clutter in the pantry. The wood carvings on the wall are very old ceremonial wine dippers from the Phiippines. I never look at them without chuckling about comments my good friend, the Crystal Queen, made regarding them. This was at the time when Duckwall’s was still downtown, and they had some small framed pictures for sale, nothing artsy at all. They were pictures like the kind you cut out of a calendar and slap in a frame. She wanted me to get rid of my precious wine dippers and hang up a couple of those pictures. I won’t let her forget that. She just doesn’t appreciate my wine dippers! I have numerous wood carvings throughout our house. It’s a lot of what this house “is”. My family has lived with them a long time so they like them. Most of the carvings are ones Brit and I picked up in remote areas of our travels. They may still be in evidence when I have a house showing.
The counter is used for buffets and family meals. This is where I keep my cookbooks. Most are treasures while some I can easily part with. Most people use a computer and look up recipes as it’s easier. That’s what I do, but I still love browsing through recipe books. The Woodmode floor to ceiling cabinets in the back ground are in three sections. Two are for dishes, the middle section is a pantry with pull out shelves. It’s very cool.
I love my kitchen. It looks small but it has tons of storage and it’s a very efficient place to work. I had a large kitchen in our house on 8th street and it just wore me out. There aren’t wasted steps in this kitchen and there is plenty of counter space. Thousands of meals have been served out of this area. I’ve seen Ally prepare food for 100 here without skipping a beat. She loves this kitchen, and she’s worked in a good many of them to know.
We go from uncluttered to this: my catch-all place for kitchen “stuff”. I call it my French pantry, because it is.
This is the one place in the house that I can’t “de-clutter”: a small section of my French pantry. At the end, left of Drew’s Maker’s Mark, there is a large storage area replete with deep shelves. To the right of this picture is the continuation of the shelves in this picture. There are about 6 shelves each 16 feet in length plus the two shelves at the back of this picture and the corner deep shelving….and floor for storage.
I guess you could call the pantry my “Alzheimer’s Test Palace”. I really do know where things are in here. It’s hard to take a picture of it because of its shape. It holds a lot. It’s where I keep my mixers, ice cream maker, Cuisinart, crockpots, cases of “stuff”, coffee pots, canned goods, condiments, spices, etal …all those things cooks generally put in cabinets that are hard to get to. I was standing beside the refrigerator when I took this picture. You can’t see the French pantry until you are in it. It’s not visible from the kitchen.
This is where my faithful companion and watch dog, Ringo, and I sleep. I’m going to miss this room and Ringo who will be going to the farm to live with his cousins.
Stay tuned … more on the house is bound to come.