It has taken me a lifetime to realize the value of downsizing. I was raised by a mother who saved everything. All closets were stuffed to the brim with you-name-it – old clothes, new clothes, too-small clothes, too-large clothes, winter clothes, summer clothes, coats, hats, shoes, shoe boxes, rags, yarn. All available space was crammed full of things we might need at some point in time. Chests of drawers, breakfronts, china cabinets, hall closets, cupboards. Price tags were still on a lot of lingerie stuffed in drawers. Once in a blue moon, Mother would give some clothes to Mama Dorough and Lillian. Some for Joan. I don’t know how she decided what she could part with. That all seemed normal to me. I had more clothes than I could ever wear, kept everything, even when it didn’t fit. We had old books, new books, magazines, old sheet music, song books, hymnals, comic books, newspaper articles, letters, birthday cards, church programs, empty boxes, empty jars, ribbon, wrapping paper, desk supplies. Every cupboard in the kitchen was filled, including the refrigerator and freezer upstairs and  the ones in the basement. Daddy enlarged and remodeled; Mother filled it up.  

When I got married and had children, I saved everything. “I might need it one day.” Or, “That’s Blake’s hand-print. It stays.” Or, “Tracy painted that cat picture when she was two. That stays.” Not until I moved into a small Beverly Hills apartment did I realize I didn’t have room for it all. When I moved to Irvine, CA, to start law school, I became alarmed. It was expensive moving all that stuff. Plus, I had nowhere to put it. So, I stuffed it in the garage. Not until I needed to get my car off the street did I do a turn-around. That is when I began to simplify. Craig and his new bride Jean needed furniture. I said take what you need. Lucky for me, they left with a full truck of stuff. I could park my car in the garage. Then, when Steve and I married, I had help. We both wanted to downsize. And when we moved to Nice, we got serious about it. 

Let’s face it. It has been difficult for me. I was weaned on “keep it”. And, in retrospect, I think Mother was a borderline-hoarder. She would call herself a “clutter-er”. Or, “collector”. When does collecting or cluttering (e.g., “saving for future use”) become hoarding? Who draws the line? Where?

Mayo Clinic calls “hoarding disorder” a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. Bingo! A person experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of items. BINGO!!  …excessive accumulation of items because the emotional attachment to the hoarded objects far exceeds the motive to discard the item. Ouch!

I’m better. I still have too much. Even on my computer. I have saved files and folders and programs and documents and pictures. Pictures and copies of pictures, and files of duplicates within duplicates.

I shall simplify more. Period, end of story. How else can I create space for the new? Plus, in France, I’m lucky if there is a small closet. 

Note: Below are images I saved from Facebook just because I like them. They speak to me in some way. Enjoy.  


Best, Jay


Published by jjaywmac

Jay W. MacIntosh (born Janet Tallulah Jewell) is a retired attorney, actress, and writer from the United States, living in Paris, France. She is a member of the California Bar and selected to the 2018, 2019, 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Zodiac Scholastic Society. As an actress, she is a member of The Actors Studio, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP, performing in film and television in the United States and France. Her published works include Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 1, Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 2, The Origins of George Bernard Shaw’s Life Force Philosophy, Moments in Time, Capturing Beauty, JAYSPEAK on the Côte d’Azur, and Janet Tallulah.

One thought on “LESS IS MORE

  1. It must be genetic. LOL I’m not quite as bad as Nana Lou, but I do have a hard time getting rid of stuff. I began this new year pledging to myself that I would throw one thing away every day. So far, so good. By the way, after Nana Lou died I somehow ended up with boxes full of her stuff. Most of it was every birthday card, Christmas card or note she had ever received from her grandchildren. I had a very difficult time getting rid of it, and I still have one box here 15 years later.


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