Since 1993 ((age 56), I have been continually downsizing. Lots of years spent accumulating. Now, it is the other way around. I have a lot of people ask me how I am doing it because they know the big houses I have had and lots of furniture and “stuff”. Plus, I saved everything “in case I would need it one day”. Well, that day never came. And, it is not over yet. And I want to tell you, it feels great.
I moved over 30 times in my life, taking a lot of “stuff” from house to house and accumulating more “stuff” along the way. For years, I did “fixers”, making enough money to support myself and my children. And, I thought of it as “props” to make each house pretty. But, moving stuff around is expensive. And, having closets and garages full of stuff takes up space that I needed for current activities. And, beautiful clothes did not get worn – and got wrinkled in a crowded closet.
I made the turn-around in 1993 when I moved from Muskingum Avenue in Pacific Palisades to a 2-bedroom small apartment on Oakhurst Drive in Beverly Hills. I remember feeling a sense of panic. I had to decide what was important to me. EVERYTHING. Well, there was not room for everything. So, I moved what I could into the apartment, stuffed clothes into small closets and started making trips to the trash. That was easier than driving to Santa Monica to the Salvation Army. Plus, once I made the turn-around from the trash cans to go back into the apartment, I did not have to see it anymore. And, I never went back to take things out of the trash – not that I did not want to a lot of times.
The next move was from Beverly Hills to Murica Aisle in Irvine, CA. I rented a condo to use while I was going to Whittier Law School. That was an even smaller space. So, I used the garage to store stuff and kept the car in a parking space. Dumb. When the weather started getting bad, I wanted to keep the car in the garage but there was not room. Haha. Even dumber. So, I started giving things away. I gave a lot of things to Craig and Jean. Blake took a few. He did not want my stuff. Trascey was already divorcing herself from the family at that point. So, she wanted nothing. I was in that condo until I moved back to LA to practice law and at some point, the car moved into the garage. Still LOTS of things in the condo. I was there for 4 ½ years.
When I decided to move back to LA, I moved into a tiny 2-bedroom apartment on Barrington Avenue in Brentwood. There was one small storage bin in the carport for me to use. So, I rented a large storage space in Westwood on Sepulveda, near Sports Club LA. The rent was high – $75 a month – to store some furniture that I HAD to keep and skiis and lots of boxes of “important” stuff. That is when Steve moved in with me into that tiny apartment in Brentwood. Haha. He had a few boxes of things (he did not have problems walking away from things – long story there). That is when we bought a condo in Westwood and Sarasota, Florida, and got married. We were there 4 years.
When the bottom fell out of the real estate market in 2009, we moved into a smaller apartment in Westwood and walked away from both condos. In 2013, we moved into a cheaper apartment in Encino,CA. Each time, Steve and I moved the stuff, most of it was mine. And, my Steinway piano (that I had since I was 12) was making each of these moves.
That is when Steve and I decided to move to the South of France. The moving expenses were high. So, Steve sold most of our furniture on Craig’s List. We took loads to the Salvation Army on Ventura, and STILL sent a lot of art, china, silver, pots & pans to France. PLUS, the Steinway piano. (sigh). Most of it mine. We moved into a 3-bedroom apartment on Cimiez and LOVED it. Somehow, all of our stuff fit. We were very happy there and felt we had made the right choice even though it was very expensive. Then, in a flash, he got sick and died (he had heart problems in the States – neither one of us considered them to be show-stoppers).
I had to move down – down the hill, down in size, down in income, down, down, down. Reality check after reality check. So, I started getting rid of things. I realized that I had stuff that nobody would ever want. Even if they wanted it, they would not pay to have it sent back to the U.S. And, I could die at a moment’s notice, like Steve, and in that case, my landlord would just want all of my stuff out so that he could rent the apartment again.
By this time, in 2017, I wanted everything that I had. I had given away the rest because I did not want to go through the agony for selling stuff to “foreigners” who spoke another language I could not understand. Haha. I WAS THE FOREIGNER WHO SPOKE ANOTHER LANGUAGE! Plus, I wanted all of it.
Well, I had and continue to have to find a way to let go of things I wanted/want. That is where I find myself right now. I am throwing away, giving away, and selling things I want but seldom use because of a variety of reasons – different lifestyle, different choices, different desires. And, now I want to move to expensive Paris. I want to live there before I die. It is important to me for several major reasons. So, I had better get going. I have no time to waste. And, I will never use a lot of this stuff. The boys don’t want any of it. And Trascey doesn’t want anything to do with any of us. Sad. Yes, I know, but true. And my landlord will just want it gone so he can re-rent the apartment.
Yesterday, I sold Steve’s favorite frying pan. He always used that to make delicious meat balls. I thought of it as a wonderful frying pan to make people happy. It made Steve and me happy. Now, it would make another woman happy. I hope. She made me happy. The woman who picked it up was lovely and told me I was very pretty. Imagine! That made my day!!! I don’t feel so pretty these days.
Tomorrow morning, I get on a high-speed train and go to Paris for a week (AirBnb), thanks to my lifelong friend, Jenny Hager. I need to be sure moving to Paris is what I want to do. And, I cannot afford a big apartment on my retirement income. So, lots of decisions ahead of me. I cannot take it all. What matters to me at this age? I don’t know yet. I know this, I LOVE using what I have without wanting more. I am still working on that one. Haha. I think a lot of things weighs you down. I feel lighter and younger. That works for me !
I will take pictures and try to keep you somewhat posted. Lots to think about. I am excited! Stay tuned…….