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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Downsizing... Sort Of



My July book is The Forbidden Brother!
I’d never make it in a tiny house.

I’m clearing out my home this month as I’m contemplating a move. I’ve got furniture for sale to thin down what I own, and I’m dragging boxes out of storage to get rid of everything I don’t need. It’s so much tougher than it sounds.

Last week, I assured one of my sons that I wanted to get rid of everything I had boxed up in the attic. I figured if I didn’t look at it, I couldn’t get sucked into nostalgia or into thinking I might need something again. I had a vague idea that the paperwork was all from former jobs before I started writing romance. There were graduate school papers up there too, work that I’m proud of but since I probably won’t re-enter the academic world, it’s nothing I’ll need. Yet I feared that if I started looking through the boxes, I’d find things I wanted to keep. Sentimental memories of trips taken, friends that I don’t see anymore, you know the drill. So I gave an executive order to toss it all.

A few hours later, my son came downstairs with a photo of his brother as a toddler, the cutest picture imaginable. He said, “Are you sure you don’t want to check in the boxes first?”

There went my resolve! I had to dig through the old things, fearing I might throw away something vital. Yes, it ended up taking hours of my time, but it was really fun to walk down memory lane. I found photos from graduate school and remembered fun classes I took with people I haven’t seen in eons. A photo of a bear that I apparently saw in person in the Smoky Mountains and have no memory of. How could I forget photographing a bear in a tree? On the back of the photo, I wrote in ink, “The infamous bear!” Well apparently he was only infamous briefly as I’d forgotten all about him.

Thankfully, I did end up throwing away most of the box. Brilliant essays gone forever! All my carefully archived press releases written for my first job. All my memories from the time as a TV promotions director—in the recycle bins now. It would be easier if I could tell myself that I’ll always have the memories in my head, but if the bear is any indication, I actually don’t have a good mental record of the past! Maybe I should be glad that my life has been so wonderfully full I simply can’t recall all of it.

Win the follow-up to
The Forbidden Brother
I learned that it pays to have a strong son to help my cleaning endeavors. Also, that executive orders aren’t always a good idea given my faulty memory. And, as I sit here with a file folder full of old photos, I have learned that I’d never be a candidate for life in a tiny house. Who knows, there might be a book waiting to burst out of these old images, after all. I don’t want to miss out.

*** Tell me whether or not you’d be game to try living the tiny house trend, and I’ll give one random poster a copy of my August release, Wild Wyoming Nights! Learn more about all the McNeill Magnates stories at my website, and while you're there, make sure to enter my monthly contest.

30 comments:

Kathleen O said...

I could not live in a tiny house because I am claustrophobic. I could live without certain items, but the small pace would not do it for me.

T Fordice said...

no tiny houses for me either - like my space way too much!!

Paula R said...

Hi Joanne, I would NOT be a candidate for a tiny house at all. I am a packrat to the max. I mean, I would have to get rid of so many wonderful books, friends and characters I love to visit with whenever I feel like it. I think, I could visit a tiny house for a week, but not move in for the rest of my life. Notice, I said visit. There is no way. Plus, this claustrophobia thing that I wrangle with every now and then would make me go crazy. I am very glad that you were able to find pictures. And seriously young lady, how could you forget that you saw a bear in real life, in the wild? I'm just kidding. I'd probably forget too.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Kay Garrett said...

I wouldn't want to live in a tiny house mainly because I'm too old and too many problems to be climbing into a loft to sleep. Can you visualize in the middle of the night, half asleep, needing to go to the bathroom!

We did however, greatly downsize this last year when we moved into our dream home moving to the Ozark Mountains. We went from 3 bedrooms and lots of closets to one bedroom and one large walk in closet.

Few years before we had bought some Amish furniture we fell in love with. So when drawing up our floor plans, we pretty much drew our house around the furniture we wanted to keep. We designed it to where what we had always wanted and needed was in the house and left out all the extra stuff and rooms that we never used any way. It is true that the more space you have the more you will find "stuff" to fill it up with.

Over the years, I had acquired "stuff" from my parents stuff and their through their passing my grandparent's stuff as well. We have a tendency to hold of to things because they belonged to someone and not because it has meaning or us to ourselves. Fortunately I had lots of time to work slow and steady and was able to look at things asking is this something I REALLY want to keep, does it have true meaning or use to me and where will I put in in our limited space new home. If I could answer all three it got boxed up and moved. Otherwise it was sold, gave away or ditched.

Actually, I found it very liberating to get rid of "stuff" and keep the treasures. By the time we actually moved and things had set in boxes for a few months, I went through them with new eyes as I unboxed and a lot of things didn't make it into the home. After all, if you haven't used it in months, did I really need it. :)

A year after moving in, we have not missed a thing we got rid of and enjoy our new home with our things that we enjoy and not stuff we felt obligated to keep or just had room for so why get rid of it.

Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of "Wild Wyoming Nights"!
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Anonymous said...

Oh Joanne, I have moved all together in my life time a total of 10 times. Sometimes I see old pictures and think what happened to all my Barbies? Where did the West family dolls go to? The horses, Thunderbolt, Flame are all a distant memory from the West family. Then one day I was walking down the street an came across a antique store. There in a show case/ cabinet was Jane West! I never thought I would see her again. The price was way too high for me to even try to buy her. I did take a picture with permission. I walked out with tears in my eye's. I could never get rid of pictures. Last year I got my mom's pictures and have looked thru them. Some of the pictures , I too, do not remember!!! Where I currently live is my home. I won't ever move from here since I own it. After all this is where I grew up from 10 yrs old until I got married the first time. I love gazing out my living room window remembering as a teen hiking on that hill. I remember the blue berry bush I found. It's home! It's also where I found Doug and share these memories with him. Pam

Sue C. said...

I could not live in a tiny house. I need the feeling of open space. I like and enjoy my things but I make an effort to keep things neat and organized. I recently helped clean out my mom's house and learned a lot about what not to keep. My mom was definitely a packrat; she had 25+ years of bank statements, old utility bills, every old driver's license and credit card, etc. just a bunch of stuff she never looked at, just moved from house to house.

dstoutholcomb said...

I really don't think I could do it.

I have boxes like that in my basement. I brought them from home when I got married, and I've moved them several times. College papers, and the like. I know I need to go through them.

Best wishes!

Denise

girlfromwva said...

i guess i grew up in a tiny house. 9 people, 1 bathroom, 2 bedrooms. i had a bunk bed with a drawer underneath & Dad built a cubby on wall to hold most treasured items.
i think i could live in a modest size (750 sq ft.) home & be ok.

ptclayton said...

We have watched that show for so long and I would love to move to a tiny home and for sure have it on wheels. I could go visit my family more often in Ca. and it would be a place where the pups could stay while we visit some people and also see more sights. I think it is a great way to live especially for an author with a husband who could work from the road as they could go to all their signings and not have to leave their home nor pay for a hotel. Some are just so neat and well thought up! Hugs Peggy Clayton

LynnB said...

I would never make it in a tiny house ... my books alone would rule me out! LOL

I'm not claustrophobic, but I need more space than that to feel like it's roomy around me. And please, if I had to live in those tiny of quarters day in and day out with my husband, I might have to buy a second one just to keep from pulling my hair out! :)

Unknown said...

I could not live in such a tiny space. I need quiet to read. I like some privacy and space to be myself. I also have too many books for such a small place.

Janine said...

I couldn't live in a tiny house either. I've been dreaming of a closet expansion that is probably the size of a tiny house.

Mary Mac said...

My husband and I travel frequently in our 38ft motor home so I already no how to live simply. Thank goodness for Kindle or I would be in a lot of trouble.

Anonymous said...

If it had a full size tub, I could do it...maybe not permanently but from time to time...
Kathleen Bylsma
h5apby@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Vera Wilson said

After living in a mobile home *family of 5, would rather have my space.

snoopysnop1 at yahoo dot com

Christina Anderson said...

I would love to go through the exercise of downsizing to prepare to move into a tiny house, but couldn’t actually live in one. My books alone would fill more than one tiny house!

Linda May said...

I sold my house in Indiana that my late husband & I owned in Indiana & because I didn't drive I had to depend on people to take me place which gets tiring after awhile. I love to be independent & I couldn't live like that there & especially too many memories of our life together. I moved back to Chicago to be close to my son & his family & be able to get around by myself. I live in an apartment so I definitely had to downsize & that was hard enough, so I definitely couldn't live in a tiny house. Thanks for this generous giveaway.

Diana Tidlund said...

Hubby and I talk about doing it all the time. Buying a tiny house. Kids are all gone it’s just us and 4 cats that only leave my bed to go to the litter box or into the window. Or to the bathroom with me. One sits in the sink and one on the toilet and one on the towels and one in the tub with me so we don’t need a large house.

A.C. said...

I couldn't live in a tiny house full time. I am the keeper of the family history and I have boxes of stuff that will be passed down to the next generation.

But I would to stay in a tiny house for a vacation, they look so cute!

Eileen A-W said...

I don't think I coule live in a tiny house but at the same time I would love to RV around the country.

Latesha B. said...

I couldn't do the tiny house thing. I need somewhere to store my books, movies and CDs!

wimom said...

I moved so many time growing up that I could take my kindle and my pillow and live in a tiny house, by myself in the middle of nowhere. I prefer to have space and books, and...stuff (crafts and pictures etc) but could do it.

Diana said...

i could never live in a tiny house. i have been going through stuff and tossing some things need to do more but baby steps. I just find it hard to get rid of things that came from my mom before she died when i was 29 and then her angels that i got after she died that remind me of her.her cookbooks, which i really should get rid of since they are on a shelf never used but just can't make myself.

Laney4 said...

When my mom passed away, I had 50 years of memories to sort through. My eldest sister took a doily a neighbour crocheted. I took an apron another elderly neighbour embroidered. My brother took Mom's organ (like they'd play on Lawrence Welk, complete with dozens of chords wrapped around two rows of keys), old snow blower, and old sewing machine. My remaining sister just wanted the money. THAT depicts our family in a nutshell.
What that experience did for me was immeasurable. Mom had loose nail receipts thrown in her bedroom wardrobe (there weren't closets in the older houses) from 30 years previously for a house she bought and then sold 10 years later; *I* keep my business receipts 10 years and shred annually. Mom had "good china" and "silverware" that she rarely used; *I* requested NO good china and cutlery as wedding gifts, still don't have them, and still don't miss them 37 years later - what I DO have is a set of well over 50 everyday dinner plates in a matching pattern, to which I have added throughout the years from thrift stores (and store the majority of it in a box in our crawl space), as we have hosted a potluck party for 30-80 guests every year since the 90s (and have a dishwasher). Mom bought many items on sale, and we found paper towels stored in the bathroom closet, beside the deep freeze, beside the water softener, beside the dishwasher, and under the kitchen sink; *I* too buy on sale and store them in only the crawl space. Mom refused to get rid of anything, saying that "garage sales were for poor people"; *I* have organized yard sales on our street (for us and dozens of others) every year since my son was born in 1985, ensuring that many items didn't go directly to the dump.
All this is to say that we live in a small house already and I do my best to stay organized and get rid of no-longer-wanted/needed items, but I am not a minimalist. I have been sorting through items often, and I label most paperwork as "shred/burn when I'm gone". It's a never-ending job, but at least I try.

Kim hansen said...

I would love a tiny house. Less would be great as not as much to clean.

Shari said...

At times, I think yes to downsize but deep down I know I wouldn’t be able to do! Just my books alone, lol.

Laura Yeomans said...

I would love to live in a tiny house, but not sure I could get everything down to just the necessities.

I’m wondering if you don’t remember the bear, do you remember the puppies? One time your family, or at least you and your mom came to visit my family. You and I went down to my neighbors because their dog just had puppies. They looked like tiny bears. We had a lot of fun playing with the puppies!

Joanne Rock said...

Laura Yeomans, what I remember most from visiting your house was a year where there was snow on the hill (across the street, maybe?) and we spent all day sledding!! I don't remember the puppies, but I wish I did. So good to hear from you, old friend! I've seen your name online before and wondered if you were *that* Yeomans :-). Very fun to connect!!

Joanne Rock said...

Laney, your yearly garage sale idea is a good one! I enjoy shopping garage sales, but I'm bad about organizing my own (so much work!). I have a son who is great about things like that, however, and need to enlist his aid this fall to help me get some things out in the yard to get rid of them! Very wise to stay on top of the clutter.

Joanne Rock said...

Mary Mac, you're my winner this time!! All you need to do is email me at jrock008@gmail.com with a mailing address and I'll get the book shipped out for you asap! Thank you all so much for visiting the blog! And Happy 4th of July!