Are you a minimalist? Do you live in a Tiny House? Do you eschew collecting things? Is your house neat as a pin at all times?

Unfortunately, most of us cannot answer Yes to most of the above questions. Is it possible that collecting, saving, or hoarding are part of human DNA? 

Did our friends, the caveman, and cavewoman evolve from hunter-gatherers of food to finding and keeping none edible items? Perhaps the lady of the cave wanted to spruce up the place. Did she get the cave version of Lenox vases for wildflowers? Did she strategically toss cured animal fur around the cavern for a bit of ambiance?

Perhaps her caveman partner caught the decorating bug from the lady of the cave. Did he save parts of animals he killed and insisted on displaying them in their home?

Once the couple, or if it was a commune, the couples, decided to move, they more than likely had stuff. Were those folks more practical back then? Did they choose to carry essential items and leave the rest for the next “cave renter”?

Keep in mind, back then, the only available mode of transportation was walking and carrying. Let’s fast forward to today. Our stuff multiplies whether we collect things or receive them.

For example, the lady of this manor collects Santa figurines. When family and friends discovered her passion for the jolly old elf, she received similar gifts until she set a moratorium on Santa gifts. If you doubt the size of her collection, bear in mind the photographed displays do not include the ones she puts on the Christmas tree each year. 

After 25 years, when this lady and Hubby decided to move to the Funny Farm, they approached the daunting task of elimination and packing like a journey with three diverging roads.

The first path took them down ancient memory lane. Part one included going through 25 years of stuff stashed in the attic. Imagine their surprise when they found several boxes of the lady’s college notes. Why did she save them? She planned on using them in her teaching career. The reason for not becoming a teacher is a tale for another column.

Can you imagine how delighted the trash folks must have danced a jig when they saw the piles of trash waiting for them on trash pickup day?

The second path included the monumental garage sale, which included a 19 ½ foot Bayliner boat. The decision to sell the vessel was logical and practical because once Hubby opened his pharmacy, the words day off and vacation did not exist in their lives.

Following the attic shock and garage-sale-sweltering in the Texas heat came the packing and the move itself. Even though the lady took 400 books to Half Price Books (for which she got $25), Hubby and his brother took nearly a week just to move (2 pickup truckloads of volumes per day). Then we moved the rest of our belongings.

Suddenly another 25 years have passed. Although this lady weeds out clothing and other belongings often, the belongings just keep secretly multiplying. There must be a hidden 3D copy machine somewhere around here.

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to clear out and find happy homes for all this stuff.”

Even those this lady keeps a tidy house, and someone once told her she is the neatest packrat that person has ever met, it is time to downsize belongings to a more manageable level.

That is when the nightmares began. What to keep and what to sell, donate, or giveaway?

Is this lady ready to downsize? Yes and No. The agony of deciding is constant. When her head hits the pillow at night, that is when the pesky thoughts creep into her brain, and hours later, she is still wide awake.

Having said that, perhaps it is time to share and pass on the Santa collection to folks who will enjoy them as much as Hubby and his spouse have.

Reading two or three books a day was great during COVID. It is time for new adventures.

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