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Literally Lorna column: Downsizing -- Oh, what a relief!

Would you believe me if I told you downsizing your life and living quarters could be a huge relief? Most likely not too many would agree with me.

A year ago my husband and I downsized our living quarters from 3,000 square feet to 800 square feet. I was wondering how this was going to hit my anxiety scale. I was also thinking how in the world are we going to get rid of so much stuff? We discovered there are a few ways to about downsizing.

First, you must part with everything that you don't want to actually move. Second, of course you're not going to part with photo albums, certain memorabilia, etc. For that, you can rent a storage unit. Also, put items where they belong. Donate specific items to specific places. Lastly, if you haven't used it in two years, you probably don't need it.

I must admit, before we downsized our house I had to unclutter my mind first. I quit a lot of things, such as email, watching TV, Facebook, radio, getting the mail, phone calls, my ambassador role in Ellsworth and even my second job. I had to downsize my mental world and responsibilities first before I could get a grip on the next phase.

We decided on an online auction. Once it was explained to us how this worked, we figured, OK. It beat the garage sale idea, which we didn't have time for. We had too many items to just put on the curb and honestly we never really thought of an estate sale. Hines Auction of Ellsworth was great; they took care of everything. They took care of pictures, posting online, dates of open houses, moving items, selling items, etc. I remember telling my husband, "I would do that again in a New York minute." Two months later we found enough items to do exactly that, another auction.

We were instructed early on to put items away that we wanted to keep. This seemed easy enough, but then I found two rooms full of items we were keeping! I only made one mistake: selling a broken down chest of drawers and forgetting I had some items in those drawers. When I realized the piece of furniture was gone, I realized so was my favorite Yankees cap, my Rockford Peaches cap and a picture of my friend and I before playing a Minnesota softball tournament. Other items in those drawers I didn't seem to care about as much as those three things. When getting rid of so much I felt hurt that I couldn't get those "small" items back. Maybe, just maybe someone reading this discovers my three little treasures and can contact me but I understand the price one pays for getting rid of so much. Hines Auction told us "Put the items away that you want to keep."

We had quite the collection of books, from enjoyment to educational to reference. We parted with two boxes full and gave them to bookstores and local libraries. All pet items from kennels to water bottles were donated to the local Humane Society. There were only a few items we gave away as gifts, such as a print of a chocolate Lab puppy sneaking up onto a stuffed mallard duck titled "Quack Attack." I felt my brother would appreciate this fine print. Clothes that didn't fit my body or the times went to second-hand stores.

During this downsizing event, I really felt good that so many items were finding a new home, new life and still in need of somebody. That may sound strange, but that was how I felt.

Moving forward to the time of the physical move, it was only a couple months into living in a much smaller house that I felt relieved. I felt in control again of my surroundings. I enjoyed living in the bigger house with room to roam, but there is much to be said for smaller living quarters for someone with anxiety. Heck, I would recommend it, and I even started getting the mail again.