I’m a sucker for old stuff.

Dishes, cookbooks, toys, teapots, bric-a-brac – you call it junk and relegate it to the recycle bin or dump. But it’s treasure to me, and I refuse to part with it, despite my noble efforts to downsize and rid myself of all things old.

My husband and I took downsizing seriously when we got ready to sell the Massachusetts split-entry we’d called home for 37 years and move to our new condo in Maine seven years ago.

We painted, buffed, scrubbed and polished. But, most importantly, we cleaned out the attic, which held nearly 40 years of memories from our longtime abode.

Tucked away in dozens of boxes were old checkbooks and utility bills from previous homes that we’d owned. There was tattered artwork that we’d declared “masterpieces” when our kids – now in their 40s – painted them in preschool. And there were worn college notebooks, outdated text books and too-small ski gear from the days we schussed the slopes three decades before.

Boxes of unused Christmas ornaments teetered near piles of frayed Easter baskets. Heaps of mismatched mittens and hats towered on the seat of a half-finished chair I’d tried to upholster in a long-ago adult education class.


Junk, objects, ephemera – you name it, we had it and then some. We’d crammed so much stuff into that jam-packed attic that we were like hoarders, overwhelmed with our things.

So we hired a young guy for 20 bucks an hour, and in five hours he carted everything down from that attic to our empty garage. It’s the best 100 dollars that we’ve ever spent.

In that garage, for days on end, we sorted and tossed old clothes and toys, papers and trinkets, furniture, pillows and holiday décor. We threw out heaps of clutter and countless memories from decades of domesticity in that special spot.

But here’s a secret to which I freely admit. When John pitched news clippings from my longtime career, I retrieved them quickly and put them in bins. They’re ensconced here in Wells, hidden away in an upstairs closet, safe for all time – until he decides to purge again.

We got rid of so much stuff we’d stashed for so many years that we felt free and unburdened – despite the newspaper clippings, a few teapots from my vintage collection and family china I’d saved from childhood summers at the family home on the Jersey shore.

But, drat! Didn’t we end up moving to a vintage nirvana? We’re surrounded by thrift shops, each overstocked with countless rare finds.

My attic is empty, so downsizing be damned. I’m a sucker for old stuff – now who wants to shop?

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