Purging the Stuff

Julie Ballantyne Brown
4 min readJul 22, 2023

Bins of memories.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

My husband and I will be moving in a few (two? three? maybe?) years. Time enough for him to retire with all that he wants, for Youngest Child to graduate from college and have home close by in the meantime until he figures out what comes next. Time enough to figure out exactly where to relocate, a lot having to do with where our boys will end up. Ocean access is a must.

Where we live now isn’t awful. In fact, it’s a really nice neighborhood in a nice city. It was a great place to raise our boys and has wonderful neighbors. In a few years, though, we’ll be ready for something different. (Again: ocean access is a must.)

In the meantime, we are slowly preparing. Fixing things in the house that need attention, but no major overhauls since we won’t be here to see/use them. Getting ready, a bit at a time, to leave the world of home ownership and rent where we want to live with no lawn/property to maintain.

We’ve also started on downsizing the stuff that we’ve accumulated in the last 26 years. We’re not awful at getting rid of stuff on a normal basis, but we have more of it than what we need, accumulated over the years. Definitely more than we want to take with us.

We’ve started small with the house stuff: tree trimming in the back yard, beginning to find garage roof estimates, basement waterproofing, and other boring homeowner stuff. Oh, and windows because ours are awful.

We’ve also been going through boxes and bins. And more boxes. And more bins. Along the way, we’ve been going through a ton of memories and keepsakes. Stuff like:

  • A million old report cards from the kids (recycled).
  • Countless school photos from friends through high school (kept some, got rid of lots).
  • Old postcards from my grandma on her travels (kept).
  • An obituary from when my great-grandfather died in 1984, along with the photo of him that I kept on my dresser for years (kept).
  • Old band stuff like the camp shirt from when I was the drum major (kept), my drum major boots (trashed), trophies from sophomore and junior years (kept).
  • My baby teeth (wtf?… trashed).
  • Books. So. Many. Books. (Donated).



Julie Ballantyne Brown

Future London resident. Follow Julie on Twitter: @BrownBallantyne or on FB and Instagram: @JulieBallantyneBrown