Winter Parks and Streets, Vacating Storage, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colorful Monotones

Christmas week at Lake Anita, Anita Iowa State Park…

Deer in Lake Anita State Park - Anita Iowa

We didn’t have a white Christmas this year. The deer are hard to see until they move, and the white flags of their tails show up against brown and gold surroundings. 

We’ve had some sepia days in Atlanta too…

Atlanta in sepia - clearing after a storm

The end of a storm, with stop lights like little red eyes on the next street over. 

Segue to a cool palate — here’s my November triumph…

Empty storage bin

It’s my second storage bin and YES it’s empty!

With a lot of help, I’m now down to one storage bin. When I sold my house last year, the plan was to get one bin and keep an apartment’s worth of furniture. Then I found at the last minute I wasn’t quite as downsized as I thought I was. The only thing to do was get an extra (but smaller) bin for the overflow. Then at the very last minute, I needed yet another. Bin number three got consolidated in April, and bin number two by the end of November.

Here it is when it was almost empty…

Almost-empty storage bin with vintage dress form

What -? Doesn’t everyone keep a vintage mannequin around for decoration? Oh yeah, and a mineral specimen? And a 70s reel-to-reel recorder? And archived paper towels?

Now that I’ve sneaked a little color in, I’ll share one more storage view. Here’s the first bin this time last year. Some things are gone now, but it’s still packed pretty tight with boxes from the second bin taking the place of some furniture — there’s plenty more work to be done.

Storage bin number one

Always a dilemma – what should I keep and what can go? 

I have to keep the red wicker rocking chair. My great aunt gave it to her husband for their wedding anniversary in 1929. I adopted it in the 80s when they downsized from their farmhouse and moved to town. It spent most of its life as white wicker, but I went a little crazy and painted it red a couple of years ago.

It’s still an odd feeling to go visit my stuff in storage — sort of like a window into my past life. Soon (I hope) I’ll be down to just what I intended to keep.

Have you ever had a storage bin? I’d love to hear others’ experiences with downsizing.


More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colorful Monotones


7 thoughts on “Winter Parks and Streets, Vacating Storage, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colorful Monotones

  1. congratulations on downsizing and closing down this bin!! You have accomplished much in the past few years. I have never had a storage bin – but I have had a garage and basement seriously overcrowded. I can get my car in the garage now but there’s lots on shelves surrounding and in many nooks and crannies. My sister (who is very much like me) had three storage bins at one time. She & her husband bought a new house & decided to only move in what they could agree upon. Lots of non-agreement resulted in 3 storage spaces. They have since emptied the bins, but it was several years of hard work to accomplish.

    • Oh do I ever hear you on the garage and basement! I remember an embarrassing moment on a rainy day — a friend was with me and I drove into the garage to keep us dry, but with the passenger door on the wall side and garden supplies stacked along the wall, there was no room for her to get out. Sounds like your sister and her husband had a good plan and the will to carry it through.

  2. your connection with the red wicker chair makes me realize how much similarity we have. Part of my problem is the connections I have with my belongings. I cannot get rid of the rocking chair that belonged to my dad’s great-aunt, I love it! So many enjoyable moments rocking at my parents’ home over the years, then my dad gave it to me about 20 years ago. But then I have his table, bookshelf, the cedar chest he had made for my mother from the wood he cut & dried, and then,… Books tucked in shelves bring their own memories. This weekend as I went through pictures, I shed quite a few tears over those. My worst tears are shed over my son’s items. He died when he was 20. As I looked at his little boy memories and pictures, I realized no one else (NO ONE!!) wants these pictures, report cards, notes from teachers; no one will treasure them as I do. (makes me cry even as I write this). Each time I go through I part with a few items – but I don’t know what to do with all of them. Sorry for sharing quite so deeply, but somehow these words came out today. As I asked my husband (my son’s step-dad) what to do with B’s things, he is at a loss and agrees no one else wants them.

    • My heart goes out to you on your connection to your son’s things. I’ve had a similar problem with my late partner’s things, including furniture his father made and quilts his mother made. I gave as much back to his family as they would take, and finally had to part with most of the rest, choosing just a few things to keep. But I’m still going through a few boxes of odd bits that sometimes have his things in them… scribbled notes, cards, reminders. It was years before I could let go and finally had to just tell myself he would not want me to obsess so. I completely understand just letting go a little at a time and keeping what you have room for. Would it help to photograph the things you decide to let go? That was one thing that helped me a lot.

      • that is a great suggestion. thanks! I could keep the pictures and gradually let those go too. I gave his wrestling trophies to his dad because he asked for them; then he got rid of them almost immediately (not what I had in mind). Differences here – my ex-husband and his wife had a garage sale 2 weeks after B’s sudden death (motorcycle accident) and sold his things that were at their house. Maybe that insensitivity is what hurts my heart so much and makes me hold onto the items that I have. There is obviously much more to this story, but you have helped me think this through more clearly. A quick aside – we adopted B when he was only 3 weeks old, in the days of ‘closed adoptions’ in Ohio so knew very little about his biological parents. When he died, I contacted the adoption agency and they were wonderful, actually contacted the bio parents and I was able to take a box of B’s boyhood treasures to share with them. The memories made with them are treasures in my heart & mind – they each loved learning about the child they had as teenagers. Thanks for this ‘therapy session’!! I am really ok, who knew that a red wicker chair could bring so much of my thoughts to the forefront!!

      • My red wicker chair has justified its existence! It sounds to me like you handled your circumstances with love and consideration and sensitivity, especially by going to the lengths of finding your son’s bio parents. I think we share the belief that we continue to connect with our lost people through the things they left behind. I even have things that belonged to my parents that I can’t let go. And on the topic of keeping photos — I think one of the great benefits of the digital age is that we can take, and keep, myriad photographs. (but I’m careful to keep backup copies, and now that I think of it, I really should keep a few as print copies just in case) Best wishes to you in the New Year — sending comfort, and sympathy, for your loss, Sandy

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