28 Aug

When I get caught up in my own downsizing efforts—how much stuff I have, how long it takes, how many decisions I have to make---I try to remind myself that I am really lucky! I have a house, furniture, appliances that work, books, photographs, and mementos going back to my birth (and before that, from my parents’ earlier lives.) How many people don’t have these things because of lack of personal resources? Or because they were forced to leave their countries with what little they could carry, as my grandparents both did during the pogroms of the 19th century (and as today’s refugees experience)? Or because their homes were destroyed by fire?

But this week, I am thinking particularly of the residents of Houston and other areas inundated by the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey—people who have not only lost their valued possessions to water but who now may be displaced for months as their homes are repaired or who may have to relocate permanently. Maybe some are people like me, who just last week were undertaking their own downsizing projects and now have much more basic concerns, such as shelter and the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.

I know I need to keep my perspective. My things that I am fussing over are just that---things-- as much as some are imbued with memories of my life and my family. In the grand scheme of life, they are not important.

So I will consider how my own downsizing can help the flood victims in some small way, whether by direct donation of items they can use or by the proceeds from selling items I no longer want or need. For starters, I have a perfectly good 19" TV, a small chest of drawers, two dining room chairs, and two brightly-colored handhooked rugs made by my mother (one 4' round in yellow, orange, and brown) and the other 2'x4' in navy, burgundy, and rust. Any offers?

Photo credit: Reuters/Richard Carson

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