“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

It’s spring, technically, today it feels distinctly early February but it is spring and soon enough you’ll be cleaning, purging, gardening, revamping. To that end I’m reposting this piece from nearly three years ago when I started the overwhelming process of downsizing from a large four bedroom home back to downtown Toronto and into a 1 bedroom plus den condo. A big job accomplished over several sometimes rather frustrating ‘just take this’ phases eventually ridding myself of two thirds of what I owned.

I miss nothing. Read on…



Ah the wise words of William Morris, the famed English textile designer and writer. I’m very much keeping those words in my frontal lobe these days (frontal lobe…is that where I want these words? Maybe that explains the challenge…).



It’s been a whirlwind, every day we’re moving stuff from room to room for the painters and workers, every day we’re touching this stuff trying to decide ‘Is it useful?  How many of these do we have?! Is this valuable? Do I love this?’ — that beauty Morris refers to. It’s been tiring but it’s a great exercise and reaffirms what we all know: we have too much damn stuff.

Late night sorting…

Donating to various charities, always a good idea: we’ve made numerous trips to Goodwill, we’ve had the Canadian Diabetes Association pick up bags of clothing from our front porch (so helpful when you’re busy renovating), we’ve taken books to our local used bookstore for credit and had them donate those they can’t use to other charities.

We had our first ever garage sale! We did well selling off items that we don’t need, won’t have room for, things like a ukulele I got at age six from my dad’s company Christmas party (feel free to wonder why I still have it…), a bb gun my grandmother gave me at 10 (I debated adding this to the sale, somehow it felt wrong but it’d been living in my parents house for decades, now here for a few more years, and it was an adult making the call to buy it so…). I sold some tables to a lovely woman who was buying household items to help furnish apartments for Syrian refugees—I’m a realtor, I tend to talk a lot and dig a little—we will no doubt have more furniture and housewares before our big move, another donation I’m happy to make. Thus far we’ve not discovered inadvertently selling off any beloved items though as an only child an endless array of family keepsakes tends to come my way, it’s tricky letting go of some of these.

What have I found in the early days of a premature downsizing? As the cliche goes: eye on the prize, we’re downsizing to return to a major city where space is at a premium, for us life will be about living in the city as well as in our small urban home. I’m trying to assess what I really need and want not just the wants because I live in a large four bedroom house with a basement….you know what ‘basement’ means. I don’t know about you but I’m inspired by articles offering pointers and lists, it helps me shape my approach (or it just offers that shred of hope when I need it), check Style at Home for thoughts on downsizing and for other home design and decor ideas.

A touchstone for me when I need motivation—I’ve got my copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up  living on my night table; it’s not just the advice it’s the tone, the author’s voice, dipping in for even one page end of day gives me hope.



You can’t, and shouldn’t, purge it all…this hat box was my father’s from his show horse days, it held his formal Biltmore show hat, mid 1960s, it stays.





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