I read an article the other day and I gotta agree… Yes, “downsizing is the way to go” in retirement, even if it is your dinner plate. This article really got me thinking. Retirement does mean downsizing … even in life’s other avenues. We downsized our housing just before retirement, that is we moved into the granny flat that we built for my parents a decade previously. This mainly because between the dining room… The Mans favourite haunt, and the lounge room, which was my haunt, we never saw much of each other. This is a sure path to divorce I figured so things had to change. My parents lived in the granny flat in their time, until my Dad passed and my Mum decided she really wanted to be elsewhere. She is now settled in a small retirement unit on the mid coast that is closer to most of the family and she has been happy there for some years now.
Downsizing has become a way of life for us though. We began years ago with the granny flat and our home arrangements, present and past, are now perfectly suited and modelled to our needs. When hubby was made redundant we quickly downsized again to the caravan… we had serious lifestyle and travel plans and the time had arrived.
I have been blessed in that I haven’t actually had to deal with disposing of furniture and chattels. Some would see this as a disadvantage as a number of my friends enjoy the regular turn over of chattels but me… I like things to last a lifetime and that isn’t 12 years… it is a minimum of 25 years for most goods. Electrical appliance sales men hate me and have exhausted themselves trying to convince me that it’s the lifetime of a bug that they refer to when it comes to service guarantees on items we purchase these days. Our chattels on a whole have had to face various stages of rearranging and gifting throughout their lives, right down to regularly giving away all those extra pots, cups, plates and clothes that you initially pack in the van… and then never use. It is all common sense really and The Man’s reasoning is often pretty flawless … if it is frustrating to the ‘gunna use that one day’ brigade, namely Me. But I have to concede to common sense regularly.
You can read our journey through the years here, the tales are listed in ‘Oldies at Large Aus’ or alternatively, if the internet if flaky or overly expensive where you are at the moment, try the e-book ‘Discovering Australia and Her Lore’ which is a extensive compilation of these articles. The second edition on our latest year of travel will be out over the next months and these books only a few bob or the cost of a coffee in e-book form. There is a rather expensive print book available, produced mostly for my own use and record. I have little input into its print cost as it is loaded with coloured pic’s and this regulates the price, but it just might suit you better if your like my Mum and prefers a physical book to handle.
Now downsizing as I have mentioned, is a way of life after a while and we have particularly downsized our dinner plates. This came about after we both gained just a tad too much weight to accommodate our activities. Plain and simple… we ate too much. We were accustomed to three meals a day in our working lives, The Man in particular, and it often involved a solid dinner that would satisfy a family. This ultimately made for a enviable collection of ready made meals in the form of left overs, stored in the freezer for those… well… off days for cooking that you get while your tour about. Now left-overs are handy but when you start giving them away to lone travellers… particularly males The Man has befriended along the way, then it is time to reign in the practice. We have downsized the plates and the pots with a measure of comfortable success and a subsequent weight loss.
At the moment we are looking to downsize the wardrobe. Being full time travellers we have to carry all-seasons attire. We have learnt to bag and stow the heavy winter stuff in summer (love the zippered cooler bags from the supermarkets) and visa versa in winter. It doesn’t help that I have a hard time staying away from one of my greatest entertainments… markets. It doesn’t help that I enjoy a good sale like most of the female population, but it does help that I have a large female contingent of family who we regularly visit on our travels and who often will enjoy the odd item collected along the way. But The Man came up with an idea I have come to hate! It is called ‘the pile mentality’. Hubby converted the hanging wardrobe to shelves for me and a wonderful thing it is too… however this gives rise to ‘the piles’ and at the end of each season when we do the swap around between hot and cold clothes, whatever is at the bottom of ‘the piles’ are items commonly not worn and therefore considered up for disposal. Bugga!
Women all over Aus’, particularly travellers, will recognize the problem… there are those favourite things. Those special clothes that just have to stay and which rarely get worn when you’re gallivanting along a beach, or clambering up a trail, or even just lounging about under the shade of a tree or the annex. Yet these clothes are ideal, if not essential, for the city or even the occasional club. The Man just doesn’t understand.
If he hoikes them as he his threatening to do, then this woman is gunna go shopping when we hit the cities of our world, and it will be with a vengeance. He remains warned. There are some things that involve downsizing that just don’t cut it.
Jan is a traveller and author and you can find more information about her books here and on her web site.