Half-way through the 1970's the "More-with-Less Cookbook" found its way into my family's home, a project hatched in the world-wide Mennonite community as it wrestled with issues of personal responsibility in a world plagued by food shortages.
Gerine de Jong's Blog
- Never in my life had I seen a basement work so hard for a home-owner. It sported a pool table, a wall unit, comfy sofa and chairs, half a dozen garment racks filled with half a dozen decades of favoured garments, a wine cellar, a tool room, an office, a pantry, overflow storage for shoes, grandmother's dishes, paper files, office supplies, photo albums, family archives, supplies to do with entertaining, gardening, gift-wrapping, flower-arranging, photo-framing, and of course, seasonal decorations.
- The house I used to live in had a modest basement fireplace, complete with electrical outlet, to power some kind of small electric heater, long gone. The wood mantel was designed in the 1920's, one of my favourite design eras, and was easily detached from the wall, painted and re-purposed in an upstairs bedroom, as a headboard.
- One of the best moments of any downsizing project is the moment when the floor plan falls into place: a well-loved table finds a spot, a favourite chair, a useful chest of drawers. A good floor plan will allow one's life to continue on smoothly, in its different dimensions.
- Last year, I was hired by a gentleman who was five years behind on processing all the paper that comes to his residence: everything from receipts and statements to correspondence to printed-out e-mails to Christmas cards.
- During the holidays I decided to tackle the toys lurking underneath my middle son's bed, deciding, first and foremost, that bins under beds should have lids: no one wants to play with a dusty toy. There I found a bin containing hundreds of small stones, each one unique, hand-picked by one of my sons on one or another warm summer day.
- Last spring, I participated in a Healthy Living Fair, and a lovely older man, Alan, won a three-hour organizing session in the draw that I held that day. I called him some days later, to drop off the "no expiration" gift certificate that he had won.
- Almost four years ago, I myself downsized into an apartment in Riverdale. My three sons and I set about downsizing our belongings. Some things were easy to let go, but some toys, books and games were precious enough to be stored in my mother's storage locker in the building where she lives. Each son has a bin there as well, full of keepsakes.