The Ink Penn

I thought we’d resolved the question of moving or staying 10 years ago, but it came up again late last year. As I walked in the door one evening after cocktails out, my husband greeted me with, “I think we need to move; the upkeep for this house is just too much.”

We’d been through this before. Yes, we’d love to have a smaller home with a master on the main and less yard to maintain, but we’d looked and couldn’t find anything to suit us. My solution to the upkeep problem is to hire people to do the work instead of wearing ourselves out doing yard work and heavy tasks like cleaning the porch ceiling and removing and cleaning all the screens.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks he should do it all. Why? Because he always has. I say, “Be sensible; you have a bad back; you need to give it a rest.” And so the conversation goes. That particular night, he’d had it.

I might have panicked at his pronouncement, but I’d just spent time in a section of Dunwoody I didn’t know existed, an area with patio homes that I thought would suit us fine. Instead of panicking, I swung into action. I spoke with a real estate agent, started getting listings to consider, and made plans to have her look at our house after the first of the year.

Long story short, after thinking it over, my husband decided he really didn’t want to leave the house we love. That was fine by me, but after spending six weeks thinking we would be moving, I thought we needed to downsize without downsizing. By that, I mean downsize possessions. The prospect of someday readying our house to sell and then packing up to move made me realize we had lots of work to do.

We made a list of the minor repairs we’d put off and attended to those. We also started clearing out closets, the basement, the workshop, and what I call cubbies. Cubbies are the small storage areas in our bonus room. You cannot believe the stuff we got rid of. Well, actually, I bet you can.

We took items to Southern Comfort and called Furkids to pick up pieces like the futon, chairs, and headboards. We called Just Trash It for the stuff that wasn’t good enough to consign or donate plus the workshop pile of scrap wood and paint cans and such. We packed up bags and bags of books and magazines to take to the Friends of the Dunwoody Library.

Finally, I tackled the photo albums I’d inherited from my mom—the albums neither of my sisters wanted, but I couldn’t bear to throw away. After pulling out photos of my sisters to send their way and letting my husband choose some he wanted to keep, quite a few have been trashed. We three girls don’t have children who might someday want the pictures, and I knew my sisters would have to get rid of the albums if I didn’t.

In the cubbies were boxes of loose photos, old stereo equipment, even a canvas chair. My husband couldn’t resist looking through the photos from my first marriage. Me? I figured if the photos had never made it into the albums I have from that era, I didn’t need to look through them now.

I don’t think we’ll ever be done downsizing our possessions, but we’ve made a substantial dent. And, once again, we’ve made the decision to stay put. I wonder how long that will last.

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum, and on Amazon. Contact her at, and follow her on Facebook,

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