As empty-nesters, we are preparing to downsize. Today I attacked my bookshelves. Some of my medical books I can pass on to my daughter who is in the same line of business, but medicine advances at such a pace that much of what is on my shelf is useless and will have to be pulped. Some of my text books date from the 1980s.
I have a lot of books and journals that I kept because I published an article in them, but honestly, nobody is going to be interested in that and to retain them is pure vanity. Out with the lot of them!
Another shelf contains books on grammar, which has been one of my pedantic obsessions. I hope I might get something from the second hand bookshop for some of these. Many are in mint condition, and you only read them once.
Then I have shelves of books on religion. Some of these I will give to the library of the local Bible College, but if anybody wants a particular religious book that I might have, write and ask me and you can have it as a gift.
My poetry books I will keep.
Novels I have mostly already given away. I have a lot of biographies, but I think many of them are on loan from my children. If they are not, it's off to the second-hand shop.
I will still have many unread books. I must make a decision as to whether I intend to read them. If they are just decoration, they must go. Our new house will have yards fewer bookshelves.
I have already given away all my wine and spirits to charity. Since my illness I have become teetotal, and my wife always has been. Virtually every bottle was a kind gift from a patient, so it is right that they should go to raise money for cancer research.
I am unwilling to dispense with my CD collection. I have just about the whole repertoire of classical music (apart from the unlistenable stuff from the Twentieth Century). But my son can have all the vinyl records.
My DVD collection, I'm not sure about. I have promised my collection of war films to my grandson, but the rest of the collection I might just keep intact.
I am aiming to get rid of a huge amount of paper. Why I ever retained what I did, I can't imagine. I guess I was too busy to throw things away.
My wife tells me that one of the worst experiences of her life was to sort out her father's possessions after he died. Much of what there was had only sentimental value. We don't want to wish that process on our children. Rather we will ask them to take their pick of our possessions now. Anything that is unwanted can go to house-clearance.
When we look for our new house it will undoubtedly have smaller rooms, so much of our current furniture will be too large, and in any case we have had much of it for over 40 years and we could well buy something that looks good, rather than because it was all we could afford at the time. I hope that a lot of what we need will be fitted already so that we won't need wardrobes and the like.
I once read a book which suggested that each member of the family should have one small suitcase to contain personal mementos. Everything else must go.