Friday, July 10, 2015

Downsizing



I want to start blogging again. I also want to make more progress with downsizing. So maybe I could blog about downsizing. It might become a virtuous cycle. Who knows!

Downsizing is hard. No wonder most people don’t do it until they are old and need a nursing home. By then they’re too sickly to do it themselves, so their kids have to come and do it for them. Being childless we don’t have that luxury.  So here we are. Wanting to start early before we are too decrepit to do it ourselves and still healthy enough to enjoy the results when we’re done. 

We started off well. My husband, J, even seemed enthusiastic. He bought a slide scanner and even scanned a few slides. That was a couple of months ago. I haven’t seen him doing it since. He said not to nag. He’ll be more likely to do it if I don’t. (To be fair he has been building a retaining wall on one side of our house for several weeks.)

Meanwhile I have managed to donate several boxes of books and miscellany to the youth rummage sale in May; and I recently finished shredding a large pile of old documents—both ours and my Mom’s. I’ve made several attempts to go through old letters and other keepsakes. Those have been less successful and fraught with emotional currents that wore me out and kept pulling me off track. 

So maybe my next main project should be to digitize my old cassette tapes. I already donated some to the youth rummage sale. Come to think, I don’t remember seeing any of them at the sale. I wonder if they just went straight into the big rubbish bin in the parking lot at church. Quite a few went into our rubbish bin before that. They were so distorted I was annoyed I had bothered to keep them all these years and I knew no one else would ever want them—even if they had a cassette player and weren’t too embarrassed to listen to something so old fashioned and out of date. 

I thought I would start with important irreplaceable ones such as my Dad’s and Grandpa’s memorial services, J’s sermons, his Dad’s sermon and several similar. So far I have digitized three of those. But I keep putting off doing the memorial services. Maybe I just need to bite the proverbial bullet and do them next. After all why keep the tapes if I never want to listen to them? (Unlike digitizing cd’s, cassette digitizing involves actually listening to the recording. ) I was at both memorial services so I did hear them the first time. What did people do before technology? They just remembered what they could and didn't worry about the rest. But since I have them, I know I could never bring myself to dispose of them without making a digital copy first. So there you are, the double edged blessing of technology.

I may digitize some of the music, but probably only if it’s not available on Itunes. 

I do wonder though about digitizing in general. From articles I’ve read on-line it seems the usual way people downsize now—digitize everything. It seems sort of like cheating--not as many hard decisions. 

It also takes a lot of time. And then you end up with hard drives full of files (or whatever people currently use.) Will we ever look at the stuff again? Will we be able to find something when we want it? And what happens when technology changes? How much time and money will it take to convert the files to the new technology? 

For example, we have a large box of floppy disks (remember those?) that will need to be converted over sometime soon or it won’t even be possible anymore. It may not be now. Do we still have a working floppy drive? And what about the software needed to convert them? Is it still available? And how many hours will that take? My carpal tunnel won’t let me do it. Besides it’s mostly my husband’s stuff. When I brought it up he sort of groaned.  I know, I know-- don’t nag!.

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