Carlotta is a woman who once had fame and fortune, who knew what it was like to live in luxury. But in the movie, she is no longer young and beautiful, no longer pursued by men who want to woo her with furs and diamonds. In fact, as her career wanes, she finally reaches the point where, as she tells her dear friend Oliver Jordan, “I haven’t got a sou!” Yet she faces life with courage, concern for others, and as you see in the clip above, a sense of humor.
The character of Carlotta is a role model for me. Over the last decade or so, the lousy economy has dealt my family some hard blows. We lost a business and had to sell our family home. Our income is nowhere near what it once was.
It’s often tempting to feel sorry for myself, and sometimes I do. But most of the time, I want to be like Carlotta. I want to face the future with a sense of hope and charity.
In that spirit, I wrote Downsizing Your Life for Freedom, Flexibility & Financial Peace. It’s had a good response, and I’m grateful. Now I’m writing another book related to it that I hope will also help and encourage others.
Times are challenging for many people these days. I want to help others by sharing what my family has learned, and by telling everyone that being proactive about change, especially change you didn’t ask for, is the best way to get through hard times and keep enjoying your life.
My sister is getting ready to sell her 6-bedroom mansion and downsize to a two-bedroom condo. For most people, this would mean spending weeks or even months going through everything, deciding what to donate, what to sell, what to pitch and what to allow in the new place. That’s how it was for me when I moved from our 5-bedroom house to a tiny ranch.
But that won’t happen to my sister. She has plenty of furniture in the home she’s about to sell, but she’ll sell most, if not all of it, without a backwards glance. As for the personal belongings, well, she doesn’t have that many.
You see, my sister is the opposite of a hoarder; she rarely keeps anything. This was predictable way back when we were kids sharing a bedroom. Her twin bed was always neatly made, with just one cute little doll or stuffed animal on the pillow as a decoration. Meanwhile, my bed had at least half-a-dozen dolls on it.
Her side of the dresser held a little ballerina statue and a hair brush. My side was covered with belongings and mementos of all sorts, starting at the imaginary line in the center and running out to the very edge. She often looked at my side of the dresser and said, “You’re such a slob!”
I disagreed; I just loved all my stuff, and I had lots of interests, which automatically translates into lots of stuff.
As a budding writer, I regularly used a toy typewriter I got for Christmas. It was parked on a card table in the corner of our room that I used it as a desk. Like most writers, I was also an avid reader; my Nancy Drew collection took up most of the space on our little bookshelf.
Of course, I had other toys besides the dolls on my bed. I had lots of Barbie dolls so they could talk to each other, and naturally they had lots of clothes, and they needed a furnished Barbie house, which I also had. Then there was my love of sewing, which let me to collect fabric remnants, sewing tools and a collection of patterns.
Meanwhile, my sister had very few belongings because she had very few interests. I don’t remember what she did back then besides fight with me over the sorry state of my side of the room. I do recall that she took ballet lessons, but other than that I think she mostly watched television. To her complaints about my being a slob, I usually retorted that she was boring.
She still is, to be honest. But she’s got the edge on me now, because her move from the mansion to the condo is going to be the smoothest downsizing ever, I just know it.
This jumped out at me from among the hundreds of photos used to advertise a local estate sale online.
I subscribe to emails from a few local estate sale agents because I love to go to estate sales. I try not to buy anything that will clutter up our little house, but there are certain things I need or want and I find that older items are often much better made than modern ones. For instance, I buy almost all of our linens and towels at estate sales, because I love getting vintage linens and towels, often still in the package, at a fraction of the price of modern linens and towels. They hold up forever!
That said, I wanted this specific toy grocery cart because there is a certain adorable little girl who is just learning to walk, and I want her to have this toy to play with. Many years ago, we bought a grocery cart just like this one for her mother’s first birthday. We got rid of it after our youngest child outgrew it.
My husband doesn’t like the rare occasions when I buy something we used to own. His logical thought is, “Why did we get rid of it in the first place if we were just going to buy another one?”
My response is, would you have preferred to trip over it all these years, or have it take up valuable storage space, say in a storage unit where it would pick up that funky odor that outdoor storage units seem to create on stored items?
One of the advantages of the Internet is that you can find just about anything you might want to buy, even if it’s old or dated. So you can get rid of most things knowing that if you do ever need them again, you can buy them online. In the meantime, your surroundings remain uncluttered. Works for me!