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Column: Cleaning out closets or living a simpler life?

Several weeks ago, I made the transition from a house we lived in for 45 years to a two bedroom apartment.

Things that were so important 40 years ago were stacked on the shelves in the basement. Thirty-five years ago I had a garden and big apple tree and dehydrated a lot of the produce for winter. The vegetables were so easy to use when I made soup or made apple bread for Christmas. Our son used it to

make venison jerky but that was 20 years ago. The ice cream freezer made delicious flavors of ice cream before we had one in the refrigerator/freezer.

Then I found the beer stein we bought in Germany and the little wooden

shoes from Holland. There were many sets of glasses stored in boxes or totes. There were many totes of Christmas decorations. Over the years, I planned to sort them out and just keep a few. There were several boxes of things I got from my parents' home that I had to go through. There were little clipping my mother thought I would enjoy someday.

Of course I had all my cookbooks and many of the pictures in boxes in the basement. When the children were young, I made a scrapbook every year and kept the extra pictures in envelopes, planning to make a smaller book for them when and if they met their biological parents.

When that day came, I just pulled a few pictures for their reunion.

There was crystal, silver, wood and plastic dishes on the shelves. I really wasn't a hoarder, but things just never got recycled. I'm sure in our convenience driven culture, I used some but squirreled away others thinking I would use them someday.

I admit that I was a hoarder of cookbooks. Every year I'd end up with two or three boxes of new ones. People sent or gave them to me and I just kept adding to my collection.

The thing that made this move so hard was that I couldn't walk down the basement or put pressure on my right leg. That meant family and friends

brought everything upstairs for me to sort. It became overwhelming at times.

After two weeks of sorting, donating and trashing a lot I was moved into the apartment. I haven't unpacked the boxes yet but I try to do several a day.

I have fewer projects and more time to focus on things that are important.

What I considered so important just doesn't have the same meaning for our children.

I only took what I needed and wanted and blessed others with things they can't live without. I know it will be easier for the kids to clean out the apartment when the time comes. They say God only provided us with things we can take care of. I found this to be so true after the move and a simpler way of living.

Apple bars

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup apples, peeled, cored and spread in bottom of 8x8 sprayed pan.

Cream butter, sugar and egg. Whisk flour, soda and cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and pour over apples. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.