Helping My Parents Downsize —SCB


I have spent the last few weeks helping my parents move from a large home to a much more modestly-sized condo. While they have moved multiple times in their adult lives, this is the first time they have had to downsize and make some difficult decisions about which of their possessions to keep in their home and which to give up or pass on. It is hard, sometimes emotional, often exhausting, work.


This process has left me questioning the choices I make in my own home. My husband and I moved to Portland 15 years ago with little more than could fit in the station wagon we drove across the country. Newly pregnant, I spent the first few weeks in my new city sleeping on the hardwood floors of our empty apartment. At the time, I was overwhelmed with worry about how we were going to create a home for our child, but now I find myself nostalgic for the simplicity of our lives (but grateful for a mattress).


We have, over the years, bought a home and filled it with a cobbled together collection of cast-offs, secondhand finds, gifts from our artistic friends and family, and hand-built treasures. Almost everything has a story, each object is heavy with meaning and memory. As much as I aspire to simplicity and abhor clutter, I find my home beginning to overflow with all this goodness.


This week, as I brought home a few small treasures from my parents’ home (and one large rocking chair), I thought about the balance of nostalgia and restraint, and the work I need to do in my own life and home. It is liberating to think more about what I don’t need than what I aspire to acquire, leaving psychic and physical space for all that is still to come.


Home is also the focus of the next issue of 3191 Quarterly which will be out in May (shipping to our subscribers first, and then made available in our shop). This weekend, we are offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on our current issue, 3191 Quarterly Issue No. 13 which has the theme “Out + About”. We wanted to welcome all the new visitors who discovered us through the Instagram feature as well as say thank you to those of you who have been with us all along.


It is a great opportunity to explore more of what we do, with every issue just $14 each. As always, we are extremely proud that our publication is produced, photographed and written entirely by the two of us—free of advertising and sponsorships and printed in the USA. It is truly a labor of love and a celebration of everyday beauty, and we are very excited to make it a little easier to bring one home or to send one to your own faraway friend this weekend.

Thank you!