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Editor's note: This column was originally published July 9, 2015

How did my house become the dumping grounds for everything my kids don’t have room for in their own homes?

The past several years, we’ve made a concentrated effort to downsize and simplify our lives. By no means am I saying we’ve got one foot in the grave, but we’re enjoying our lightened load at home. Our garden isn’t as big as it once was. We no longer have chickens. We no longer have horses. We butchered our hogs. Our little free-ranging goat died last summer.

Now if we could just do the same in our basement.

I like things organized. I won’t call myself a neat-freak, but I do like things clean and orderly, so the living area of my house is not a problem.

When Carson returned home from college for the summer, it was an adjustment. In fact, it took us longer to adapt to him being back home for the summer, than it did when he left last fall. And all that stuff he brought home with him!

Of course, most of it went to the basement — the graveyard of items that once held so much importance, but have since been generally forgotten. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.

But, that’s understandable in his case. He’s sort of a nomad at this point, just waiting until Aug. 5 to make the move back to Ames. And other than the deluge of pop cans left laying around my house, and numerous pairs of size 13 shoes he leaves at our kitchen door, it’s all good. So that’s the excuse for his stuff. But the other two kids? The two that have been gone 13 and six years?

Mick gets fired up to clean the basement every fall and he always makes it look so orderly. How he manages it, I’m not sure. I know I have trouble letting go of certain things that bring special memories to mind, which is silly, because my memories won’t change or become less dear just because I don’t have a tangible item stored in my basement. And he has the mentality of “well, I might need that someday.” I figure that’s fine, though — after all, it’s OUR house.

But we are the caretakers of winter formals and prom dresses, baseball cards, disassembled futons and bunk beds, coffee tables, 5 or 6 window air conditioners, dinnerware and kitchen appliances, container on container of clothes, winter coats, old cleats, microwaves, a dorm fridge, blankets, dressers, TVs, a bicycle — we’re even fostering a house-cat that doesn’t get along with our own two cats nor one of our three dogs. Oh, I forgot to mention two couches — one of which has been sitting in my dining room since February!

But when Carson moves in August, he will become an apartment dweller and amazingly enough, we will be able to furnish that apartment.

So anyway...

I started to list the ‘dining room’ sofa-sleeper couch as ‘free to anyone who will take it’ the other day, when Mick piped up, “no, just wait till Carson moves and takes the twin bed from the little bedroom. We can put the couch in that bedroom for company.”

I needed to remind him that was the room where we will be knocking out the wall to expand our own bedroom.

Yep, I’m still working on that one.

Contact Dana King at 641-792-3121 or

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