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Way too much stuff to consider downsizing

It has occurred to me that the husband and I will never be able to downsize - or not for some time, anyway.

It has occurred to me that the husband and I will never be able to downsize - or not for some time, anyway.

This is not because the sons will be living with us forever, or because we really like cutting the lawn or because we have an aversion to absolutely adorable two-bedroom row homes with wrought-iron window boxes and brass doorknockers.

This is because of the stuff. Try as I might to turf it, it keeps returning. The house, in fact, is rather like the trash cans. On Monday, they're emptied. A week later, they're full.

Fact is, you can't downsize when you have 2.7 tons of stuff, or approximately 4.5 billion individual items, including, but not limited to: CDs, books, casserole dishes, photo albums, Christmas ornaments, placemats, and several thousand pennies and paper clips that live beneath the sofa cushions.

I have tried to purge, but this is what happens. Out go a casserole dish and half a dozen placemats. In come two casserole dishes and two dozen placements, courtesy of my dear mother, who really doesn't need hers anymore.

Oh, and two chairs, a lamp and a late uncle's oil painting. He would have wanted you to have it, she says.

Out go seven boxes of books. In come another 10, thanks to the son who's just finished grad school and needs a place to park them while he's transitioning to the next phase. Oh, and can we also please stash the George Foreman grill, the wine glasses, toaster, coffee pot, six golf bags (I kid you not) and the armchair and stool?

Our house is currently - how shall I put this?

- challenged. It contains not only our belongings, but those of others, many of whom aren't even related to us.

At the side of the house, for instance, is a bicycle, which transported one of the sons' friends to a party at our home a year ago. Think he'd decide to retrieve it? Nope. We'd call him if we knew who he was.

Then there are the golf clubs - again, not ours.

(To the owner: you know who you are. Please? Come get them?)

Never mind that we have no storage. There is no basement in the home, and no usable attic.

A quasi laundry room, therefore, has become a receptacle for our stuff and others. It is crammed to the ceiling with stuff, some of which I have forgotten about.

For all I know, there's a car in there. I just can't happen to see it.

I want to make one thing clear, however: I am not a hoarder. Far from it.

I'd love to live with a lightened load. Anyone out there in need of some placemats?