Moving On

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Moving Van at Palm HseThe seventy-foot moving van arrived this morning (an aggregator, transporting the possessions of different people all going in the same direction.)  I’m getting ready to move from my house of forty-five years into a condo in an active, senior retirement community almost four hundred miles away.  It’s a seismic change for me—scary and exciting all rolled into one.  It’s a good thing I didn’t know how awful such an endeavor would be, or I don’t think I would have started it.

I am a hoarder—not to be confused with a clutterer.  My house is neat and clean.  But, my closets, cupboards, cabinets, drawers, garage, and anywhere else you can stuff stuff are bursting with the things I’ve been saving for decades in case I might need them.  You know what I mean; the minute you throw something away, it’s not a week later that you’ll be searching for it.

I’ve spent the last months sorting through it all, including the boxes of stuff my son dropped off when he graduated college almost twenty-five years ago. So, now I must decide what to keep, give away, donate, recycle, or throw away.  It’s been painful, exhausting, devastating, cleansing, liberating, and consuming.

These days, you can’t just carelessly discard those important papers you’ve been accumulating.  Now you must shred them as they contain sensitive information which can be retrieved from dumpsters and used to steal your identity.  I attacked those papers with my little office shredder, but when that became cumbersome and didn’t make a dent in the job, I hauled about four hundred pounds of documents to a local shredding event put on by the city.

I culled my collection of thousands of old photographs taken  before the technique became digital. I threw away snapshots of beautiful rivers, mountains, deserts, canyons, and other assorted scenery I long ago forgot the locations of. I vow I will never take another picture of anything that doesn’t have a human in it whom I know and like.

You can no longer throw paint, medications, household cleaners, electronic devices, and the like in the garbage.  You must haul them to the toxic waste and electronic disposal sites.  Each time I tried to throw such an item in the dumpster, my good citizen guilt pulled my arm back and made me put it in the trunk of my car for proper handling.

Of course, I elected to pack my own things; I’m no wimp.  To that end, I trolled alleys visiting those same dumpsters seeking cardboard cartons to pack what remained. Loading up my car, I drove home with my daily harvest.  Finding the boxes was easy. We have become an “order online” society, throwing away the wonderful containers used to deliver our purchases. Huge boxes grew in my garage to a total of twenty-nine, waiting patiently for the moving van to collect them along with the furniture I chose to keep.

I have become buff with all the physical labor I’ve been doing. It’s more effective than working out at the gym and a lot cheaper. I will be sad to leave my home city since childhood and my friends  of many years. Conversely, I’m eagerly anticipating my coming life and the new friends and experiences that await me. Is it time for you to move on? It’s better to do it when you can rather than when you must.


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15 responses to “Moving On

  1. Adele Watt

    Welcome to Rossmoor!!!! You will love it!
    🍸🍸 Every good wish Adele

    Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:47:09 +0000

  2. Wishing you the best!

  3. Nellie Deom

    Good morning Lee Gale,

    Hope you are well. I just read your blog! So have you moved already? Jeez it just seems like everything is speeding by! Please be sure to give me your new address. Wishing you much happiness in your new home. Keep in touch.



    Sent from my iPad


  4. Sheila Sauber

    Hi Lee Gale “up north”…Very worthwhile blog! Much emotional Effort is involved in the long and drawn out process of moving. Take your time unpacking….enjoy making new friends and new hobbies. Keep the blogs coming….

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Roger Trammell

    …one of your best, LGG. I hate moving more than almost anything. You seem to have a good handle on it though. Good luck in your new adventure.

  6. zimatravels

    I daresay you will most likely have to continue throwing away/giving away even though you think you’ve done it all. Although I knew they were there, I re-discovered hundreds of letters from my Chinese students over 25 years when I had the inside of my home re-painted. Because China’s recent history has been so amazing, these letters were actually valuable for research. Stanford University’s Hoover Institution was delighted to have them, along with my book, “Memoirs of a MIddle-aged Hummingbird, and some of my photos of the old China. I’m so happy they found such a good “forever” place. My own college was glad to receive a senior project that has become a relic of its time. And I’ve added the books I’ve written to that archive too. So, perhaps think about archives as a place to “put” your stuff. Good luck in your new location!

  7. Alan Levine

    Will miss you, but I have other friends moving to Rossmor and have heard all good things about it. Enjoy life and keep writing.

  8. Marlene

    Wow, terrific piece. Just a few weeks ago the New York Times ran an article about specialists who assist downsizing seniors–for $100 an hour! And you did all the culling and packing yourself. Not mentioned in the article or in reader comments: proper disposal of toxic items and electronics, and shredding. Both important. Much joy in your latest digs and I look forward to reading about your new life.

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