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How Letting Go of My Cake Cutter Demonstrates the Emotional Complexity of Downsizing!

By Margaret Manning January 10, 2024 Lifestyle

Downsizing is always a personal journey. For older women, in particular, the downsizing lifestyle involves a major shift in mindset. We don’t just have a few things here and there to throw away. We have a lifetime of memories and purchases. It gets complicated at a very fundamental level. Letting go of stuff also involves letting go of a part of ourselves. Not only that, we hold on to the strangest things!

I have collected my fair share of stuff over the years. As I look around my room today, I can see that I am getting closer every day to deciding on the clothes that truly reflect my personal style. I am finding it easier every day to say yes to the things I truly love. That simplification of my life is straight forward and relatively easy. Clothes are just clothes!

The more complex projects are underway. Most books are gone as are the pictures and postcards. I still struggle with letting go of handmade items, but the best way I have found that works for me is to let one item go every day.

It’s the Little Things That Hold the Most Power

As a woman over 70, however, it is sometimes the very small things that are the hardest to let go. The little unique and often peculiar items that are filled with memories in every fiber of their being. I am still lingering on the memories, and the small items that I am not quite ready to let go – yet.

One of these seems a little obscure even to me – and I am not sure why I selected it from a sea of kitchen stuff. It is a cake server. I think it is because it has been used for so many Happy Birthdays, so many I love you’s, so many Sunday dinner rhubarb pies with vanilla ice cream.

This beautiful cake server has celebrated so many work holiday celebrations and sad goodbye get-togethers that I believe it has accumulated great power over the years. It is that power over me that makes it hard to throw away.

In particular. I think like most people, birthdays do have a huge significance in our lives. Even if, like me, you can get stuck at an age that you think will make it more comfortable dealing with the aging process. At one point, I stopped at 59 and I swore to myself that I was just going to stay there forever. Why not 🙂 It was not until I started Sixty and Me that I was able to embrace my age!

Cake Is the Perfect Pro-Aging Supplement

And cake just seems like the right pro-aging therapy. Embracing calories in the face of fast reducing metabolism. I remember even when I have been alone for my birthday, I’ve bought a cupcake in to celebrate appropriately. It is just what you do. That is where the accumulation of stuff begins!

I am not even sure where I found this beautiful little treasure but I do know that it cut the “My Little Pony” cake with blue icing for my son James’s 4th Birthday in London. I remember that he dropped the cake carrying it from one room to another. There were a lot of tears but it was delicious anyway!

I know it was used for cutting the ‘chessboard’ cake for my son Nathan’s 17th birthday. It was a beautiful creation from a company called Amazing Cakes that cost more than I would spend on a week’s shopping these days.

It was used for dinner parties with gourmet carrot cake and cheesecakes with raspberry glaze, and it was used for the specially designed divorce cake that I made for myself as part of many attempted healing and liberation ceremonies. I think Marie Antoinette had it right when she said ‘Let them eat cake’ – she knew that eating cake is one of life’s great healing experiences – a way to celebrate the little moments that make this crazy life memorable.

This is the challenge and complexity of downsizing. I hope I use my precious cake cutter for many more cakes and pies and flans and happy memories. So I keep it.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you have any quirky or unusual items that have so many memories you cannot let them go? Have you considered why that particular item is so important to you?

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Things that must be kept

Eileen Johnson

Love this story. Simplifying is good but some items remind us of happy, fulfilling, special times that validate we did great things in our lives. Keep the positive, let the negative go.


I have too many of these memorable odd little keepers to mention! So many wonderful memories. I am contemplating purging and this makes me realize why I procrastinate !


Yes! I have a toothpick holder I grew up with and when my Mom died, I took it. :) Love this little item.

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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