I have a hard time getting rid of stuff. I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder… but my husband might call me that. Oh come on, I’m not that bad, I don’t think. (Insert Denial). So when the “D” word came up, it was hard. Yes, we have downsized. It sounded great in theory. Lets streamline, make things easier for ourselves.
We recently moved from our 5 bedroom 3500 square foot house, to a barn apartment that has 1400 square foot or less. I am guessing here, I have no idea how many square foot this apartment is. It only has one actual bedroom and two smaller rooms. One we use as a nursery and the other we use as an office. This is quite the change from our big house.
When we moved, we left most of our furniture, and quite frankly most of our stuff in our house. We wanted it staged and we simply didn’t have room for all of our stuff in our new apartment. We then preceded to procrastinate cleaning out our house until we sold it… And guess what, it finally sold. And now here we are with all this stuff.
How do two people accumulate so much stuff in such a short period of time? How did we (My hubby and I, just the two of us) fill up a 5 bedroom home in two and a half years? I honestly don’t know, but we did. We filled almost every closet and room with something.
In order to begin our new lifestyle, we need to simplify. Jump off of the American over consumption train. My hubby isn’t the one guilty of this lifestyle. When it comes to personal belongings he appreciates simplicity. He may have wanted the big house, but I am the one that filled it up. I am the other end of the spectrum. I tend to accumulate stuff, and always find a reason to hang onto that item I might need some day. We are good for each other, and work to find the balance somewhere in the middle.
I continue to be drawn to a simpler life, where I can focus on more basic things. I have spent much time thinking about how to go about simplifying and down sizing. I am even reading Jen Hatmakers book Seven right now. No, I am not going to jump on the seven train. But there are some lessons I am learning from her experiences, that I think will help me during the downsizing transition.
First- Downsizing Possessions
This first step came out of sheer necessity. There was absolutely no way we could bring everything from our house to our apartment. There just was not enough room for everything, even with the small space we have in the barn for storage, we needed to purge. Fortunately for us, we have family that are in college, graduating, moving, etc. and they needed furniture. Between them and the trips to Good Will, we got rid of 3 trailer loads of furniture. How can anyone have that much extra stuff. What is worse, is there is currently a large pile of boxes and furniture covered in an ugly blue tarp on what should be our front porch. All things we have to unpack and find room for. Clearly, there is more that we must get rid of. I am glad we are simplifying. It is making me think of what I really need. Do I really need to be keeping as much stuff as I do? I am really bad about getting rid of things. Especially if it was a gift. Someone put thought and effort to buy it and give it to me, how can I just toss it out? But our family is great at gifts, and generous, so at some point I have to get rid of a few thing. In this case, I desperately want to have a front porch instead of a hoard taunting me.
Possessions is pretty easy. I knew for quite a while we would need to get rid of furniture and decorations when we finally sold the house and knew at first pass what we would get rid of. But after listening to Jen’s chapter on clothing, I know that there is more work for me to do. I don’t have a place for all of the clothes I own, and I am great at making excuses. “I have to keep multiple sizes because of my thyroid, I gain/loose weight frequently” “What if we have another baby, I need those extra sizes” “I might be able to get into that again some day.” “Just because I haven’t worn it in two years doesn’t mean I won’t wear it again”. And so on.
I think back to my pregnancy. I only had a few dresses I could wear at the end. And the month after my baby was born I wore two nursing dresses all the time. It was so easy to pick out my clothes. Jen writes about how easy it was to get dressed with her seven articles of clothes. She didn’t have to spend much time mulling over what to wear, much like the month after Davi was born. The laundry pile was also much smaller.
Part of my donation pile
I have been trying to get rid of clothes, but it has been a slow process. And my size does fluctuate, so I do keep a few different sizes in the closet so I am not always spending money on new clothes. I just don’t have time to shop that much. But last night I reached a bit of a breaking point. I was dreading putting up the laundry because I didn’t have a place to put it all. So, I got rid of more. About once a month I have been trying to get rid of a box of clothes. It is easier when I think, “I don’t wear this often, and I can give it to someone who needs it.” So today, I am off to a local charity with another bag of clothes, and my closet looks a little thinner.
Is there a lesson to be learned here? Oh, tons of them actually. But the lesson for today is that I need to learn how to let go of stuff a little better. And when our possessions are the cause of our anxiety, they need to go. I can’t keep stressing about where to put our stuff, when most of it we don’t even need.
Have you downsized recently? What was your biggest hurdle? Send me a tweet @JessiHarbor #Downsizing
Matthew 6:19-20 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”