Why would anyone want to do it?
1st obvious answer is financial. Many people move from a large family home to a smaller, more manageable property to free up the equity tied up in thier house.
Maybe the garden is too big and takes up too much of your valuable time and perhaps you would prefer to spend your hard earned cash on travel rather than fixing the roof or the garage door.
Maybe you just don’t like the thought of leaving the job of sorting through a lifetime of your stuff to your children after you have gone.
Or maybe you just think it’s about time you cleared out that attic, basement or garage to free up some space.
Whatever the reason, you will find that once you truly start the process, it becomes much more than just a clear out.
Everyone I know who has gone through the exercise tells me it has been emotional, therapeutic, sometimes painful but often cleansing and healing. Sometimes bringing closure to a lot of hidden “issues”.
I can’t tell you the satisfaction I felt when I eventually had everything pared down to the minimum. It was a release from the emotional baggage of the past I had unknowingly been carrying around with me.
Well it’s been over a year since I downsized my life, packed up my home and moved from a large 3 bed bungalow, with loft and garage, to a small two bed apartment with one storage cupboard. It has been quite a disrupted year as we first moved into rented apartment whist we waited for our new build to be ready. So two moves in a year then!
……..and how have I gone on since?…..have I accumulated more “stuff”?
I wrote about packing up 34 years of my life.HERE and asked the question “How do I get my life into a box”…..and the answer was RUTHLESSLY!
Deciding that I wanted a completely fresh start, I sold most of my furniture on EBAY Keeping only our very large bed and the two single convertible guest beds .
I sold most of my excess, non functional stuff at a car boot sale, anything that did not serve a functional purpose and I had not used in the previous year.. Keeping only ONE box of sentimental memories. ( which I still have not opened)
The rest I packed up and put into storage whist we rented. When we eventually moved into the new apartment while I was unpacking I asked myself did I really need this item, can I live without it? and if the answer was “no” it went to the charity shop or in the bin.
So, you may ask, since then have I fallen into my old ways? have I accumulated more “stuff”
I can honestly say I have (SMUGLY!) become a born again minimalist! a tidy person!
..and all because I read the secret to living in a smaller space was to keep the mindset,
Put it away NOW!
I have become the sort of person who has a place for everything and everything in it’s place…… Which is so much easier when there is room for things because your home is not cluttered with all the “stuff” you don’t need.
Happiness is finding an empty cupboard!
So what are the hard learned “rules” for downsizing.
- 1. As you start to go through your cupboards, drawers, loft , garage ask yourself .
- What function does this serve?
- Do I need this?
- Do I use this?
- Have I used this in the last year/two years/five years? (whatever time you put on it)
- I used to have cupboards and suitcases filled with clothes I never wore. . Clothes that were too small or too big “just in case” I gained or lost weight. Well when I DID gain or loose weight I bought new ones. So once I realised that, it became easy to take anything I had not worn for a year to the charity shop or dress agency. If you keep separate for a month (each season) the clothes you wear, you will realise that you wear very few of your clothes, just a few favourite items. . Pack away the excess and in a year give or sell them. I keep all my clothes in my wardrobe, no need to pack away the winter/summer stuff as there is room for them all on three rails.
- and now the golden rule is, ONE IN ONE OUT…. If I buy a new item of clothing I choose something and it goes in the charity box under the bed.
NOW THAT SENTIMENTAL STUFF!
This was the difficult part. With each item I asked my self.
What does this remind me of?
Why am I keeping this?
Why do I not want to get rid of it?
Do I ever look at it or use it?
Will I miss it if I get rid of it?
When I packed up my home, I allowed myself ONE box of “sentimental stuff” which was stored in my daughters garage. A year later I retrieved the box because I felt guilty taking up space in somebody else’s garage. I couldn’t remember what “precious” things I just could not bear to part with so it was a nice trip down memory lane to open the box.
Some of the things I put away at the top of the wardrobe, where I am sure they will stay untouched till after I’m gone, but really if I lost them tomorrow I would shed no tears.
…..and of course the other thing is ..BOOKS!
I got a kindle! Lol!
Good for you. Glad everything is working out OK. I’m not sure I could get rid of my books though… and I couldn’t do the evil Kindle thing. I don’t think I could read like that. Good job that you can though!
Well mine was a gift, but its a revolution! Wouldn’t be without it now. Nice to see you still reading FM. I’ve been absent for a while. Love Denise
Haha yes I understand what you have said and I am trying to follow your example, but a smile creeps across my face when I see you return from a “little visit” to a garden centre with a new trophy to add to the decoration.
Hahahaha! The terrace is the exception Lizzie
Good for you to get all that “surrendering” done! I have made a good start but somehow just can’t get the ambition to finish – maybe your blog post will inspire me to get going again!
Well Sandy, its not for everyone and sometimes we are pushed into it, but its well worth it in the end even if it takes a year. Xx love Denise
I can’t believe how timely your blog is for me! I have been packing and purging for the last week! I sold my condo in less than a day and have to move into an apartment on May 4! Joel sold his house 2 days after I did and will move to Cincinnati on May 7!! I am having all my “stuff” picked up by an auction house and I CAN’T WAIT! I want it all out of my house! It feels great to let this “stuff” go. I feel lighter by the minute! I feel free! Denise, you have been an inspiration and role model for letting “stuff”go. Thanks for the blog. I read it to Joel! XOXO
I can never get over how quick the US house selling business is compared to the English system which takes months and is so insecure. Congratulations on both selling . now you can start a life together. And yes you are so right, how light we feel having shed some of the negativity of the past. Xxx
What a great post Denise! I found letting go of the “stuff” easier than the memories. I moved from a large house to a one bedroom apartment last year a few months after my separation. I only took my family’s antiques that I had before we got together, my clothes and a few other items (TV, couch set, microwave). I left most everything else behind. I found I did not miss the large house or all the stuff it came with.
We closed on our house a few weeks ago. I was once again faced with what to take. I took almost nothing else because I found over the last year that I didn’t really need anything more than what I already had. The hard part was what to do with my memories ~ my wedding album, all those photos of our trips, pictures of our family in the early days. In the end, I only took what wouldn’t make me sad to look at, which meant I left most of it behind. I may regret it later, but it’s time to make new memories. I like my pared down life. I’m happy you do do.
And Jane, congratulations to you and Joel on selling your places as well and starting your new life together!
Jo, thanks so much! I want you to know that I dumped 30 photo albums! They were of my travels over the last 30 years. Those memories just didn’t mean much any more and I, like you, am creating new ones. So, out with the old and in with the new! 😊
Jo I think that’s such a good philosophy, only keep what doesn’t make you sad!
I am getting a bit over zealous about this though. I won’t have more shelves because I’ll only be tempted to put things on them. Lol!
You are so strong. To come through and keep a positive outlook. You are an inspiration to me. Xx
Thanks guys. I’m trying every day to move forward 🙂 I’m blessed to have so much love and support from family and friends. Denise, enjoy Paris and kiss our queen. I will be there on May 1 🙂
Great post Denise, good to see you back on here!
I’ve been trying to convince David of the benefits of downsizing now we are thinking about moving, using you as my inspirational example! Don’t think it’s going to work though. He has a roomful of books that he simply will not part with even though he has a kindle, and I suspect his cameras and computer equipment will need more than a small corner!
In fact at the moment it feels more like we will be upsizing from a small 3 bed mid terrace to 3 bed bungalow, preferably with a garage and large loft to use for storage!
Hahaha! You could have had my bungalow… To be fair to David, photo equipment is functional and doesn’t count as “stuff”. Although how many cameras do you need? Maybe you could do as my friend who just couldn’t bear to part with ” stuff”. and rent a storage facility nearby. Love Denise
It’s not the camera that’s the problem, it’s the tripods and lenses, and then there’s the computer and 2 monitors used for editing the videos!
Can you come over and go through the boxes I have left in the spare room from my shift this week – I need your help asap !
I did feel for you when I saw your FB post about moving. Just leave them and throw them away in a year! Trouble is till you empty the spare room nobody can visit! Lol! Love Denise. Thanks for dropping by.