An alternative title for this post was “She’s Come Undone.” Not just a wonderful book by Wally Lamb, that phrase relates to what I am feeling these days–searching for change and rediscovering my core. As I’ve read more, researched more, and listened to countless TED talks and podcasts, I’m realizing that a more minimalist approach to life is the way I want to trend. I’m not talking about getting rid of my couch and sitting on the floor (crazy town), but just paring down to the essentials. To get there, I have to unravel a lot of STUFF.
Do you know I had over 15 vases? I rarely have more than one live bouquet of flowers in my house, if that. How about over 500 books, most of which I didn’t care to read twice (although I’ve read all of them once, and many dozens of times). We have multiples of everything, as Jason and I are both over-buyers. We’re consumed with catching the deals, having enough. Some of it is ingrained–Jason’s parents buy multiples of everything when it is on sale. I used to do that, too. Then I realized I actually wasted more since I’d forget about it and it’d expire in the dark corner of the pantry, only to be discovered and thrown out a year or two later when I was doing a deep clean. My folks went through lots of lean years where we’d have to buy knock-offs, so I am really into name brands. I’d score a deal on a name brand something or other, only to use it/wear it a few times before I realized I really didn’t care for it or it didn’t flatter my shape. I’ve wasted so much food. I’ve sold at a loss, donated or thrown away so many things. It’s money, resources, and energy, just wasted.
Not all of it is a complete loss, of course. We had an epic garage sale last weekend, where we made over $1,500 in selling stuff we don’t even use. I sold $800 worth of stuff to friends before the sale. Over and over this past weekend, people said to us, “You have such nice stuff!” and “You have beautiful things!” One man, watching his wife load up some shopping bags with our sale items, turned to me and said, “We just had a lawn sale last weekend. I guess we’re stocking up for the next one.”
We donated the equivalent of those two big rolling bins to Goodwill after the sale; and still there is more. I unpack a plastic storage bin and bring out more items I haven’t touched in years, haven’t needed, but might some day. Why do we need all this STUFF? All these things that have to be stored, cleaned and maintained for the some day use. My mom was amazed at the amount we had stored. The problem is, I’m really good at organization, so I could fit even more in than you would expect.
Jason and I are putting our house on the market this weekend. As you know from our house tour on this blog, we moved into our 2,500+ square foot house in 2012, and were thrilled with the size and the land (5 acres). Today, I’m tired of spending one of my weekend days cleaning the house and at least 3 hours maintaining the property a week through mowing, gardening, outbuilding maintenance, etc. We’re downsizing everything–the house, the land, the STUFF.
I’m reevaluating my own priorities in life, as well. What do we want for ourselves, our girls, our future? What is most important, what is most valuable? I can tell you one thing–for me, it’s not the STUFF. I re-read this post I wrote over a year ago…so funny, it shows how I’ve been moving this way for a long time.
This post is not a judgement in any way on people with or people that want large homes filled with lots of things. This writing is a reflection solely of my own values and thoughts, and what works for our family right now. If certain chains of events hadn’t occurred, I might not even be here at this moment. But they have, and we are adapting.
I plan to finish out our current home tour here on the blog and then chronicle as we search for a new home and what we are focusing on. I’ll be significantly downsizing, so a lot of posts moving forward from me will likely be around storage solutions for small spaces, reducing items in your home and simplifying your life.
Stephanie and I are both excellent organizers and can help you focus on what really matters in your house. If you are feeling like I was, let us help you on this journey. We can help pare down, organize, stage, and figure out the best use of space. The perfect place is where you’re at right here, right now–we can make it work for you.