Sun. May 19th, 2024

Downsizing, Decluttering, And Life Changes….Oh My!

tiles spelling keep things simple
crop person with seashells on beach

Our journey has been erratic, to say the least. We didn’t know what we were doing when we sold our house in July 2020. The only thing we knew was, we were headed to the coast. Fast forward, and we’ve been here on the coast for almost a year, and we know it’s time to go. Time to go means more decluttering (which can be a mind-boggling task). Let me go back to when we moved out of our house of 20 years; it will give you a better understanding of the undertaking. If you are doing it, or have done it yourself, you’ll understand.

We made the decision to sell our house (3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 garages) and move in the Spring of 2020. Yep, right at the beginning of the COVID pandemic! We had been wanting to move for years and when we finally pulled the trigger, we had to navigate a worldwide pandemic. In that moment of time, nothing was going to stop us. We were moving!

The hard part; decluttering before getting the house on the market. We also had to finish the remodel of the kitchen, bathrooms, new flooring and the list goes on. Anyway, we had to wade through 20 years of stuff. Stuff that we had kept as it had meaning to us in one way or another. Most of the stuff, we didn’t even move with us. We sold everything from the BBQ to the excavator, boat, various trailers, etc. The big stuff was easy to sort through; it was the small things, pottery the kids made for us, mementos from family members no longer with us, and the like. Stuff from 4 or 5 businesses we had over those 20 years.

So Much Stuff:

When we got started opening all the boxes of items and clearing off dusty shelves, reality hit us; it hit us hard! We had kept all these things because we might need them someday, or they reminded us of an event, or someone special.  We could not remember what was in the boxes, however when we unboxed these items, the memories came flooding back to us. We laughed, reminisced, cried, got frustrated – all the emotions came out. I cannot remember who said it, Mike or myself, but we had not looked at these “things” in years. I am talking 10 to 15 years! That made us think, “why are we keeping these items?” Yes, they brought back memories, but they also took up space. Not just physical space, but mental space as well, causing our home and minds to become cluttered.

Not just physical space, but mental space as well, causing our home and minds to become cluttered.

We had talked about moving for years (15 years to be exact) however the question, “Where will we put our stuff”, came up every time. Some people call it settling in or putting down roots, which, to a point is correct. In our case it became suffocating. We wanted to move, however we felt unable to do so because the process of going through the “stuff” was too daunting. Our things had become a weight, keeping us in place. We were root bound, and unable to figure out how to get out of our situation.

Getting It Done:

How did we do it? How did we finally get started on the process and break free? We did it one step at a time. We started going through one box at a time, making the decision to keep, sell, donate, or throw out as we went. The process started slow, and grew steam everyday. We found, as we started going through our “stuff”, the important things stood out and everything else wasn’t needed. Things we couldn’t let go of, or items we truly thought we would need moved with us. We left a whole garage full of items at our house (I am not exaggerating), a garage full of stuff that we hired someone to haul away for us. It was liberating, we were free of the things that kept us tied there, and we moved on.

Here we are, a year later, downsizing again; going through the “stuff” we thought necessary to move with us. I would say the process is easier, since we just went through it about a year ago, however this time we will be putting our extra things in storage. It’s time to choose wisely. We will start with one box at a time and go through our lives again, making the mementos smaller in size, however keeping in mind we haven’t forgotten our past. We are working on making more memories to cherish; not collecting more things to weigh us down.

Related Post