I’ve never been one for having too much ‘stuff’. It all just becomes something to dust. Stuff hangs around as clutter. But somehow, I had still managed to collect a lot of if.
In the summer of 2017 I owned two homes and had rented one to a friend for well under fair market rent. The one I lived in was way more house than I needed. More space, more upkeep and more cost. But it was a cool older home with exposed brick and character galore. Plus, it was fun to say I lived on Hollywood Street.
Why did I think I needed that much house? I didn’t need it, and was going a little bit upside down each month to have it. It made financial sense to sell the rental home. To save even more money, I considered renting part of my home out.
I went to meet with a lady who was looking for a new housemate. Her perspective, advice and experience were what I sought, but what I found was my new address. I took a crazy leap and sold my personal home too, and moved in with her.
As a 45 year old professional who’d always owned her own place, that move baffled a lot of my friends and family. It’s non-traditional, admittedly, but not worthy of judgement.
I lived with the roommate for 16 months, then bought another house, adopted her dog and moved out. Eight months later, I rented the house out and moved right back into my old space as a housemate.
It didn’t take long to remember, that I don’t love the responsibility of home ownership anymore. Ultimately, I want to be in a tiny home or RV so this is my next stepping stone for getting that portable.
The downsize from 2,400 square feet into maybe 500 square feet took months. It was a liberating and slightly sad journey. Furniture sold, clothes donated, household items, decor, everything… dispositioned for another life elsewhere. Many physical reminders of memories tossed out.
Then I had to fill a much smaller house, so when I was moving back in with the roommate, I had accumulated more furniture I no longer needed. I downsized again and that process continues a little more every day. Being minimalist is ongoing.
My new rule is that when I buy new things, old ones have to go. If more old goes than new comes in, even better. I also have to wear the things I haven’t worn in a long time. If I don’t feel awesome in it, it has to go too.
There’s been one hurdle in that process ~ things you don’t love to wear/use/dust but have a little sentimental meaning. Like this T-shirt ~ I’ve kept it all these years, simply as a fun reminder of great times in school. I haven’t worn it in years, but did pull it out this week to sleep in.
This morning ~ that thing is going in my donation bin. I woke up remembering why I hadn’t worn it. I hate that shirt. It’s scratchy, the neck is kind awkward and the sleeves are just a little bit too long for a T-shirt.
“But I was in that speech league, woman. I won some.” my sentimental self told my minimalist self. My minimalist self won by taking a picture of the memory before tossing it out. You’re winning minimalism when you decide the memory can always be there, without the uncomfortable t-shirt to prove it.
I had already downsized everything that had a bad memory attached to it. The initial big purge, took many nights, a few bottles of wine and lots of walks down memory lane. I’d found letters from high school and college boyfriends! If I didn’t make room to keep a few pieces of paper, there was no need to make space for a scratchy t-shirt.
Physical stuff, just like old beliefs, regrets and grudges ~ they all just weigh us down! What are you holding on to that you don’t need? Downsize it out of your life!
Downsizing is a constant process to keep stuff you do not need out of your life. There is much that we all carry, that we really don’t need. Take an honest inventory; of shoes, of extra linens, of negative beliefs, of things that take your time and I guarantee you’ll find a few things that are weighing you down in some way.