Downsizing Our Stuff

| 10/21/2016 10:49:00 AM

Martin ParmerOur journey to a homestead has continued in earnest lately. Our primary focus right now is preparing our current home to be sold. There are many small projects to do, like patching sheet rock, painting, and replacing broken floor tiles. But the one project that we’ve really been focusing on lately is getting rid of stuff. Like most couples, we’ve accumulated way more stuff than we really need. We then maintain a home much bigger than we need to hold it all. The insanity has to end somehow.

After our daughter graduated from pharmacy school and had gone to work, our efforts to move her things and the remaining stuff that belongs to our son intensified. Except for an odd item or two, we carried her last load down to her house last week. It is true that we gave her a few items that were technically ours, but she wanted them, and she had the room for them. As the enormity of it all dawned on her, I couldn’t help but poke a little fun with her, because it was actually kind of funny seeing her realize exactly how much stuff it really was. She and her husband have only been married a little over a year, and they already have a house full of stuff! Our son has been married for several years and has had most of his stuff gone from our place for a while, but, as we’ve gone through the house, we’ve rounded up about another half of a truckload of his stuff that we still have. He’s supposed to go through this remaining load, but I imagine most of it will be donated. Speaking of truckloads ...

It has amazed me at how many truckloads of stuff I’ve not only carried down to my daughter's house, but how many I’ve carried to the dumpster and to the Salvation Army. It’s truly been incredible, and the fact remains that this is just Round One. As we continue to look to downsizing into a 1400-square-foot house, we’ll have to do another round or two of purging. On those rounds, I’m sure the decisions of about what to get rid of and what to keep will be much more difficult. Do we really need that picture of a nice building, the one we took 30 years ago and that we can’t remember where or what it is? Moreover, why in the world did we see it necessary to pay to print it in the first place?

Already though, many rooms all over our 3800-square-foot home have less and less stuff left in them. It feels odd to see the rooms as they are now compared to only a few months ago. Many people that have gone through this will tell you of a feeling of being liberated for having removed all that stuff laying around. I kind of sense what they’re talking about, but I think I still have quite a bit to do before I’ll be fully in that state of mind. I could include a picture of my garage, and of the tools I have sitting on a pallet in the backyard, but it would be too embarrassing. I also still have a queen-sized bedroom suite that I have been storing for my daughter for years that I have to get rid of. She finally agreed that she didn’t have room for Mawmaw’s bedroom furniture at her new place, so I have to find a way to donate/sell it off. Maybe opening up the space this mammoth set is taking up will be the ticket!

As I’ve spoken about before in my blogs, taking this journey requires work. But it’s work that has such great promise of reward. And, although we look forward to planting our first garden on our farm and watching that first flock of chickens poke around our yard, we still make the effort to enjoy the time at hand. Tomorrow holds no guarantees for anyone; only today can be truly enjoyed. And today, when I get home from work, I’ve got to jump on that garage. It’ll be work, but also fun!

overflowing dresser
Photo by Fotolia/Zarya Maxim

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