Folks told me I looked so happy in the photo above. Well, I am and I’m about to share some of my secrets. It’s all in the downsizing. Less stuff means less stress. The garage sale was just one way that I downsized. There were also lots of tiny decisions and choices all along the journey of the last two years. And in all honesty, I’m still downsizing. I work on one area, and eventually another area reveals itself as the next space in my life that could use a bit of decluttering. So, here are some random thoughts on that to round out the garage sale story I just talked about.
A Quick Thought On Blankets:
Keep all of your favorite blankets. That is one thing that I packed away to see if I would miss, and they all came back out. It’s nice to have blankets for guests when they visit, but also when the temperatures drop it’s nice to layer blankets and crawl under the heap, rather than throw away dollars on propane or have to rely on hookups for my electric heaters. I found It could get down to the forties at night outside and it would get into the fifties in the trailer and I would be toasty under a good pile of down and other cozy blankets. And getting up in the morning chill just made my morning cup of joe that much more of a treat.
I had to make some decisions since I was going from four closets in my house, to two closets in my apartment to a fourth of a closet that I now count as one closet in my airstream. If I had items I walked out of the house in and nobody gave me a compliment, I decided it was their time to go. Items that I loved except maybe one little thing about them I let go of. Items that squeezed my figure accenting where all of the fat resided in my body…. Absolutely gone! For the most part if it was not a piece that I could mix and match with a few different pieces, I let it go, or if I had multiples that pretty much could pass as the same piece I let them go. And if I hadn’t worn the piece in a long time I definitely let it go.
I kept the items that frequented my dirty clothes basket, because I knew I actually wear those a lot. I kept the clothes that made me feel happy when I put them on and were comfortable. I kept items for the occasions I knew I would be involved in. Yes, I kept a couple full length formal dresses! I’m not going to repeat the “POD” method as you can check that out on google, but I tried a version of this where I kept out 30 items of clothing from the given season and that is what I wore. In my version I picked my favorite thirty items for a particular season and packed the rest away to see what I’d miss, or not miss. Shoes were hard to say good bye to, so I kept quite a few and found creative ways to store them. I use those grey cloth baskets from Target to store quite a few things. They are awesome because they squish into funny corners and they protect things from breaking. Anyhow, I had a ridiculous number of coats that I gifted to friends and handed out to homeless people, some of which I had never worn. Ridiculous! As time travels on I notice I am able to let go of even more and really get down to what I need.
And there were my favorite furniture pieces:
I discovered my beautiful Italian Bed Set simply would not fit in my apartment bedroom. The room was small and odd shaped. I tried measuring that room over and over and even thought maybe I could store it on end. A friend said I’ll buy it from you for $400. I was surprised to find the minute I let go of it, a weight lifted, not only did I have zero regrets, I got a little extra joy out of the set knowing my friend’s daughter would be enjoying it. I donated a couple of fun chairs I had to a local art museum for folks to sit on while looking at the art. It makes me smile when I go in there and see them put to good use.
Dishes, Dishes and More Dishes:
A dear friend said, you really only need two plates, two glasses, and two sets of silverware. He had lived in a minimalist manner all of his life. He couldn’t possibly understand all of the fun memories from each of the mugs I had and how I needed to keep all of those memories…. So I kept them. Now, looking back, I think I still have three of them. Things break, get lost or borrowed along the way, and then I simply do not replace them, or if I get something new, I get rid of something old.I also realized that when I host a party and need lots of dishes, I don’t take out the fine china, I take out paper plates and plastic cups. I really did not need all of those dishes.
My Plant Babies:
I love my plant babies. I hauled as many as I could with me to the apartment, then a few less to the first parking place for my trailer. Now I’m down to three pots. As I get closer to getting on the road and truly being a nomad, I’ll likely dump the plants and buy new when I settle down in one location again. The best thing I did with my plants was give them to my dear friends. When I visit their homes and see my old plants it warms my heart and makes me smile. Also the plants look a lot better than when I was taking care of them.
Books, Books, Books!:
I am definitely a book addict. I gave away three fourths of my books to places like Cafe Con Libros, where you can exchange used books, and also in book boxes the trendy new addition to folks’ front yards around the neighborhood. I’d still say books are the thing I have the most of. I have been slowly reading them and saying goodbye. Where I had duplicates on kindle I let the hard copy go. I had to ask myself… am I really going to read these? When I did the math,I realized how many books I had collected and that with all of the time in the world there would never be enough to read them all. Books are heavy so I know I have a ways to go in letting go, but I’ve made great progress.
Files and Important Paperwork:
I had files from work, and files documenting my life up until then. Everything I can now happily say is paperless and I feel light and free. I believe I transformed around seven boxes of paper records. I do have a little more to go in this arena. There also was a lot I had been toting around in files that I really had no need for and it got shredded.
The keyboard, photography equiptment and art supplies, including the huge canvases and art easel were non-negotiable. When you figure out what you really love, you find a way to make it fit.
A Tender Surprise:
I came across some childhood dresses that my mother had saved for me. I thought, well I’m not having kids and my nephews and nieces are too old for these. Its a shame they are in perfect condition, but its silly to hold on to them. I tossed them into the waste bin and immediately my eyes teared up. I snatched them back out, and immediately called my sisterhood. These dresses were way to precious as they told the story of my childhood. I could see a little version of me as I thought back on everything I went through as a child, good and hard. I saw the best intentions of all of the people who loved me into the me I am today. With things like this, I have created artwork out of them to preserve them in my memory and heart. I also stored a couple things like this with good friends, knowing I could get them back later. And now that I have let go, I know I’m fine with saying good bye. I also gifted some items from childhood to friends with small children, and got the joy of seeing these things create new memories in someone else’s family.
I went from the 2,000 square foot house and 10,000 square foot yard with a two car garage to the apartment which was approximately 900 square feet not including my patio. Then in the apartment I started closing off rooms and sections of my closet getting my pile of belongings smaller and smaller. Eventually the day of the big move to the airstream came and I made the big jump to 200 square feet. I started with nice neat looking plastic bins stored underneath it. Now they are all gone too, its just the trailer and the back of the truck where I store things. I even sold my VW Bug to the guy who sold me my airstream! I did the math on renting a storage unit and thought that it just did not make sense. In ten years I can save the money and buy new if I really want any of these things again. Besides, there will be new designs and trends out in ten years, and if I leave my airsteam I’ll be in an entirely new space that deserves new furniture. I can honestly say, looking back on all I let go of, I have zero regrets. I miss nothing. There is not one moment when I have thought I wished I had not thrown something. And I have added a few new things to my belongings, but the fun now is I only buy top quality things that I really want and need. I slow down and ask myself why I feel the urge to buy something. Am I really just bored, or am I avoiding feeling sad about something. I laugh at myself because if I’m being honest I have to admit, I’ve bought some pretty big purchases over break ups with boyfriends. Seriously…. big! Now there is no guilty shopping. Shopping is way more fun when living tiny.
I know there are some folks who have been doing this longer than me now following me… please do chime in on any great tidbits you have discovered along the way about getting rid of stuff. By the way folks, this applies whether you stay in your sticks and bricks home or whether you join me on the road.
My hope in my near future writing is to quickly get caught up to where I am present day actually living in my Airstream. Join me again soon and as always… thanks for following me.