I recently made an unconscious decision to downsize. But I won’t actually be losing space or moving anywhere. Instead of downsizing the size of our home, I want to downsize the number of things we have filling the space inside our home.
This decision is something I have actually been wrestling with for a few months now. I have been walking around my home frustrated. Feeling suffocated, and like no matter how organized I get an area I am constantly shoving things into closets and cabinets trying to find them a home. Shifting things and trying to come up with new ways to keep our home feeling functional and organized. But I never feel 100% satisfied.
Back in March, I came across a website called The Minimalists, and their “game” called “The 30-Day Minimalism Game.” It is supposed to be used to motivate you to get rid of up to 500 items all-around your house in 30 days. There is even a printable calendar you can print to keep you on track. I tried to do this “challenge” or “game” but I realized that trying to tackle something every single day overwhelmed me, and I ended up abandoning it after a few days. While this was not a successful purge or way of downsizing, it was one of the first things I found that started the downsizing thought process in my head.
Then a sweet friend gifted me a book by Jen Hatmaker called “Simple and Free” about fasting, and how we can rid ourselves of the excesses in our life that have become hindrances or distractions. We can have a life of simplicity and generosity without all the STUFF weighing us down. This further peaked the thought in my head that something in my home had to give.
The final small thing that spurred me into action was finding a show on Netflix about Tiny Houses. While I am not ready to move the four of us into a 400 SQ FT Tiny House, I realized that maybe we didn’t really need to completely FILL the space in our house just because it is there.
Have you ever moved into a home that was a tiny bit, or maybe a lot bit bigger than the house you were living in before. It feels empty and sparse. You have closets with empty shelves, and cabinets with maybe one thing in them because you have never had this much storage before so you just didn’t have things that could be put in there. Slowly and without even realizing it you will start to fill that space until it is completely full and you no longer have those empty areas, then you start to wonder where you will put things. You think to yourself “where did all this STUFF come from”. At least this is how it is for me right now, we started off almost three years ago amazed at all of the new space, and now it is completely full. And it wasn’t until now that I realized that I could have empty space in our home, it doesn’t all NEED to be full in order for it to be functioning.
This is where I am starting, I am looking at the areas in my house and asking myself hard questions about the STUFF in those spaces. Do the things that completely fill the tops of the 7 closets we have NEED to be there? If it is up at the top of a closet is it there because it is an important item that needs to be stored or is it up at the top of the closet because we do not really need it but also do not want to make the decision to part with it?
Are the TWO cedar chests I have, that are completely full of stuff, hold important things, or are they holding things that have no home and no place in our house?
I am starting small, and do not want to give myself too many time limits or rules, and it may take a few passes to really get past the emotions we feel when we try to let go of things in our life. I can tell you that I am the worst when it comes to clothes. I hold on to clothes that may never fit again “just in case” or “as a goal” but is that really encouraging me or is it just making me feel more weighed down?
I want to feel lighter in our home, I want to open up space in our house, not to fill it with new things, but to just have room to breathe. I want to teach my kids by example. And honestly, the bottom line is I want to open a cabinet or closet and feel peace, not anxiety at the sheer amount of stuff that is in the contents.