Howard and I are now empty nesters. Our youngest child officially fledged in July, living an independent life in Texas and paying all her own bills. Children raised and independent – check!
Next step for us was to downsize our financial life, which survived college tuitions, but needed some love. So off we went to find the perfect new home:
- minimal maintenance
- great location with places to walk with Munson, our 80lb lab.
(Ok, he’s totally our “child replacement.” We’re both silly about him.)
In preparation, I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. For me, by far her best advice was to actually hold each of my possessions and ask myself if it brought me joy.
Joy? Yep, joy.
Answering that simple question made it easier to know what to keep and what to toss.
And, having grown up moving every three years or so, I had lots of practice dealing with the toss pile:
- give away
- recycle/throw away
My children got first dibs on the “give away” items; I donated and consigned the rest. It was fun to have others find joy in those things (and make a bit of $, too)…
All’s good, right? Well, no not quite. I have a lot of things that bring me joy…
We found our new home at the end of 2015 – a great 2 bed/2 bath condo in need of serious updating. After a new kitchen, two new bathrooms, new windows, new paint and floor refinishing, we moved in in May.
My new home is filled with the things that bring me joy…and so is a storage unit…for now.
Downsizing forces you to make LOTS of hard choices, demanding you clarify not only what you want to keep but why. I got very clear on what I wanted around me (my grandmother clock and houseplants), what I needed on hand (just two sets of sheets per bed) and what I was keeping only because I was “supposed to” (my grandmother’s silver chafing dish, which now has a new home.)
My hard-earned lessons from downsizing:
- It takes time. Considering each object, asking “does it bring me joy?”, and filing it into the “keep,” “give away,” or “throw away” piles take hours. But, I promise the process gets easier with practice.
- Yep, it’s work – physical, psychological, and if you have a partner, there’s negotiating too.
- It’s actually quite positive. Touching each thing, remembering the circumstance, then letting it go. I unearthed treasures and gave joy to others with things I no longer needed.
- Expect to look at your stuff differently from this point on – the “after effects” are really strong.
And, yes, I’ll be tackling the storage unit later this year.
I wonder how many of those things will still bring me joy…
If downsizing is on your horizon, here’s to you. May you find joy, clarity and a wonderful hidden treasure you’d forgotten about…
All the best,
Munson, at his new post…