Monday, December 15, 2008

4 juice glasses...not enough

My son and I have been in transition over the last three months. October, the townhome I owned finally short saled after 4 months of walking through inches of paperwork with my lenders, the buyers lenders and snafus galore. Short sales are very complicated, designed to push one over the edge if not persistant. I am grateful that my home sold instead of foreclosed. I lived with recurring dreams of the sheriff coming one morning and putting my stuff on the street....

That has been the issue. We have way too much stuff. Ever since our move from Central Valley California to the North Bay, I have been in a massive downsizing mode. I grew up with parents who spent their childhoods in the depression. Folks who resused stuff, stored stuff like chipmunks. They always worried about a rainy day. Good for when you have storage space... not so good for smaller spaces.

I moved three years ago from a 1800 sq foot home in the Central Valley. My dream home with 24 windows, copious basement and garage storage space. Before moving, I had the requisite garage sale, gave away all sorts of stuff. Could barely fit everything into the moving van and my small SUV. We were moving into a 1500 sq foot rental before buying the 1300 square foot townhome. Both had built-in storage, AKA garages.

I knew that decluttering was a necessity. Did I really need 6 Feng Shui books on decluttering? Was every scrap of paper from my closed pediatric practice necessary? 12 boxes of books sold to the local used bookstore, many more books donated. Office supplies donated to community clinics in my town and overseas. The process of downsizing continued as my employment situation became more unstable. More bartering, more selling of furniture to make ends meet.

When we finally moved out of the townhouse in October, a 12 foot PODS and a 8 x 12 foot storage room held the bulk of our belongings. Dear friends opened their home to us so we had a place to stay for 5 weeks until finding a rental. I knew again that I STILL had too much stuff. Past travel to Japan and Germany reminded me that 'Mericans live in too large places with more stuff than families overseas. Every moment I thought about complaining about my "plight", I remembered that I could leave my home with more than the clothes on my back, without bullets flying and family intact. I have much to be grateful for.

Several years of watching, "Clean House" and "Clean Sweep" helped me to break through the denial of being a clutter diva. My hot mess needed transformation.
So as I am unpacking in our new 1000 foot sq rental (without garage), I am confronting reality.
How much stuff do we really need? How many things sit unused in my home that could be used by someone else?

I made a few severe choices-- decided that if we had fewer dishes and pots to clean, the sink would stay cleaner:) I gave away more than half of my kitchen, refrigerator and washer dryer to friends who helped us to pack and move. I made a bit of a strategic error. 4 juice cups.... probably not enough. I have had an epiphany. If I bring one thing in, two things have to go out.
Repair first rather than replace. Reuse and Recycle among friends and local community groups.

Feeling lighter already.... and my carpet is showing empty areas:)

4 comments:

Tiny Tyrant said...

Hi Dr Mimi.

Delurking after seeing you in the Cast Away group on Ravelry.

Good luck with the declutter. Finally convinced hubster that it needs to be done at our house. He has three generations worth of stuff stored from his family. Which makes it that much harder.

Hope to see you at one of the knit nights at the shop.

Anonymous said...

Have you discovered the magic of freecycle.org?
Much less bother than a yardsale.

I am just surfing by - so you may very well have posted several entries about freecycle earlier on your blog. If so, I apologize.

I myself am in the midst of procrastinating about declutttering.

All the best in 2009,
Janey
janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

Loren G. said...

I am dreading the day that I will have to downsize. I will retire in approximately seven years and I have so much to get rid of. Hopefully, my children and stepchildren can benefit from this.

Veronica Lee said...

Hi and welcome to MBC!