Downsizing doesn’t mean you are able to get rid of a lifetime worth of stuff all at once. It’s a process just like everything else that one wants to learn. We had several garage sales and each one we had was all together different from the other. For example, I held on to my parents 70’s food tray and ashtray FOREVER. Why? I don’t know. I do have a genuine idea however that it was based on a falsehood of what I thought it meant to me. AND there in lies the issue of downsizing. It’s NOT the stuff, but the emotional attachment the stuff has.
Each time we have put stuff out to sell, we asked ourselves “is this important to us”? Thus the first few times Ariane asked me if the mutli colored quite ugly ashtray was important, of course I responded “YES”. It was my parents and I remember it growing up. That ashtray made it through seven (7) garage sales until it dawned on me that I had no emotional attachment to it and in fact was ugly…and I no one in my family ever smoked.
Downsizing for us was not about getting rid of stuff, but asking ourselves this:
Is our past defined from what stuff we keep, or is it defined by the experienced we have had?
After we defined what was the more important goal of downsizing, it was relatively easy to start getting rid of stuff we just didn’t need anymore. A lot of it were from our parents who has passed away. It was more their memories than ours. We continued to realize that our stuff was their stuff and we were just carrying it around for the sake of carrying it around.
Here are some tips that we have learned:
- Don’t get emotional about getting rid of childhood stuff
- Ask yourself “how important is this item in my life”
- Ask yourself “am I going to miss this a year from now”?
- What value (emotionally) does it really have?
- If you can’t decide, hide it away and look at it again in 6 months.
- Never get rid of stuff when you are upset or angry. Wait until you are peaceful
Since then, we have drastically cut down what we want and only have what we need. Getting ready to live in a 190 sq ft Travel Trailer will do that. Even so, it’s so free to be able to pack all the stuff you own in a day and move. We have gone from a 3,000 sq ft house, to a small one room apartment. In just a few months, we’ll do it all again to move into our Airstream Argosy named Lucy.
Downsizing to be nomadic is one of the best choices we have ever made.