Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Downsizing the onion!

I have talked about clutter a number of times.  It just keeps popping up again and again and again.  On my blog I have 13 (now 14) postings about de-cluttering.  It pops up in my mind way more than that.   It is like a baby chick picking its way out of a shell - something in me just wants to be something else.

So I have been cleaning out again.  This time the intent not to make more space in my current home, but to live in less home somewhere else.  We don't use the 2,100 feet of living space we have now.  We live in about 800 to 1000 feet of it.

And what is the rest of the space doing?

It is a close, cheap storage unit for stuff that is never used, or touched, or seen, or even remembered!!  We cool it in the summer and warming it in the winter and collect dust on it through all the seasons (dust that it heated and cooled as well.)

I grow very weary of it all!

Oh, don't get me wrong. I love my dear town house.  It is located in a lovely safe neighborhood.  It has housed growing children, adult children who bounced back briefly, and two mothers who needed help at end of life.  It has been the home for 7 of our cats over the 25+ years and a regular second home for my 3 grand dogs.  In the next year it will house my son and his wife for awhile as they spruce up their own town house, sell it and move closer to jobs.  This home has been a safe haven for more than just my husband and I.

I have always said, "Oh, we will be in this house another 10 years probably."  Now ... maybe a year or two.

I will be sad to leave this house as it is filled with many great memories (and a few not so great) ... but I won't be sad to stop:
  • cleaning 4 bedrooms
  • cleaning 3.5 bathrooms
  • cleaning all the other spaces
  • climbing steps, steps and more steps
  • heating and cooling 1000+ feet of living space we don't need filled with things we don't need
I want to spend my time differently. 

I have also shifted my focus in other ways.  Over the last year I have discovered an unintentional mind shift away from these faulty ideas I nurtured for so many years:
  • more is good (we had 6 functioning TVs - now we have 2 and we seldom watch those)
  • newer is better (used is cheaper - saved $250 dollars on a used loom - "used a few times" kind of used.)
  • expensive must mean quality (we used to have a $100 coffee maker - now we have the $30 one - they break at about the same speed)
  • "want" must be "need" (I used to have a melon baller, had to have a melon baller ... seriously, who really needs a melon baller, I ask you.) 
  • pricey vacations are the only way to unwind (pricey vacations require pricey salaries with headachy strings attached - fewer headaches mean less need to escape.)
Those are small changes in attitude that indicate big changes for me.  

So like pealing away the layers of an onion, I am making changes and sorting through the stuff of a life time - in both my mind and my environment.

And this time my de-cluttering is a sign of a root change in me.


  1. You have a bit of "prophet" in you . . . and I listen . . .
    (I am doing much the same . . . a daunting task on some days . . . but it makes me happy to "peel the layers.")

    1. Every time I have done a clean out I have felt just wonderful. And what is funny about those layers is that you think all you can get rid is the top layer - so you pitch that. And then, guess what, there is a new top layer and you discover stuff you couldn't part with before, are now possibilities. And eventually you get down to the stuff that you really care about!

      It is a process.

  2. Oh, my...have you been to my home? have you lived my life? have you got a camera following me around (for the past 5 years)? YIKES, this post is SO ME! Through the entire first part I thought, "Wow, we have a LOT in size, how we use it, etc." Then I read how your list of how your ideas have changed...and it could have been me, right down to the TV's. Putting it all together like this in one spot, actually written out in detail, is just . so . illuminating! Great post. BTW, I've spent the weekend looking at EXACTLY when I can retire (cross your fingers for January). Great post!

    1. I hope your retirement is what you want it to be. Mine was more stressful and busy than working. Being a caregiver is hard work. Things are getting better now, but my retirement was not a traditional one.

  3. Oh my dear...I am SO with you. Our little house is only 1050 sq ft with full basement and I feel exactly the same way...who needs it all? The basement is storage for things we can't part with but never use.... I will say the upstairs is put to good use but again, full of things we could certainly live without. Signs of the times.

    1. Wow, what you have is what I am looking for - about 1,000 square feet. And no basement!

      Anyway, I guess no matter how little floor space you have, you can manage to fill it with stuff!! :-) I'll remember that when we find somewhere smaller.

  4. Check out the zerowaste blog...she has gone from a lot to a little and is very happy. My what a big house you have! I am with you on the TV...I rarely watch :)
    Happy Sunday!

    1. Hey, thanks for the zerowate blog recommendation. I will check it out. I have a few other new blogs I am starting to follow as well. I will share on a future post.

  5. My calendar this week has 'study' written all over it. Not for me to study hard at an essay but for me to spend the time once again decluttering the room, making it back to what it should be and not a storage area for things I think we might need one day!

  6. AMEN! De-cluttering is a struggle for me but so worth it!

    1. Actually once you get going, it gets easier. I found that I can't remember what I got rid of ... I don't miss it.

      Now that may be a failing brain ... LOL

  7. I am very impressed with your efforts to downsize, and even more so with your mind shift. Unlike just about everyone else who made comments, I am sorry to say that I am so not there. I am not retired yet. I rarely spend time organizing, because I never feel that I have enough time for the creative pursuits that I enjoy and need to keep doing to feel like myself. I am happy when I can just find the time for basic cleaning, and then get on with what I love doing!

    1. My cousin expresses a similar feeling. I would guess that most really creative people - like you and my cousin - fall into your category.

      I guess I am the other side of the coin. If my space is over full, I get distracted and I don't focus as well on hobbies I love.

  8. I am wondering what MY retirement will look like then:
    - we have never had more than 2 TV's at a time
    - we have bought more 'used' than 'new' (but I am trying to change that)
    - we have always bought the $30 coffeemaker/iron/whatever...ok, well it was $50 for the microwave!
    - I have never had a pricy vacation (except the Oracle club trips and I guess I paid for those with my time)
    - and I have already thrown out my melon baller...and if I don't need a melon baller, that is saying something!!

    Maybe I will throw out everything in the basement and garage....:-)

    1. Well, even though you might not think so, you were probably way ahead of me on all those things.

      What is really scary is that I have had spells like this each time someone moved into my home - with each purge I seemed to shed tons of stuff. I probably have thrown away two or three townhouses full of stuff. And most of it was thrown away because when I decide to get rid of something, I can't wait for it to be out of my sight - if the Good Will donate truck isn't close, the trash can is closer - I need the stuff out of the house like "yesterday"!! :-)


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