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

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Big Pitch to Small Living

I am not talking baseball.

I am talking clutter, downsizing, shrinking.  I am talking giving away stuff to friends and family, trips to the dump and donations to charity organizations.

Over 7 years of blogging, I've written 28 posts about clutter.  Clearly this topic is important for me.  And it is breath taking (and embarrassing) to think of all the items that have passed through my hands over the years.  You can't inherit 3 households (small households for sure), and not have a mega highway of stuff running through you life.  Let's not forget my husband and I also contributed generously to that collection of stuff.

Some people downsize to the point that living in a smaller space comfortably is possible.  That is our goal.  But smaller can translate into tiny for some.  That is not our goal.  I have been, however, very curious about the tiny house movement.  The true tiny house runs about 120-220 square feet of space.  It is fascinating to see those small spaces and how inventive folks need to be to live in them.  I wouldn't live in one myself but it is fun to explore that option through the lives of others.  Of course, when you live in 2200 square feet of space like I have done for 31 years, stuff grows to fit the void.  Getting to smaller living is hard when you live in a bigger than average structure.

That is about to change for me.
Less stuff and less square footage.

Our goal is to shrink from 2200 square feet to pretty much half or 1100 square feet.  Not exactly a "tiny" house, but it will qualify in my mind as smaller living.

And to get to that goal, the "big pitch" is underway.  This time it is not just stuff at risk... furniture is also getting the boot.

I always find this effort to be so rewarding.  As I pare down my belongings, I feel lighter, more in control, and in a strange way - very appreciative of the stuff that makes the cut.  It is like seeing 'the keepers' with more clarity remembering why I loved that item to begin with.  Truly, too much stuff seems to distract me from what I really care for.

I have made pretty good inroads in cleaning out stuff, but much remains to be done.  I am so grateful that I did so many decluttering sessions in the years before this one.  I can't imagine how hard this would be if I had a house that was literally stuffed to the rafters.

A month ago I gave away a full size spinning wheel that I purchased 7 years ago - during a time when I was coping with stress by buying stuff.  When I think of spinning I am drawn to spinning on a spindle.  Spinning yarn is in my future - just not on a wheel.  My spinning wheel was a gift to my cousin - and she and Agatha (yes, the wheel's name is Agatha), are spinning away joyfully together.  Never have I had so much fun sharing of my belongings as that gift to my cousin.

Yesterday I gave away a collectable bear dressed in a Marine Corp dress uniform.  It was a pricey bear I purchased when my son entered the Marine Corp.  It when to a family with a new born boy - the father was a Marine.  The perfect home for my Marine Corp bear! (Wish I kept a picture of him for this post.)

Today I gave away my Kitchen Aide Food Processor.  God knows that I was thinking when I bought that.  I cook only to eat - certainly not out of enjoyment - and that kitchen gadget was pricey.  It is not going with us.

Tomorrow we are having a "give away" for friends.  My husband and I collected Chess Sets for many years.  Our kitchen table is stacked with them.  We kept a special few - maybe 3.  I really love those 3.  But the others, all beautiful and unique, will find new homes soon I hope.

I am not sorrowful or pensive about any of these departing items.  In fact I can't even remember most  the stuff that I carried out of this house in the years preceding today.  Its been freeing and fun.

I am excited about this move to less and smaller.  Yes, it is being forced on me by circumstance, and the steps needed to get their are tiring and scary, but the end result will be positive!


  1. Replies
    1. Ha! I love to have people suffer along with me, Michelle. The process is rewarding but it is also tiring. I don't know how people 10 years my senior do this!

  2. Good for you . . . inspiring, like Gail said above.
    I keep up the decluttering and giving away . . . (giving to friends is more fun for me than Goodwill).
    But why do I turn around and keep seeing more STUFF . . .
    Looking forward to hearing how you like 1100 sq ft . . .

    1. You will be glad you kept up the decluttering now - if you ever have to downsize one day. It makes a huge difference.

  3. Lynne sure did echo my thoughts. I get rid of things and then see stuff I would love to have. But I have done good and not acquiring any more stuff. I give a lot of things away to my cleaning lady who gives things to folks who are in need. I am grateful my stuff goes to someone who does good with it.

    1. It is the best of both worlds when you can give your stuff to someone who will love it like you did.

  4. I, too, am fascinated with the 'tiny living craze'. I know I can't downsize that much but I want to go to 900-1000 square feet. That will be small enough for me. I need to get more into giving things away!!

    1. I think one person can get along with a very small space. But it get complicated when there are 2 people ...2 people with their stuff! I am looking forward to getting down to less floor space.

  5. We've been watching those tiny house shows too and am fascinated with them. Then I realized that is what our cabin is up at Happy Trails. I've started calling it our tiny cabin. It is just 230 square feet.

    Your marking great progress on downsizing.

    1. You are quite right about your cabin. I look forward to seeing the finished interior.

  6. Collections are hard to part with from my experience, have you had difficulty passing on your chess boards?

    I know what you mean about cooking to eat, not for enjoyment. I too don't bother with the enjoyment part and give very little thought to whether the food is particularly enjoyable only that it gives me sustenance. I've always wished there was a way to get by without the need for food, so far I haven't found it. :-)


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