Living Intentionally Personal Growth

Eliminating the stuff and how it rocked me

February 28, 2014


Moving from a 4 bedroom house with a basement, garage, and yard, to a 3 bedroom apartment with no storage whatsoever is something most people wouldn’t choose to do. So we decided to do it.

A year ago we started the process of simplifying and getting rid of STUFF. We put our house on the market, got an apartment, and 3 months ago, we moved. Just picture all of your current stuff fitting into 1/5th of the space. Our entire apartment now is the same size as the first floor of our house was!

This required MAJOR simplifying on our part! I mean when you are deciding whether the gold vintage chair or a place for your child to sleep is more important, things come into perspective pretty fast! The chair goes, the child sleeps.

Evaluating the necessity of every single item comes into play when you can’t just shove items into your basement and forget about them (just because there is a slight chance you might need to use it one or two times in the next fifteen years). And no, I never did this!

So, after at least 10 trips to Goodwill, hundreds of dollars of sales on Craigslist, hours and hours of sorting through stuff and giving it to anyone who would take it, we have literally loaded thousands of items into the hands of other people. Bikes, tables, desks, tubs, pictures, vases, books, shoes, clothing, dishes, and the list goes on and on.

And I didn’t even think we had very much stuff!

Needless to say we are a much simpler version of who we were a year ago. And I’m still in the process!

To be fully honest this simplifying process has not been all roses for me. As a never ending creative who loves to change her house around, I have truly labored over which chair to get rid of and which basket to keep.

But after having gone through the process, I am so very glad to have done it. Here are some things I have truly, truly loved about simplifying and downsizing.

1. I feel less weighty. If you want to feel less weighed down by life, get rid of most of your STUFF! Sorting through every item we own and paring down to just the necessities has felt so freeing! I didn’t even know I felt encumbered by stuff, but there is no better feeling than LETTING THE STUFF GO.

2. Living small forces you to keep what you do have neat! There are no hiding places in a one floor apartment. No basement to hide stuff in. I can’t just turn my back on the upstairs mess and walk downstairs. Nope. Living in a smaller space is forcing me to be consistently tidy and to take great care of what I do have. I love that.

3. Living small causes one to really think twice about your purchases. Every. Single. One. “Where will I actually put this bowl if I get it?” “Will I use this chair everyday?”

4. Living small has brought our family closer together. Without the extra space and stuff to distract (yes, STUFF is a distraction I have realized), we find ourselves enjoying one another’s company in ways we never have before. So fun!

When push comes to shove, I’d so much rather have full relationships and freedom than stuff! It sounds silly to even consider the alternative, but so many of us get bogged down, and wrapped up, and in debt simply because we want to be surrounded by all of our stuff.

But the lesson I’ve learned is that STUFF will never ever make you feel truly fulfilled and happy. Because STUFF isn’t the real stuff of life. People are. And relationships, and adventures, and beauty. And that’s the stuff I want my life absolutely packed with!

Photo Credit: Tal Bright via Compfight cc

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  • Reply Michael Wright March 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Good for you guys! This is one reason we just can’t find any justification to “upsize” in house from our 3 bedroom ranch. Yes, we bump into each other at times, but that is a good thing as you pointed out. “Stuff” really annoys me sometimes. I remember at the end of college each year, I would literally load up my 1979 Plymouth Fury with all my belongings I owned and it all fit! It was a very freeing feeling even back then.

    • Reply Claudia Good March 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Michael! I love the mental picture of you and all your stuff in the Plymouth Fury! Awesome!!

  • Reply John Cole March 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    good article

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