This past Summer I took numerous trips and full days to help my grandparents (and family) downsize their three-storey home. I learned many a lesson while going through this process. I was in the end renewed with energy to downsize our small home again and let go of anything I was holding onto. Some things became clear life lessons for downsizing and living with intention.
It Is All Just “Stuff”
Nothing is worth keeping that causes constant stress, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. What is the point of having a home so filled with “stuff” you can’t do the things you love and dream of doing. Let go and enjoy the life you have. For me this means letting go of anything standing in the way of growing in my faith walk, and/or the opportunity to lead others to the saving Grace Jesus has to offer. I need to be intentional about reminding myself that material things can be gods taking up space where my God needs to rule.
Not To Be Specific About How or Where Stuff Goes
If the goal is to downsize, then make that a priority. Don’t get hung up on everything finding a new home, or needing to know it will be used by someone else. Focus on the end goal of living with less and using/loving what you own. There is no point to wasting time and energy on boxes of stuff you want to stay together, if multiple people are willing to take a few pieces – let them. If you can drop it all off to a place like Goodwill without much effort – do it. Be done with owning extra and feel the weight lifted.
Not To Declutter Onto Another Person
This has to be the biggest thing I have learned after being on the receiving end of “can you use it?” This attitude is not fair to anyone, if it is clutter to you do not burden someone else with it. Even if you can see the million and one uses for your belonging – don’t do this. If that person wants it they will ask for it, or buy it for themselves. No one wants to look at an object in their home they took out of guilt because you couldn’t let go.
Throwing Out Can Be Freeing
Embrace it. Instead of seeing what is “lost” see what you are making room for. Living your dream, having time and space to do what you love, an open space to invite goodness into. Everything in your past is what brought you to the moment that is now. You do not need to hold onto everything that was to be full in what is now. Life is seasons and passing moments, enjoy each one for what it means right then.
Always Enjoy and Use What You Own
If you love it use it. Nothing makes me smile like watching my daughter get a new notebook and box of markers. She will doodle across every page and colour until the markers are out of ink. She lets her imagination run wild, fully enjoying the markers and notebook for the intention they have been given to her.
Why keep 10 sketch pads for “good” or never burn a candle you so love the scent of? I think living with less means more opportunity to enjoy what you have. Do not tuck your favourite things away for good use, instead use the good in your everyday.
It was a huge undertaking to downsize two people, both in their 80’s from a three-storey home to a much smaller two bedroom apartment. It was definitely worth the effort in the end, although we still have a large stash of totes in storage, we did manage to get them moved. Hopefully I will remember these lessons and be able to remind others as we go through it of the end goal we are seeking. Patience is not one of my strong points so I was happy to be working with other family members who were often able to join forces with or reign me back when needed.