All of that and many more loads like that and so many things with free signs on the curb or curb alerted through craigslist and a craigslist car sale and so many more items to list for sale. That is what our lives look like right now.
The first load or two feels refreshing, the third feels like a nice load off, the fourth, fifth, sixth and so on start to feel a bit embarrassing and overwhelming as we ask ourselves how we got to the point where we have so much extra. Knowing us I don't think you would expect to find us in this position. We generally live a pretty simple life, we don't want much and we are the last people you will find at a shopping mall on a weekend, yet here we are.
So, how does this happen? Differently for everyone I'd say and for us there are many factors. E has lived in this house for 13 years and I have been in it with him for 8 of those and a big part of the extra being allowed to accumulate is that we have more space than we need. Our house is just at around 1,200 square feet, not large by most peoples measures, but comfortable and spacious for the four of us and our three pets and with the addition of an oversized garage the size of a small house itself, well...things have plenty of room to be pushed to the side to be dealt with later or held on to "just in case", but life gets busy and without setting aside intentional time for the dealing it just never happens and neither do the just in case moments, for even if there is something held on to just in case, when that time comes it's easy to forget the item ever existed and hard to find the item even if you do have it.
And so the story goes, my mom moves house and I take anything of interest or that used to be mine and tuck it away to look at later, the family farm is lost and I take on whatever we can scrape out of that might be of interest and stick it in the garage to deal with later, my dad passes away and more comes along and on and on. That matched with my own life's accumulation, E's accumulation and the items we've accumulated together many pets and two children later has left us drowning in just too much stuff.
And now, we dig ourselves out. We started this process long ago, sorting through things here or there, but in the past few months with our plans to move house we have been purging in a pretty huge way and the rewards have already been enormous. Each time a room is complete and feels minimized and functional it makes me feel calm and capable of functioning better throughout the day and with it being in such a simplified state it is no trouble at all to maintain it in that state. That has been the biggest difference I have seen between general decluttering and such a huge surge of minimizing, the maintaining. With less stuff in general it is just so much easier to live our day to day lives in our space and so much less time is wasted.
There is plenty left to do but we are nearing the current finish line with just a few small areas in our home to poke through before tackling the garage and listing all of the extras for sale before moving forward. This work is exhausting on both physical and emotional levels but it will all be worth it. Feeling the weight of it all, holding each item in our hands, having to haul it all off, seeing it all and being fully engrossed in the process, all of that is important as I know it will keep us from ever getting to this place again where we have to spend our precious hours dealing with stuff rather than snuggling up together or pursuing all of the things that tug at our hearts.
We know that having less will open our world to so much more in the areas that matter most. Adventures with our girls rather than our weekends eaten up by this process. Nights reading and crafting and dreaming and being rather than buried in bags and boxes. Sunshine on our cheeks, dirt on our hands, smiles on our faces and a simple happy life with our people. That is what we are working for.