I’m 72. I’ve moved seven times in the last 20 years, and I pare down with each move. I still feel like I have too much stuff! When I talk to my friends, especially ones that are around my age, we eventually get to the subject of downsizing, moving to a smaller space post retirement. Downsizing, decluttering, living simply and not overconsuming are ways I try to live and yet sometimes, I struggle with each.
I’ve lived in a small (900 square feet), but not tiny, house for most of the last 20+ years since 1999, and I’ve managed to recreate the look and feel of the larger 2200 square feet home. It’s been a sense of comfort for me and my daughters, but it also means I’ve crammed most of the furnishings and sentimental belongings into the smaller home.
I now want even less clutter. Trust me when I say that with each move, I threw out a lot of stuff, mostly “collections” of miniature houses from my travels, teacups and matching saucers, and tea pots (I still have those), old clothes, shoes, etc. I could go on, but I think you get my point.
Do I need or want something is the question I ask myself when I’m out for a day of leisurely window shopping or at a crafts’ fair with a friend. This works most of the time. I recently upgraded my kitchen and decided that I wanted a new stove. I was about to make the purchase with the understanding that the appliance store would also unhook and remove the old stove.
I had assumed that my older stove would be donated. When I asked, they said no, and that it will be destroyed. I decided not to purchase the new stove. My old stove looks and works perfectly fine; I just wanted a new, fancier one with a convection oven and air frier built in. I hardly cook now, but it would be nice to look at. The jury is still out!
I share this story because I’m on a journey to a simpler life and less consumption and sometimes emotions, sentimentality and habit dictate my desire to consume or stop me from letting go of some of the clutter in my space.
When downsizing after my divorce, my daughters commented on the enormous number of mason-jars I’d collected. It’s a complicated story that’s connected to a childhood where we never had real drinking glasses but jars and also with my desire to use less plastic. In other words, saving jars became an obsession. We ended up throwing out several recycle bins of jars.
My point here is that clutter comes in all forms, even with my attempt to live greener. I still resist my desire to save every mayo or tomato sauce jar just in case I may need to store something. I’ve limited myself to one shelf and when they pile up in the dishwasher because I have no place to store them, I know it’s time to get rid of them.
I’ve gone through different phases of trying to declutter my space with the ultimate goal of leading a simpler life. I think many of us have similar struggles. For me, there’s a continuum, and I think for each of us, if it’s our desire, the level of simplicity or ability to declutter will be different. There’s no finish line; however, there is a street-wide yard sale coming soon, so I’ll take another stab at it.
Are you trying to declutter? Have you done it previously? What items seem to naturally pile up in your home, no matter how simply you are trying to live?
Tags Downsizing Your Life