As we sold our primary home and relocated full-time to our summer residence, my husband and I went into high gear and eliminated many items that we no longer needed. We tossed many things out and gave lots away. We moved items we weren’t sure of, knowing that we’d retain what we wanted and would clear out the rest.
Overall, we brought too much stuff! This was partly due to moving quickly and having two homes. We ran short of time required to thoroughly access everything and clear things out. As a result, the clearing process is continuing. Here are some lessons we’ve learned along the way:
Extra Space Delays Decisions
For the past 32 years we lived in a home that had great storage space. As a result, it was easy to tuck things away neatly, just in case we might want to use them again one day. Doing so delayed the inevitable. Even if you have a lot of space, let things go when you no longer need or use them. Your possessions consume your energy in one way or another. The only way to free yourself from your stuff is to let it go!
Emotional Ties Run Deep
We’re living in a smaller home and we don’t have room for everything we’ve accumulated. It’s a conscious choice. We’re finding that it’s a challenge to release things we don’t need due to deeply held emotions.
Recently my husband pulled back a coffee pot while we were dropping items off at a donation center. Even though it’s not a brand he likes to use and we already have a backup, he wasn’t ready to let it go. It’s in great shape but haven’t needed it and stopped using it several years ago.
When I brought it in and put it down, he said: “We’re not giving that away, are we?” Rather than argue about it, I handed it back to him and we took it home. I know he’ll be ready at another time. Meanwhile, we’re storing two backup coffee pots. It’s an emotional tie. He enjoys coffee and doesn’t want to risk having to be without a working coffee pot.
Patience Pays Off – Wait for the Right Time
Last winter some mice made a home in a wooden cabinet in our shed. After clearing the debris and realizing that the refinishing would require a bit of work, my husband wanted to take it with us. It ended up as an extra on our porch. Knowing that we really didn’t have a place to keep it and that I wasn’t going to refinish it, my daughter and I moved it to the backyard.
A few days later, my husband took a second look at it in bright daylight. He reconsidered why he was hanging onto it and finally took the cabinet to the dump. As he and his brother loaded it into the car, he remarked that he’s been carrying that cabinet around for 40 years! What a metaphor for the baggage that many of us carry.
Eliminate Layer by Layer
When you’re not ready to let something go, move onto another item. We all have more than enough to work with. I moved several beautiful baskets from one house to the other. This past month I took a closer look and selected a few baskets that I’m most likely to use. I donated the rest. I now have more space (and less clutter) in my kitchen. I’m also doing the same with bedding. We’re keeping two sets of sheets for each bed and a few extra comforters to occasionally swap out. Everything else is moving on.
Find an Easy Drop-off Location
Rather than have a yard sale or sell items over the web, we prefer to give them away. It’s fast and people love getting a bargain. Finding an organization that wants (and appreciates) the items you’re giving away makes the process easy and enjoyable. Currently, I’m removing extras each week. A recent donation included three fans, an extra set of dishes, some children’s toys, a few clothes, and a few side tables. All were in great shape. We just don’t need them any longer.
Less is More
The clearing process is freeing and transformative. I don’t miss anything that I’ve given away. Recently my husband remarked that our new home was feeling pretty good, even though we have more to unpack and thin out. This past Mercury Retrograde cycle has been helpful. It’s a great time to clear out and let go. I’m confident that we’ll address the extras we have before winter sets in. It’s easier to live with less. Doing so is freeing our time to have more experiences …which has been an intention all along. We’re choosing to live lighter to create time and resources to do more. It’s a win-win.