When Less is Less

Happy March. If you read my recap blog “Joy-2018” then you know that at the end of the year we downsized and moved into a smaller home on December 28th. It was a little crazy, we listed our house on November 30 and had a full asking price offer on December 2 with a closing at the end of the month. December was a blur.

Here we are a full two months into the new place, completely unpacked and I’m STILL getting rid of stuff, so much stuff.

This downsize was something that we needed to do for our family in order to get where we WANT TO BE within the next two to three years but it has not been easy. I am NOT a pack rat nor a hoarder. I think I easily could be if left unchecked but because my husband is neither of those things I have an accountability partner in my life that encourages me, dare I say, cheers me on when I get rid of all the things not needed, used or wanted. This season in our lives has taught me a lot so here’s my take away on downsizing:

Q) The thought of downsizing is intimidating ….Where am I going to put ALL my stuff?”

A) You won’t have a place to put ALL of it. You need to accept this fact. It is what it is and you WILL have to get rid of things. In your physcial home there will be items that you will need to part with, things that you haven’t used in years that are just taking up space because someone gave them to you; or things you thought you needed but turns out you don’t. Same for your spiritual life. You I have things that I’ve been holding onto for far to long because someone gave them to me, or I just accepted them as part of who I am and what I should do or be. Unrealistic expectations placed on myself? Don’t need them. Shame, guilt over the past? No room. Fear over not being good enough? Toss it. Those things need to be put in the drop box just like the chicken shaped gravy boat and electric wok that you never use.

Q) Large houses have lots of storage and drawers and places to put things, smaller homes won’t have that, what am I going to do?

A) How about deal with whatever you need to deal with immediately. This, was and still is, the hardest thing for me. I am the QUEEN at designating a drawer, filing cabinet, table, box, bag, closet shelf or purse as a place to put all the “stuff” I need to go through. Kids school information? Drawer in the kitchen. Paperwork for shows and productions? Stick it in a nondescript filing cabinet. School art work, coupons, tee-shirts I don’t wear, missing socks? I’ll just toss them in a basket or closet. I didn’t realize how bad my “I’ll get to it later” habit had become until we started going through things so we could pack.

You know I spent so much time just cleaning out drawers and closets and dealing with the “later” pile that I actually got ticked off at myself. Why? Why did I let it get like that? This downsize has made me super conscientious of that behavior. I’m finding myself taking care of things, going through things and just downright getting rid of things as soon as I can. See the spiritual correlation? I do. How many drawers and closets do we have in our hearts that are just full of things we said we would deal with at a later time? Some of my papers that I needed to throw away were from my teaching days in 1999. 1.9.9.9. That is ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as when we say “That person hurt me, I’ll just deal with it later.” Or “I know this is a destructive behavior, I’ll deal with it later.” Why? All it does is create more issues for you, because someday you will need to deal with them and by that time there’s going to be a whole lot of other things laying on top of those issues that you will have to deal with first. Just handle that stuff when it gets handed to you.

Q) Isn’t downsizing, in general, difficult?

A) You have no idea. Not only did we decide to downsize, we did it over the holidays. So the kids were still in school for a couple of weeks which meant carpools, and basketball games, drama practices and winter band concerts. Meals still had to be cooked, gifts bought and wrapped, things packed, Christmas decor put up and taken down. It was a beating. I didn’t ask for help. It wasn’t until my mom said that she would help us the day after we moved that I broke down. You see, we didn’t need the help after, we needed the help before. We needed meals cooked and kids ran places so that we could continue to go through things and pack. I bet you know what’s next. We all need help. Sometimes we need help in the very real form of real life needs being met, but other times we need help packing up our stuff and going through our baggage and we can’t do it alone. We need counselors, pastors, friends, and sometimes medication to help us get through and to move from one place to the next. When my mom stopped over later that night with dinner in hand, she hugged me and said “All you have to do is ask. None of us will know what you need unless you say it.” And that ladies and gentlemen is the true wisdom spoken by a mother to her adult daughter. No one will really know what you actually need unless you say it. So swallow the pride, get rid of the “martyr” mentality, release some control and just say ” I need help.”

Q) Did you really HAVE to downsize? Will I ever need to downsize?

A) Yes and no. At first we thought that we needed to downsize, then it turns out that we actually “NEEDED” to do downsize. Does that make sense? Let me explain. We have some ideas of where and how we want the next “phase” of our life to play out as the kids get older and in order to get to that place downsizing was needed.

Sure, we could have stayed and been okay and there would have been nothing wrong with that, but that would have been the end of our journey as far as certain dreams and goals were concerned, so we took the leap. We jumped. Sometimes, in order to get where we want to be we have to give up what we have. We have to have a plan, and regardless of how hard that plan is, we do it. Because while staying is not always a bad thing, it could mean you won’t land on that target, the bullseye, that you have set for your life.

So will you ever need to downsize? Only you can answer that question. Do you want to be in a certain place in your life by a certain time? Do you have goals that you set for yourself that you want to reach? Can you get there staying where you are or being around who you are around? Can you move with all the “stuff” you have?

I recommend you take a serious inventory of all things you are storing, both physically and spiritually, then decide if a downsize is needed. If it is, don’t be afraid to eliminate things, ask for help and take the plunge.

XOXO Gena

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