He kept coming home every night to a house full. Full of things everywhere, clogging every space in the already small house on a busy country road. Coming home after a long day of work and hours of driving in the Seattle traffic was no longer a joy. Rather, it had become a burden. It seemed there was so much to clean and organize that it could never be finished. And each day only added to the clutter. Piles of laundry, dishes, recycling, unsorted mail, left-over food in the fridge. The list goes on. You know.
We started talking about leaving it all. Getting a tiny house or even a trailer, and just living the "simple life". But we have responsibilities, and though this is still our dream, I knew there must be something deeper inside us that made this more simple way of living so dang appealing. We can't have the tiny house now, but WHY do we want a tiny in the first place, and is there something we can do now to get that feeling we hope having one will bring?
My entire life I've lived paycheck to paycheck. I've never had a high-paying job, so that does contribute somewhat to the habit. I've also moved a lot. At least sixteen times the last I checked. With each move, I have to pack more, get rid of more, and find a place to store MORE. The combination of having no money and too much stuff is a recipe for stress.
Okay, having a tiny house seems like the answer to both these problems. First, we have very few expenses -- no mortgage, minimal rent, and as an added bonus, not much shopping is going to happen when we have nowhere to put things. Having such a limited space would also mean we'd have to say goodbye to most of our possessions. And honestly, that is the most appealing part of the whole tiny house idea. So why not start now? If we can get into a different state of mind, we might realize we don't need anything else. Perhaps we don't even need a tiny house. I believe it's possible to have that same sense of freedom and peace in our current home. At least it's worth a try.
The last few weeks we've been cleaning up. Filling boxes with dishes and clothes we don't use. My personal guideline is: if this isn't my absolute favorite version of this item, don't keep it. And if I really can't decide I ask myself: if I saw this particular item in a store today, would I buy it? If the answer is no, then get rid of it.
This is only the beginning. I decided to start this blog as a way for me to be more mindful and present in my own life. I want to be aware of everything around me, and open and accepting of the feelings these things bring. This doesn't mean I will let everything stay in my life. Rather, it means I will notice what brings me joy and what doesn't, allowing me to get rid of all the things that weigh me down. It's difficult to get rid of something when you don't even realize it's there.
Maria Tusken says...
Thank you for your comment, Sharon. It really does make me happy to have just a few precious items that I use or at least cherish deeply. It is even more special when the things we own are unique, handmade, and tell a story — like the bookshelf your dad made you.
July 17, 2017
I agree with you, Suzanne. Some things I have may not be necessary, or even used very often, but they still bring joy and comfort. I will always have a special space for my books as well. And yarn.
yes, it’s just stuff. Yes, it doesn’t all spark joy. But some of it is old friends. When I look up and see the books that have been on the same shelf in the same order for a decade, it gives me a place to rest, to shelter if I need it. This, too, is a kind of mindfulness.
July 13, 2017
It is a wonderful feeling to have most of the things you own be really special. Every spring I do what you are doing, and pare down. It is amazing what you can accumulate through the year. I have enjoyed having one small bookshelf that my dad made me, and getting down to only the few books I would read over and over. It takes a lot for me to even purchase a book. Once in a long time, a book I read from the library is special enough to actually buy it. As you say, being mindful makes a huge difference. I hope your journey is a joy for you.
Cathy Stewart says...
You will notice a sense of lightness and freedom as you clear the unnecessary from your life.Remember “It’s just stuff” It can be replaced if needed.
I moved 5x in three years. Too much stuff to keep me weighed down.
May 12, 2017