As I get older… errr, I mean, more experienced… I realize my priorities about the things in life that are really important have shifted. When I was younger, I was all about my “stuff”. Cars, furniture, pictures, appliances, clothes, souvenirs… like many people the more I had the richer I felt. I measured my success in this world by the things I possessed. Next came a home and a dog and kids. I was living the dream. Then something happened that changed it all. I got divorced. I moved into a small apartment and left most of the furniture, appliances, and souvenirs behind. My life was uncomplicated and simple. But I still had my kids, my friends, everything that was important to me. And my stress levels dropped considerably. Eventually I found someone else to share my life with, got married… now I was REALLY living the dream.
Then we bought a new home, combined three households, and once again I found myself in a house full of “stuff”. For the next 8 years I fell into the trap of collecting even more “stuff” while trying to take care of a home and family. I started longing for the simpler life again. Less things, less stress. I just couldn’t quite figure out how to do it. Then while on vacation last January at our favorite vacation spot in Hilton Head, SC, I sat down with my family and turned on a new Netflix series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I had heard of Ms. Kondo before but considered her ideas silly. As I watched this show I came to realize that maybe there was a method to her madness. That week Amy and I came to a decision that we think will change our lives. We are going to take back our home!
Of course, we had never lost our home, but instead had lost control of it. We were victims of our “stuff”. We had so many things that our house always looked cluttered and unkept. To make matters worse there wasn’t much we could do about it. It is hard to dust and clean when every spot in your house is taken up with “stuff”. It is also all but impossible to move things around to make your environment more efficient. The result is a life of chaos and stress. We decided it was time to purge and simplify. So we developed a plan and timeline to take back our home. We are working from the top floor down with the goal of eventually ending up with all of the excess baggage in the garage where we will do one last purge.
To date we have nearly finished the top floor having donated 18 bags of clothes to Goodwill, thrown away about 20 garbage bags of trash, and donated one load of larger items to DAV. We have simplified our space by removing a desk, chairs, and television from our bedroom and created a TV room/den in the small bedroom next to ours. We have taken the other unused bedroom and changed it from a store room with a bed to a neat and usable guest room. Now we are preparing to start on the main floor but already we are liking our environment so much better and the stress levels are dropping.
It is a work in progress, and I will update this post as we approach our goal of a stress free and simple lifestyle.