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Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Downsizing Chronicles - Cleaning Out the Clutter

One of our many charity pick-ups.
Who checks huge suitcases anymore?
The 'Empty Nest' is still 4 years away but we made the decision to downsize early.  The decision took flight when we considered:

What would it be like to live closer to everything?  Less driving = more time and money for other things.  When we moved to MN in 2002, we opted for more square footage but it required us to move WAY out near nothing (we moved from Nebraska where housing was way more affordable).  After 10 years living in the boonies, we were very sick of driving!

How much more time would we have if we ditched all the seasonal chores, yard work and snow removal?  The thought of selling both the lawn mower and the snow blower filled my husband with joy!

What would it be like to have more financial freedom?  What emotional space would open up for us?  What worries would then become obsolete?  Contemplating this amazing thought really became the focal point of our decision.

Once we decided to downsize, the thought of all we had to get rid of was a bit daunting.  After 10 years, a house tends to fill up.  We got to work 'culling', tossing, donating and selling.  We had 2 garage sales, numerous charity pick ups and I am an official Craigslist maven - basically receiving pennies on the dollar for people to haul away what we no longer want.

It took us 9 months but was a cleansing and liberating process.  I realized needs vs. wants, sentimental 'keeps' vs junk as I was forced to make decisions on what to keep, what to store and what to toss.  Stuff was just stuff - so much we never even used or held any value.  Moving is a great reason to reevaluate what comes into your home and is kept.

During this process, a dear friend who lives in a very small but beautiful home on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, told me that living in a small space forces discipline - when something comes in, something must go out.  Space and storage constraints call for keen choices and disciplined spending.  So wise!




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