The Quest to a Simpler yet Content Life
But to be richer, happier, and freer, all you need to do is want less.Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify
After a few stressful weeks, I can finally sit down and breathe for just a moment. We have been busy decluttering and getting ready for a downsized life. All the collected items over the past twenty years were dug out from every nook and cranny in the house. Looking at all this stuff, I still cannot stop asking myself “WHY”! Why do we need two chips and dip platters, or the dozens of bar soaps, or the ten boxes of Ziplock bags, or the totes of Christmas decoration sitting in the storage room, and … well, there’s too many ‘and’s. The ‘just keep it in case I need it’ mentality had always prevailed. Last winter I channeled Marie Kondo and used her KonMari method to start decluttering. Throughout this process, I learn to let go of most of our possessions and thaught my family to do the same. I gave the kids each a small box that they could hold things dear to them. We spent some fun nights looking through boxes of old school projects, trophies, artwork, etc. that we kept since they started school. We read, we laughed and then we let them go to paper heaven. My husband, on the other hand, needs a little more convincing. However, after seeing the packed garage, he is finally convinced that we have too much. Trying to scale down our belongings that fit into a 3500 square-foot house to possibly something half of that is no easy feat. It requires lots of self-control and discipline, and with a clear goal in mind, it is definitely propelling us forward day by day.
Downsizing is stressful yet exciting. The biggest decision was to sell the house that we had lived in for 17 years. It’s the house that our kids grew up in and the house that hosted many gatherings with friends and family. it has been an amazing and wonderful sanctuary for us and it is now time for another family to build their memories in this house. Downsizing also provides us with a chance to reevaluate our priorities and to forge a new path. Our ultimate goal is to live a simpler life, travel the world together, sleep in our van somewhere, spend more time with friends and family; and be content with that life. Another huge decision is for me to finally able to leave work and consider myself ‘retired’. Most people say I’m too young to retire and that I will be bored. At this stage of my life, I want to slow down, be selfish and think of myself and my well being. Maybe even sleep in some days without the alarm waking me up at the crack of dawn. I definitely won’t be bored with a couple international trips to plan, backpacking trip, climbing, camping, working on my hiking stamina to summit more mountains; spending more time with my parents, working on my photography and blogging more. Heading out to nature is the best therapy for me and it can’t get any simpler than that. No disruptions from electronics, just spend time lounging around and have meaningful conversations, with yourself if alone or with others. Social media is probably my one luxury item that is hard to give up. It has become an outlet for me to learn and discover, reconnect me with far away friends and family, and a platform for me to share my passions in life.
The interpretation of simple life varies from living in a tiny house or living in a van or on the road or even living off the grid. For me it is a mentality to not overthink and live in the moment. Downsizing to a smaller house gives me the time to enjoy what I love and not being bogged down with the cleaning and upkeeping of a bigger house. It also means not keeping boxes and boxes of untouched items in the house. It’s not an easy task to stay on that mentality but we are taking small steps now in the hope of reaching that milestone in the near future. Setting a clear goal is definitely the first step in this process and here are some tips and motivation for you to move towards that simpler, freer life:
- The goal, checked! We made the decision that I would retire from work about a year ago. Since then every decision and preparation we made had been purposeful so that we can realize this goal. Downsizing came right after as our children are both away from home.
- As we declutter, we’ve been careful to recycle, sell or donate our belongings rather than them ending up in the landfill. Just google and you’ll find local second-hand stores or online stores that will take those items.
- Cut the cord with cable tv. We had been without cable for quite a few years now and happy with it.
- Develop a hobby that relaxes you, or learn something new. I have already found a handful of activities through local Facebook groups or local stores.
- Volunteer your time for a cause that is near and dear to your heart.
- Don’t buy up the whole store when you go shopping. For starter, I am going to not stock up on grocery and buy smaller portions.
- Whoever you have in your life, motivate each other, and most of all, just have fun!!