Needing vs. Wanting
Do you ever think about all the things you have? Unnecessary things. Things that are sitting in a box in the closet collecting dust, unused for years on end, taking up your limited space. Things that you can’t part with because they hold sentimental value and things that will one day be useful. I have so many things – too many. Why do I feel the need to keep everything? Why is it that the more space I have acquired, I have felt the need to fill it? How much of it is really necessary?
For the last few years, I felt like I didn’t have any storage space, my house was always cluttered, I never knew where anything was, and I would have to make a mess to find what I needed. It’s because of this that I started to panic when we put our house up for sale. It was a disaster and the time frame to get organized was limited.
Our home had to be immaculate for the open house and maintained that way for any showings. There was tons of spring yard work, loads to fix around the house, a super deep clean required and staging to do. Not to mention we had to move our elaborate chameleon and snake habitats out of the living room for the open house. How would I ever find the time to get everything done when I barely have enough time as it is?
Downsizing: Phase 1
With the countless offers to help from some incredible family and friends and the dream of moving to Costa Rica in mind, I was able to conger up some serious determination to knock items off our to-do list. Over the period of a month, my husband Shawn went through and worked on repairs around the house while I made purging my priority.
I rampaged through our home continually asking myself if we needed all these things. I sorted through every single cupboard, drawer, closet, and storage bin and created piles to recycle, sell, and donate. If it hadn’t been used in over a year, or we didn’t plan to use it in the next year, it went in the pile.
I was finally able to let go of stuff that I had been holding onto for years, like all the clothes that I would “one day” fit into again, excessive amounts of barely used toiletries, outdated electronics, unframed artwork… and the list goes on…
Assistance came in all forms: keeping me company while sorting, weeding & landscaping the yard, lending me furniture or artwork, being an ear for me to vent to, taking our dogs for a walk, adopting our chameleon, helping me clean, folding our laundry, taking stuff to the dump, and last but not least – bottles of wine. It was all hands on deck and we couldn’t have done it in time without the generosity of others.
I left a box at the front door, filled it with our junk, and urged anyone who came over to look through it and take whatever. This turned out to be a fantastic way to unload stuff. It felt really good giving people things that they wanted or needed – especially after they had spent their valuable time helping us. It was also surprising how many trips to good-will we were able to avoid that way.
The Perks of Purging
All the clutter and the sheer amount of things we had (and still have) caused me a lot of unnecessary pressure, stress, and anxiety – especially when forced to go through everything in a short time period. After turning my house upside down and removing the mess, I’m amazed at how much room I actually have, the house looks incredible, everything has its place and it’s so much easier to keep clean. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and it gets lighter with every load I take away. It is liberating and oddly therapeutic.
Most of the motivation to clear things out was purely due to the fact that it would cost a fortune to ship everything across the continent, which made me be realistic on what we had to get rid of. And guess what the best part is? We are saving a ton of money not buying useless things we don’t need (just want). Enough money that we can now afford weekly Spanish lessons to help reduce the culture shock of moving to Latin America.
Now that I’ve de-cluttered, I feel one step closer to our dream and I’ve got the drive to keep at it. Also, when our house finally sells we’ll be moving into a smaller space temporarily while we wait for our new Costa Rican abode to be built. There is no way we will have room for all of our belongings so we will have to purge A LOT more. At least now I have an inventory of everything and can strategize on how to unload it all.
We are planning to have a yard sale to recuperate some of the money that we have wasted on things over the years. Any profits will go towards our next trip to Costa Rica in October. I’m definitely happy we’ve got a bit of time before the next phase begins, especially because there are a lot of items I’m not ready to part with yet. Granted, I don’t miss a single thing that I have gotten rid of so far. As it turns out, we really don’t need most of the things we have.