Back in 2009 I started to get the itch to peel away, pare down, and de-clutter my life. I became much more aware of unused space and unused things. It caused me to shift my focus to what I really needed in life and to consider how I could share or donate what I did not need to someone or a cause that did need it.
My first impetus was to donate or sell the things that I did not use any longer. It just did not feel right to have them any longer. I started with clothes. If I had not worn a piece of clothing in the last 3 months I put it into a pile to be consigned or donated. Oddly, I found that the items I wore most frequently were my favorites and I did not know why I thought I needed more? After I pared down my clothes inventory, I implemented and still practice the “One in One Out Theory”. It is just what is sounds like. If I happen to buy a new item of clothing, shoes, scarfs, I have one that I either consign or donate. It keeps my closet space minimal and energetically fresh.
I evaluated my living space next. It was me and my 3 creatures in a 3 bedroom 3 bathroom house. I felt that it was wasteful to be in place where I could count the number of times I would use the other 2 bedrooms or bathrooms in a year. So, I made plans to move out and rent it to someone who needed and would use the added space. After selling all the furniture and items in what was previously my home for 12 years, I found someone who loves it as much as I did and uses all the space!
For my first downsized space I rented an adorable 2 bedroom 1 bathroom bungalow style home. It was a good way to get acclimated to smaller living, gradually. It did not take long though. After a year there I realized I used the second bedroom so infrequently that I wanted to try a one bedroom one bathroom place. I found and purchased a 675 sq ft condominium with one bedroom and 1 and 1/2 bathrooms just in case guests needed to use the 1/2 bath or water closet. And so happens, the guest bathroom was perfect for both guests and for Miss Kitty. So it worked out.
I now live in a 625 sqft 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom apartment, that I really appreciate, as I wait for my next move. I imagine I will buy a house in North San Diego one day, but I wonder what I will do with the extra space? I often wonder to myself, “is it just me or do more people feel like me and want to live much smaller footprint”?
I like being in and experiencing big outdoor spaces but I prefer small spaces for my living environment. Either way, with this newfound awareness of the space about me, I often wonder how it affects all the other parts of me and how others experience space as well? I don’t see myself going back to a perspective that doesn’t include considering space utilization in my acquisitions. If it isn’t being used or going to be used, do I really need it? Time will tell. It certainly feels better to have less things around me and for now, it will do what feels best.
December 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm
Hi Leslie…loved your article. At age 84 I have done exactly the same thing. Sold the house on Willard (was living in my Mom’s old house)..sold all the furniture with exception of a few keepsake items…moved to a senior community in Nevada (Janice is a teacher here)…smaller, newer townhouse with light and sunshine everywhere…no pool to maintain…no yard work (association does it all)…life is so much simpler and easier and best of all…NO TRAFFIC in Summerlin. A wonderful sense of freedom comes with the change. You will love it I’m sure. I do.
December 12, 2016 at 10:25 pm
Leslie, You know our story! But living spare has been a wonderful experience. When we consider a new item, we think, “Where would we put it and how often will we use it.” Makes buying an easier task, for sure, because there will never be enough room for more in our tiny haven! Miss you greatly and look forward to more blogs!! Katherine