Friday, August 5, 2016

Freedom with Less

Where was I during July?  We moved...I had some medical stuff and eventually surgery...and we moved!!!  Did I mention we moved...again?  We got the notice mid-June that we *might* have to move, then our landlord told us it was for sure so we set out to find a new home.

This would be our fourth move in 14 months.  I was done!

At the time, we were living int 3700+ square feet.  It was easy to feel like we had space because our stuff did not fill it up.  However, we wanted to move closer into the city, and in the heart of South-Central Austin, that means living in less than 2,000 square feet.  Doable for sure, but not what we were used to.  I was nervous to give up all our space.  However, we had no choice so we decided to take this chance at moving to see if we could somehow swing a house we loved in our most desired, super-cute, funky Austin neighborhood.

We found this amazing, modern, small remodel in that same favorite neighborhood and decided to rent it.  The only thing holding me back was that it was 1630-ish square feet.  Less than HALF the size of our current home (granted our current home was too big, even for the 5 of us crazies).

So I did the math and thought, let's do this!  Let's cut everything by 50%!  Cut our clothes, dishes, furniture, cars....get rid of half of it.  The only thing was that we had about 2 weeks, I ended up in the hospital during that period, and we didn't know if we could make it.  David, though, was so excited at the possibility to have less stuff that he joined me in my enthusiasm for decluttering and did a ton of work!  He is also a Sensory Challenged Parent who apparently was oppressed by all our stuff.

Thankfully I didn't have my surgery until after we arrived and had a week our new home.  While I wouldn't wish surgery on anyone, it was a blessing of sorts to not have to make a lot of decisions about what we kept.  I gave my husband free reign over all the attic clutter (25++ boxes) and he narrowed them down to 5 boxes of keepsakes, mostly pictures.  He did all the goodwill runs, he did all the deciding, and honestly I thought I would hate giving up that control but it was a relief.  My inner pack-rat was screaming, "What if we need something later...What if something gets given away that I can make money off of.....What if something important to me gets lost??!!"

But my true self looooooved it!  And I truly remember only a handful of things in those 5-6 SUV full loads to goodwill.  No regrets.

So we did it.  With the help of friends we went down a ton square feet and possessions, but have gained a great walkable neighborhood, bike-able distance to David's work, a cute home that is our style, and Freedom with Less.

I've talked about how less and decluttering help me with my Sensory Challenges as well as my Kids, but I fully acknowledge that to make this jump to 50% less I had to be pushed.  Minimalism, for me, has been something I've been skirting around for a long time, something that seemed like it would bring me joy and freedom, but scary all the same.

But I jumped off the cliff (...or was pushed ;) and was set Free.  

Here are just a small bit of the many blessings Minimizing has brought me:

  • I'm more productive.  I realize that I dreaded running an errand or doing work because I couldn't find anything I needed!  Mail run?...I don't remember where that blasted letter is I'm supposed to run to the mail boxes?!  School shopping?...I can't find that list the teacher sent home OR the school supplies I hoarded away in the Fall.  I mean, I could eventually find those things, but the process of finding them caused me so much stress and frustration.
  • I feel soooo much calmer.  Look at all that negative space in that area above.  I still have decor and my style, but so much less of it makes for some soothing negative space.  Does that area get filled with kiddos doing karate kicks?  Sure ;)  But negative space can be calming to the eyes and the mind and I have found that I crave it!
  • My house is actually clean.  Do you know how many times I cleaned 3700+ square feet by myself?  Twice I cleaned the whole house at one time.  Yes, that's twice in seven months!  I might have had the energy to clean a room here and there, but four bathrooms and all those bedrooms and all the hardwoods...overwhelms me right now to think about it.  We have lived here just a couple short weeks and I cleaned the whole house by myself yesterday and I wasn't winded afterwards :)  So much time saved cleaning everything!

What about you?  Have you recently minimized and felt like it gave you more mental/physical/emotional/some other kind of freedom?

And guess what???!!!!  I, along with a lifetime friend, have started a Podcast on Minimalism, Living Intentionally, and Freedom with Less!  We're two moms and if this whole minimalism thing interests you and you don't know where to start, give us a listen.  You can find us over at The Practical Minimalists site or in IG @thepracticalminimalists <3

Looking forward to sharing more with you about how we live with less and the joy that has come along with that!
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