After losing 25 lbs. in less than 2 months, my next challenge is scaling down enough to fit into 125 square feet for an upcoming move. Here’s what the process has taught me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still having to spend a lot of time and effort managing my weight (several people have asked me what I think about “that New York Times article” – yes, I’ve struggled with a sluggish metabolism and will write more about this soon). But shedding the excess weight helped prep me to make even larger changes – shedding excess possessions so that I can move to a more affordable space and shed excess debt.
As I’ve been working on purging and consolidating, I’ve had the following thoughts.
- It takes a lot of planning and even more bravery. I’ve been longingly reading about tiny houses since I was a kid (my parents are self-admitted pack-rats, so I swung hard the other way). However, it still took me a really long time to take the plunge and start planning for the move and the “ultimate” purge (I’ve made a habit of de-cluttering my stuff once a year or more since I was a kid – see above). On the plus side, once I mustered up the courage, I knew exactly what I needed to do: measure the new space and make sure I could fit everything into the same space at my current place (having the chops to plot it out visually also helped).
- Our possessions are our identity. The stuff we have says a lot about who we are and who we want to be. The challenge for me was distinguishing between things that helped me pursue my core interests (instruments, art/craft supplies, yoga gear, etc.) and those that were remnants of unrealistic dreams past (cough, cough, academia). Making the decisions of what to get rid of and what to keep brought out some strong emotions. I recently read an article on “clutter blindness” and was amazed by how many commentators stated their anxiety-based reasons for not de-cluttering.
- Your giving mainstream culture the middle finger. I’m no stranger to unconventional lifestyles (being a former-homeschooler-vegetarian-low-carb-post-academic-freelancer), but something about this kind of minimalism flies in the face of our most basic societal values: that more is better and material goods bring happiness. I’m not suggesting that everyone should adopt my strategies, but I am trying to prove (as many others have done before me) that less is more and focusing on what really matters is the secret to happiness. Even if you start small with de-cluttering, I promise you it will be a transformative experience.
Have you even had the desire to drastically scale back? If so, what anxieties stopped you? (Or, if you did make the change, what ultimately motivated you to do so).