By Laura M. LaVoie
With the tiny house movement on the rise, it seems like more and more people- including couples and young families– are attempting to live smaller and smaller. In order to go smaller, many of us are downsizing with great abandon.
For me and my partner to transition comfortably into our 120 square home we had a lot to get rid of; things that we had accumulated over 17 years together. Here are a few tips I have learned over the last several years as we have made this big change in our lifestyle.
- Small Steps. Downsizing can be terrifying when you start looking at all of the things you have and the memories that go with them. Sometimes it isn’t even sentimental. You might look at an object and think you could do something with it someday. I learned quickly that if I hadn’t yet I probably wouldn’t. You don’t have to eliminate all of your earthly possessions in one fell swoop. Do it in stages. Pick a weekend and pick a room and start there.
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I encourage you to read the other four lessons on downsizing below:
- Donate. There was a lot of stuff we owned that we could have sold, but we were more than ready to make this big move and selling things seemed like a hassle. We could have thrown it away, but that would have been the antithesis of this movement. We settled on donating a lot of our things to the Good Will. Not only did it help to move large objects out of our home quickly it made us feel like the perfectly good things that we no longer had room for could help someone else.
- Go digital. Some people tell us they would love to live in a small house but they have too many books. We like books too, but we realized that we couldn’t hold on to all of them. Our solution was to transition all of our media – books, music, movies – to digital files. We read on our Kindle readers and we listen to music on our iPods.
- Holidays. Because we had been planning our transition for several years we started to ask friends and family go easy on gift giving. Since we also work closely with a nonprofit organization if we have a party we will ask that guests make a donation instead of bringing us gifts.
- Don’t get discouraged. Whether you’re telling yourself you can’t do this or you’re hearing from people around you who just don’t understand why you would want to in the first place, don’t let yourself get discouraged. When you feel a mental block, take a break. If you come across an object that has great personal meaning spend time with it. Write down your feelings. Take a photo. We learned early on that our deadlines were self-imposed so if we felt ourselves getting overwhelmed we would step back for a moment.
Downsizing is a big job. I’ll be perfectly honest. We still have a storage unit full of stuff back in Atlanta that we weren’t ready to deal with. Eventually we will be, especially after we have some distance between ourselves and those things.
For now, living here in this little cabin in the woods, I don’t think about all the stuff I left behind or all the things I don’t have any more. It is truly liberating.
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