I love nice things.
I’m sentimental about gifts I receive and souvenirs I’ve collected during mission trips and vacations.
I like sturdy, solid wood furniture that lasts forever and takes an elephant to move.
I like everything in order and …in its place.
Get the picture?
My dilemma began in 2015 with our first move from a 2-story 3,400 square-foot home to another 2-story 2,400 square-foot home. I cleaned out closets, gave things away, and filled the trash to overflowing numerous times. Thought I’d done a great job of letting go. However, a year later, we grew homesick and opted to move back to our hometown where we’d be closer to family and friends.
Sounds exciting, right? It was exciting until it came time to pack up and move again.
This time I was faced with downsizing from our 2-story 2,400 square-foot home to a one-story 1,300 square-foot home. Ouch! It was even more painful than I imagined. Could I keep any of my furniture this time? What do I own that would fit inside this little bitty house? The stress was almost unbearable.
Shifting from 3,400 square feet to 1,300 square feet in a year’s time is physically exhausting and mentally draining.
The first to go was our solid wood 4-poster king bed and bedroom suite. I held onto the round detail crafted poster of the bed and screamed as I was dragged across the floor while it was being carried away. Well, not really, but that’s how I felt.
Next, was my elegantly designed solid wood eight chair dining table set and buffet. I threw myself on the table and held on for dear life, kicking and crying. No! Don’t take this! Pl-e-e-s-e! It’s mine! Again, not in the physical, but emotionally.
Pressure mounted in my gut.
Would my solid oak, roll-top desk even fit into that tiny room and suffice for an office? What about my bookcases? My computer and printer? That familiar lump formed in my throat. You know the one, it pops up and threatens a river of tears. Don’t cry, don’t cry. It will work out.
Will the king-size bedroom suite we kept squeeze into the master bedroom? This is the master bedroom, right?!? Uh, you call t-h-a-t the master bathroom?
Oh my, seriously? The only dining room is in the kitchen near the bay window. Can I possibly function in this small u-shaped kitchen with cabinets I can count on one hand?
Do they really make living rooms this small? I exhale and drop my shoulders.
The knot in my stomach felt like a surgical procedure was necessary to take the pain away. Ken and I had talked about downsizing for several years, but talking is much easier than making the actual move. We love, love our cozy little house and are thrilled with the choices we’ve made, but the process involved in getting to this point is less than desirable.
As I sit here looking into the extra bedroom filled with boxes, my mind drifts to the extra-large storage unit we rented before Christmas. Here it is, the end of February and it’s still housing several boxes that I have yet to unpack. How can I face the dilemma of sorting through knick-knack’s, knowing full well everything won’t have a place? Procrastination isn’t pretty.
Yet again, I must discard more possessions. Wow! I never thought I’d be so possessive with my belongings, and yet, with each item I discard and lessen the clutter, I’m finding more inner peace. Don’t get me wrong, letting go is like coating your hands with super glue and holding on while someone tries pulling collectibles from your grip. It feels like the skin is being ripped from your body.
I cry, and then I laugh. Funny how God has taken me through the process of downsizing a step at a time and has forced me to learn a valuable lesson, one I knew but seems I’d forgotten.
Life isn’t about things.
It’s okay to have things . . . as long as things don’t have you.
Although I still have a little further to go in my downsizing dilemma, I’m conquering the battle one item at a time. I’ll pray for you as you pray for me.
Feel free to share your downsizing experience.