Last week, my husband and I officially moved. I mentioned in my last post that we were amid a hectic transition to North Texas from the Austin area. Well, we’re officially all moved out of our three bedroom rental house and in to a one bedroom apartment. Last weekend included a lot of driving, a lot of money (moving is expensive), packing, hauling boxes up stairs, and throwing things out. It. was. exhausting. BUT it got all done, with a lot of help from our family and friends (thank goodness)!
We successfully downsized from 1,300 square feet to 800 square feet.
Like, what. It doesn’t sound like that big of a difference, but it really, really, really is.
Why would you want less space?
Well, earlier this year (maybe around February/March) I found myself desiring a more minimalist lifestyle. I was really sick and tired of cleaning that big ole house. Keep in mind it was just me, my husband, a cat, and a dog. No kids, no other family members or roommates. I would clean for hours and then the next day it would get dirty again and I’d get frustrated. We had rooms we never used and a bathroom that was basically pointless for just the two of us. I started seeing my books as dust collectors. (If you know me at all, you know this is so not like me, as I am a huge book nerd.) I started looking in to this minimalist movement and the idea of tiny living became so appealing to me. My husband and I would have conversations, imagining ourselves living in a smaller house that saved us money on bills/mortgages, and allowed us to travel more and do more things. Imagine. So when it came time for us to find a new place to live, we decided to significantly downsize to 1) save money, but 2) also force us to purge. Purge, purge, purge. This was the mantra as I was packing for our move.
So how did you do it?
Once we decided we eventually wanted to downsize, I started going through things. The first thing was clothes. I took everything out of the closet and donated any item that hadn’t been worn in the past 6 months. You’d be surprised how many clothes you can get rid of with this mind set. Of course there were a few things this first go round that I thought “but maybe I’ll want to wear this to that wedding shower in a few months…” or “maybe I’ll wear this at my next job” or whatever.
Our brain has this funny way of tricking ourselves in to thinking we need things. Society has taught us that material items bring us happiness. Which, I love things. I love shopping for clothes and shoes and books. But that fades. This process really forced me to question what it is that makes me happy in life and what I want to focus my time and energy on.
So, clothes were the first to go. I also got a bonus out of this first effort earlier this year in the form of an organized closet. Score! After I initially went through clothes, I headed to my books. I love reading. I’m always reading at least one book, if not two or three, at any given time. It’s just what I do. (I come from a long line of book nerds – hi, mom!) I always dreamed of having a house with a library. But, for some reason, this year I started viewing my books in a different light. Yes, I loved reading The Lovely Bones, but I’m never going to re-read that book, so do I really (I mean, really and truly) need it sitting on my bookcase? No, no I don’t. I made stacks of books to take to Half Price Books. And the first time I sold books back, the easier it made it to do it again. I’d go home and say “hey, those could go, too!” and more stacks were made. In our house I had a full 5 shelved book case, a full two shelved book case, two wall shelves full, kitchen cabinet top full of cookbooks, and two dresser tops full of books. Just…SO MANY BOOKS! Now, at our new place, we have our 5 shelved book case full, two wall shelves, and my work books in our little “study”. That’s IT. It is a significant – significant – smaller amount. And even now I keep looking at the books and thinking about which ones can go next.
Something that helped with getting rid of physical books? My Kindle. And my library card. We got library cards and you can check out books – FOR FREE – through your library on your Kindle. So I made an agreement with myself that I would not buy any more books on my Kindle unless it was something I had been anticipating (like Mindy Kaling’s new book) or couldn’t get through the library. I bought Mindy Kaling’s book in September, but before that I hadn’t bought a book since…April? A long time. And it’s saved me some dollars. That stuff adds up! Side note: I did NOT get rid of any sentimental books, signed books, or books I constantly re-read. I just can’t seem to part with my physical copy of The Bell Jar; it’s like an old friend giving you a hug when you really need it.
We also donated any furniture that was not coming with us to the new apartment. We were lucky to have family friends that brought a trailer and loaded up the furniture we didn’t want to donate to flood victims in Central Texas. I also threw a bunch of stuff out and donated things to Goodwill. If it was in our kitchen and, just as with the clothing, hadn’t been used in 6 months – it was out. I had a lot of baking things that I never used. Our kitchen is much smaller now, but it seems just right for the amount of things we brought here with us.
We thought about selling our furniture, but most of it was old and handed down from other people, anyway. This would have been a nice way to make a little extra cash for our move, but we didn’t have the time or effort to go through with all that. Plus, it felt nice to donate it to people in need from a crisis earlier this year. Some other places to look in to donating furniture would be domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, local youth agencies, Red Cross, etc.
I know 800 feet is not considered “tiny living”, but it is much smaller than what we lived in the past two years and what I grew up with. I loved our rental house, and if we had children it would be perfect. But for the two of us and our animals? We’re so content in our 800 square foot apartment. I hope to continue this chain of purging and continue to get rid of things that just take up space in our life for no reason. It has been a refreshing experience for me, and I hope you get something out of this post today that will give you an itch to get rid of some things for your own benefit.
What do you think? Could you downsize from 1,300 to 800 square feet? What do you think would be the hardest material things to get rid of from you home? Or maybe you’re living a minimalist lifestyle…what do you most enjoy about it? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy OM’ing and Namaste. ❤