More than three years ago, with no plans to move, but with an urge to purge and simplify our lives, we began the mammoth task of downsizing, but with a twist. We were going to take our time.
Living simple. Tiny housing. Decluttering. Downsizing. Tidying up. Organizing. These concepts have taken hold of our collective imaginations, if not our realities. With baby boomers retiring and relocating (whether to smaller quarters and/or to another geographical location), the public conversation about ridding oneself of a lifetime of possessions has never been louder. Many of us in this generation have also been responsible for clearing out our aging or deceased parents’ properties and have vowed not to inflict that backbreaking, time-consuming, and emotional task on another generation.
But where do you begin and when? For many, the call comes when it is time to relocate, and quick decisions must be made. Keep, donate, sell, toss.
We have chosen a different route, patterned on the “slow movement,” which encourages us to slow our pace of life, savoring the moments. I call our method “Slow Downsizing,” where the focus is on the journey, even as the destination is also important. Consider it more like traveling by ocean liner than jet plane.
We want to be ready when the time comes to change our living situation. But as sentimental people, we also want to enjoy looking through our bits, finding ways to preserve the photos, the letters, our history (and family’s history) and our memories so that they take up less space while still being accessible. We also want to find good homes for the items we no longer use nor want—whether through selling or donating them. At the same time, we don’t want this overwhelming task to overtake our lives.
This blog is dedicated to that journey. Although we have made much progress, we have only reached the tip of the iceberg (while hoping to avoid the fate of the Titanic.) The goals of going public are several: to allow for personal reflection on the process, to feel spurred to action, and to share both successful ideas and insights with others who have struggled with the same inability to let go. It is not a “how to”, and we are learning as we move forward.
We welcome you aboard our slow downsizing ship!
Belle Brett and John Heymann