Eliminating Stress At Home...
Can Downsizing Actually Help?
About a year and a half ago my husband presented the idea of downsizing to me. The overall idea was to try living life more simply. I nearly had a panic attack because all I could think about was minimalism, and thought that was not realistic with our current lifestyle. Needless to say, I shut the idea down pretty quickly. Over the next few months I began to see more clearly the stress my husband was dealing with in his job and financially so I decided to try and open up to the idea of downsizing.
We read a lot of material and watched countless videos about people who simplified their lives. It was very easy to see see how free and at peace these people seemed. But one unanswered question still remained. Would this even be possible with kids? After a bit more time and ‘research’ we decided that it was. We came to an agreement that for a season we would try downsizing and living a more simple life, in order to eliminate the largest stressors in our lives. I thought to myself, “I can try anything for a year or two…”
As we began to slowly get rid of many of our belongings, I began to feel the freedom that so many people had been talking about. And the further into this journey we got, the more I began to realize the benefits we could experience if we accomplished this.
One of the largest benefits and driving forces for me was that I could spend less time maintaining and cleaning the house because it would be a smaller area. This meant I could spend more time with my children and investing in them. Lately I was feeling like all that I ever did was play catch up while trying to keep my children occupied. And it was very disheartening to always feel behind on my to-do list. I never felt like any tasks around the house were ever really completed. And this effort was taking away a lot of my time from investing in my children.
As some of you know we are in the process of selling our house. My mother-in-law is buying our house, and has been living with us for almost one month now while she closes on her house sale. And she’s so sweet to let us stay here for a bit longer while we figure out our next move! So in the meantime the five of us (Dean, pregnant me, and our 2 kids), have been staying in the two guest rooms. We put 95% of our possessions into a 10x20 storage unit, with room to spare. I never would have thought all of our possessions could fit in that small of a space.
It took roughly 6 months, and a lot of hard work to realize how much in our lives we could do without.
We sold a lot of belongings on local buy sell trade sites and have taken a lot of trips to Goodwill. We currently only have the absolute essentials with us at the home, and have been using my mother-in-law’s kitchen items, furniture, etc while we’re here. We have had the opportunity to get a taste of what living in a smaller area with less stuff feels like. And it has been incredibly refreshing, which came as somewhat of a surprise to me!
A huge part of the relief I feel is that we have much less clutter. The more stuff we have in our house the more cluttered we felt in our lives in general, and the more time I spent just “picking stuff up.” When we started getting rid of our belongings, we focused a lot on getting rid of the items that cluttered the house. This included our children’s toys. That was a hard one for me. I’ve realized over the past month that the few toys we have hung onto, things like learning games, legos, play-doh, a train set etc. are really all the kids play with anyway and all that they need.
It has amazed us at how little we actually need to live and still be happy.
We know this is just a temporary living situation and we have only been downsized for a month, but I believe that the truths that we are realizing and the benefits that we are receiving will remain true as long as we maintain a simple lifestyle. There were so many things distracting us before, that we forgot to really appreciate what we had. Throughout the days I have had to spend less time maintaining the house and picking up, and have been more intentional with our daily schedules. We’ve been able to spend more time with our children, playing games and investing in their educational lessons. This has brought me an amazing amount of peace and freedom already. The further we get on this journey, the more committed to it we become, and the more we feel God’s peace and hand guiding us!
We will be doing a video documenting and discussing tips along the way on how to declutter our lives and simple practicable ways to test how a ‘minimal’ lifestyle would feel for you and your family. I am also going to do the 333 challenge soon and we will share the video of this with you as well! This challenge is that for 3 months I can only utilize 33 of my items of clothing, including jewelry and shoes.The goal is again to simplify life a little bit more, and not stress about stuff as minor as what I’m going to wear.
So if you are thinking about downsize or de-cluttering your lives, don’t have a panic attack like I did. I promise that if you make the leap you will not regret it! Let’s all keep making decisions to better our lives in order to be more happy!
Task for the day: Take a step back and look at your home. How many items can you point out that you rarely use, or don't need at all? What would life be like if you got rid of the unnecessary material items that distracted you and took up some of your time? Try picking one or two items that take up your time and that you don't really need, and put them in your attic or garage, and out of your way. Just forget about them for a few days. Let's see if we can all take small steps in making life less distracting, and more fun!
Thanks, and keep trekking with us on Our Journey to Bliss!