I’m downsizing. From 960 square feet upstairs plus a full basement (1900 square feet total) to… well, I’m not sure yet. First I have to get rid of the junk that’s hiding in the corners, the extras that are never used but are certainly in the way. In the last few months, I’m estimating that I’ve gotten rid of (donated) nearly three car loads of clothes and luggage, plus a large selection of books. I’ve shredded several bags full of old account information. (What was I keeping those utility bills from 1995 for?) It’s been a slow process.
This morning I counted. I have 15 full summer outfits, plus a couple shirts extra. I wear about 10 of those outfits fairly regularly, so I’m not done yet, but I’m getting there. A few weeks ago I had closer to 50 summer outfits… and only wore a handful of those. This fall and winter the same thing will happen with winter outfits… I have a large suitcase and three drawers full of sweaters. Another full of turtlenecks. And probably 30 pairs of pants. Over the winter those will also be donated. Itemizing at tax season next year may get very interesting.
One of my rules right now is that if I buy one thing, I have to get rid of at least two. After all, I probably haven’t been wearing them if I’m buying something else, or won’t wear them much any more–so the new item will replace them. I’ve also begun hanging pieces of outfits together on the rack. Before, part of an outfit might be in one place and another part in another. I didn’t see the whole outfit and couldn’t find anything that matched. Now, I can’t stand in the closet saying “I don’t have anything to wear!” Sure I do. It’s just a matter of which outfit I should choose. And because there are fewer clothes to choose from, I can more easily choose the ones I prefer. Not only that, but if I keep those outfits together, they’re more likely to get washed together. Before, a shirt might be in one load and the pants might be… well, somewhere in the house. So I’d go and buy more clothes not because I didn’t have clothes, but because I couldn’t find the ones I liked in the massive piles of clothes I didn’t care for but couldn’t stand to get rid of.
Some people may think I’m exaggerating. I had two small closets plus a 16 foot rack in the basement full of hanging clothes. I had five dressers full of clothes that were folded, and two suitcases with off-season clothes. Come to my house and you won’t really notice a difference yet because as I’ve gotten rid of things, the other things have spread out some. But I notice a HUGE difference. And I like it.
It’s been a slow process. But it’s been very worthwhile. Next time I move, it will be even more worthwhile. I hope to move to the country and build a small house, maybe 400-500 square feet, max. I want land, not house. I’m tired of utility bills and taxes and clutter. I want a simpler life. And I’m gaining it… one car load of donations at a time.