It is not uncommon to hear of someone “decluttering, destashing, minimizing, etc”, thoughts often reminiscent of bygone days when life was just… simpler.
In today’s society, and at one point (ok several…) I have wished I was better at doing just that, simplifying my life in a way that renewed my freedom, and allowed my passions the chance to emerge.
Like most, the best-laid plans actually laid by the wayside as I found a new hobby, a new project to try to bring more income into our home, or a new kitchen gadget that would just make things easier.
One of the benefits and possible curses to the military lifestyle is the Permanent Change of Station or PCS. This is short for pack it up and say goodbye because everything you know is about to change again.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with it, it’s actually kind of exciting, to be honest, but it is also hard to leave behind the friends and in some cases family as life takes you on a new part of your journey.
One aspect of this transition is the decision-making time where you go through your home and look at everything you own to decide if you like it, love it, or need it enough to bother taking it to the next place or not.
The move we are actually still stuck in was even more difficult in that this one took us to Europe, and things are different here. Many houses are smaller, doorways more narrow (streets too for that matter.. Yikes!) and things we are used to being able to fit into our homes frankly just might not.
We were counseled by those with experience that we should downsize considerably as we may not have the space for everything once we got here.
I have seen some of the housing, and it is indeed smaller, it often takes you up sets of switchback stairs, and offers little space to maneuver large pieces of furniture. Going with this advice, I sold, and sold, and donated, and gave away. We even trashed some things that I just couldn’t find another way to remove.
Even with all of that, I know I still have things I don’t really need, but what should I do about it?
Thankfully, the military has programs overseas to offer furniture on a loan basis while people wait for their things to arrive. 95%ish of what we own was put onto two trucks on June 27th and will hopefully be delivered by the time you read this over three months later.
Three months that we’ve done without a large number of things once deemed “necessary.” Some of them I do miss more than others like my sewing machine when one of my husband’s shirts has a seam coming loose, or a hole starts in a pair of jeans.
My blender when it’s close to 90 degrees in the house and a frozen hot chocolate sounds amazing (don’t make fun until you try it!). The rest of my clothes when it’s in the 50’s, windy, and in the shade, and I foolishly didn’t pack more than a light sweater (yes both of those temperatures have happened, sometimes within a day or two of each other!).
What about everything else though?
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Yes, I miss my bed, my own cookware, having more than a set of four of everything needed to eat, but for the most part, I had a realization, do you know how much time I spend cleaning? I scrubbed a wall the other day because my kiddo had somehow marked it and I didn’t really have anything else that needed done… A WALL GUYS!
It may be nice to have things like a printer, or arts and crafts supplies, but I have to say it has been a pleasure to just not have to worry about managing it all.
I have counter space, and the garage is basically empty, there are only a handful of toys to clean up at a time, and sweeping one floor of the two-story house takes less than 10 minutes because I don’t have to move this, that, and the other thing to do it.
Part of me loves not having all of that stuff to contend with every day, the feeling of clutter and chaos when the 4-year-old tornado blows through a room or I see that pile of stuff I need to do something with, eventually. We have the things we need to get by, and largely, we have done so quite well.
This experience has shown me that there is a freedom we can have when we let go of the things of this world and allow our lives to take on more of Yah, and so much less of the things everyone says you have to have in order to be happy, successful, or fill in the blank.
Yes, things can make certain jobs easier, sure, but I think we forget that there are ways to accomplish the same task without “that thing” to do it, and it leaves us trapped. I want to stay free, even when all that stuff shows up.
I want to change my way of thinking, and let go of the desire for more. I want to shift my mindset to realize that this stuff just doesn’t really matter after all.
I wish I could tell you that I have been an awesome mom through all of this. That I take my kiddo to the library at least once a week, and the park every day to play. That we’ve been off exploring and making new friends.
While we have done bits of some of those things, I can admit that this page in my story has still been a challenging one and that I have lacked the bravery I once had to do things like that.
As hard as that is to admit, my hope is that by sharing this with you, and perhaps just the exercise of writing it out, that I might not just inspire you to consider braving a change yourself, but that I might remind myself to do the same.
CHIME IN: What does simply living mean to you? Share in the comments below!