We recently sold our little white house with green shutters on the prettiest street in our ‘ville. I miss the street already, but I was kinda done with the house. For a week and a half now, we’ve been moving into a little rental across town, which we will live in only until we buy a new house and move back across town again (we’re east-siders at heart; no need to change everything all at once!).
The moral of all that house-changing is this: If you think you’re simplifying the amount of possessions in your home, forget all that zen stuff about taking one thing at a time and deciding if it fits in your life now, etc., etc. Just stare that stuff in the face and picture moving it twice. Then you, too, will write a yard sale ad that includes the words, “pretty much everything but the children.”
I sold and donated so many things that I actually did hit the regret button a couple times. For instance, tonight while donating books to the library I inexplicably fixated on a paperback Winnie the Pooh and could not part with it. (“Pooh?” said Piglet. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing, I just wanted to be sure of you.” I was going to donate THAT?) Mom saved me from similar regrets when she took some of our children’s books for the library at Dr. Dad’s rural clinic a few miles away. Or maybe they were for her grandma library. Either way, I’ll get to visit. It’s easy to get rid of a few things, things you’ve only had for a little while and just haven’t used, things from Walmart or Target. It’s not so easy to get rid of gifts and books you’ve stared at on your shelves for years. They pass the simplifying test – you’re not madly in love with their beauty and you haven’t made use of their functionality in quite some time. But they’re part of you, part of home – just like the walls that need painted.
Between these moments of stuff-and-things nostalgia, though, I feel delightfully unencumbered. Getting rid of stuff makes more room for happiness. Just look at this room. This is the happiness of less.
So little to keep clean. So few things to walk around on the way to bed. I totally adore our rental, partly because it has an extra bedroom (if less square footage) and new carpet, but also because we brought so few things to it. It’s like the simplifying I’ve been doing in theory for a hundred years (give or take) has finally truly happened. It’s such a relief.
I don’t want to live in a rental forever, but right now I’m really loving this feeling that change is so very possible. If we want to move to the English countryside, we don’t have to sell a house in order to do it. And there’s so much less to try and fit on the plane. It’s liberating. And it’s full of possibility.
Plus, it’s not like I didn’t bring the important stuff.