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Simplifying Is Bravery: Donating Even MORE


Just two days ago I did the unimaginable. After being in our new smaller town home for four months, I unpacked the very last box. Yessss, you heard that right…the very last box. Why am I so proud of myself? Because normally after a move it takes me years to get through every box. Why is this? Because I don’t need half of the stuff I keep and the idea of getting rid of it was always too much of a burden. But this time it was different. D and I decided to eliminate, sell, and get rid of almost everything we owned before we moved. This move we only brought with us boxes of personal belongings, our vehicles, and two chairs.

When we were loading up the 26 foot truck to drive here we started running out of room and I was seriously regretting that we packed our storage unit into the truck first and I didn’t have the time to go through more things and reduce. Because of that mistake I was left having to give away expensive saws, lamps, and bikes that we did not have room for on the truck. We had two of D’s motorcycles in the back of the moving van. Considering that fact, we only had around 19 feet or less of boxed room for everything we decided to keep.

After arriving to our new home, I soon realized how hard it was going to be to unpack. Without a even a bookcase to set things on, I found that I didn’t even have room for the special things which I had felt important to keep. I soon realized that most of the photos and pictures I brought with me didn’t work in the new spaces. I also realized that I had KEPT TOO MUCH.

“What? but I got rid of so much,” I told myself “how will I ever be able to get rid of even MORE?!”

This was a crazy idea in my mind. How could I stand to part with things that only two weeks ago I felt that I could not live without? I am here to tell you that somehow in the midst of putting things away into a smaller space with little to no storage, that there is a way to get rid of more. I’m also here to tell you that simplifying is one of the bravest things I have ever done. It isn’t easy. It is tough stuff.

Had I just gotten rid of these things before the move I could have kept a few things that I really WANTED. Like my saws {I’m still salty over leaving all of those power tools}.

Items that I wish I had reduced even more:

Bedding and Linens: We have a lot of bedding, but most are smaller quilts from when my children were younger. I wish I would have given them all of their old bedding and let them do what they wanted with it. Five children growing up equals a lot of bedding, quilts, bedspreads. They are bulky and I just do not have the storage here. I am pretty sure I had about seven snuggies. Yes, SEVEN. After I separated out the quilts into piles to go to each adult child and donated several others, downsized sheets and linens, I would have been able to load up those saws. haha. The great thing is, now all of my blankets and linens are organized and stored in the shelving units that my small laundry room provides.

Christmas and Holiday Decor: I’m a decorator and a self-declared Holiday-Hoarder. I had six of those super long super wide huge plastic tubs full of Christmas decorations. Even in my Texas home I had only used two of the crates to decorate. I felt emotionally attached to all of the past Christmas’ with my children as they grew up. These feelings made it very hard to part with any Christmas decor at all over the past 24 years. Add on top of that I had several huge boxes of nativity scenes and ceramic villages. I am happy to announce that I decorated for Christmas early in this home and kept only what would fit in with the new space. I sold several of my favorite and expensive pieces and donated the rest. I went through and kept a small box of special ornaments the kids made when they were little. Now my Christmas is stored in four normal sized bins.

Clothing and Shoes: I had already donated much of my clothing so I just packed up what was left. However, reality set in after moving and I realized that the closets here only had one hanging rack across them. Add to the fact that I had no dresser drawers, night stands, or any place other than bathroom cupboards to store things and you can see my dilemma with unpacking. The first thing I had to do was go to Home Depot and purchase more wire racks. Doug was able to add a second hanging rack to his closet and several more to make shelving along the left hand side. I did the same in my walk in closet. I added several racks along one side and set large baskets I had on them. Then I folded my clothing that would normally have gone inside drawers into the baskets. When room in the baskets was used up I then went back through and eliminated more clothing. First to go were things I had not worn for over a year. I don’t miss even one item. As a matter of fact, this was the only winter that I did not buy any clothes. I think that it is because I can see what I own and know where it is. Because I have less in the clothing department I can see more options and how I can put things together to make different outfits. As far as the shoes go, I donated a box of those too. Again, I don’t even wear half the shoes I do have. So, once summer comes I will revisit this task and eliminate more.

Picture Frames & Art: This is a harder one, because art and frames are so expensive and the frugal crafter in me always thinks that I can repaint and repurpose. However, I wish I would have considered the walls and how much space I had to reuse things. Had I done that I wouldn’t have brought half of what I did. With the family pictures I would have removed the photos and donated the frames. This would have provided more room on the moving truck and less work once I got here.

What I have learned through this process:

Simplifying is one thing, but what I term “truly simplifying” is when you realize yet another unexpected layer in the process. This is when you have arrived and now see things with new eyes. When confronting this new layer there is even more reward. A few if the the rewards are peace of mind, more money, freedom to chose your own life, and more home. Yes, you heard that right, Less House equals More Home! You can read more HERE {link coming soon}.

Touching every last thing I have purchased, been given, or saved for the past 44 years has taken an emotional toll. But through this process I have learned many things about myself. I have recognized that truly simplifying requires an ample dose personal bravery. I have proven to be brave over and over again. I have realized that I held onto possessions because of fear. Fear of losing a memory, fear of having to purchase it again if I need it, fear that when it is gone and all said and done–maybe I will be forgotten too. But instead of holding onto FEAR, I have mustered up the strength to be brave and have chosen a pathway of faith. Faith that the memories will continue on as I journal and share my stories. Faith that if I may need what I eliminate, I will be blessed with the means to easily and effortlessly replace it. Furthermore, faith that when I am gone from this earth that I will be remembered. I will not leave a burden of unnecessary things for my children to have to go through, but instead I will leave for them memories of growing up with me as their mom, special times we had together, and my love for them. I’ve learned that experiences and memories are the only important “things” to keep.

Join my series of articles on my journey to a simpler life:

Donating My Clothes Made A Better Me

How To Make Moving Easier

Smaller House = Bigger Life

Simplify Your Kitchen & Your Life

Journey to a Simpler Life

All You Need is LESS

You Need is LESS

Halloween Decor Simplified

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  • Reply
    February 9, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Love, love, love, love, love. You are an inspiration to me. I haven’t unpacked and photos yet and I know it’s because I have way too much and not enough wall space. Our house now is bigger but has more windows which makes actually less room for hanging pictures. My livingroom has one wall to hang pictures not the two or three I had before. I need to just start and go through then and what doesn’t fit I need to get rid of. Thanks for inspiring me to do the same.

    • Reply
      Amylia Coover
      February 10, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Best of luck with your pictures. It really does take bravery to part with things you “think” you need, even when you do not. I have the same problem in my home, windows everywhere! I guess the up side is that money is saved in decor. xo

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