We honestly didn't realize how much stuff we had.
Take two somewhat impulsive shoppers with a hankering for a good deal, a few stuff-intensive hobbies, a really handy hubby who has a LOT of tools, and a couple of kids and you have...... way too much crap.
I knew we were in trouble when we moved to a 3000 sq foot home and still had stuff everywhere. When Jay's clothes still had to be stuffed into his closet and dresser, despite all the space. When R had enough toys to fill up a bedroom, a playroom and part of the family room. When we had to store kitchen stuff in the basement because our huge kitchen still didn't have enough storage space. For months I devised new organizational tools and storage solutions. We just need another bookcase, another set of shelves, more rubbermaid containers and a better system. At some point last fall, I looked around, exhausted from constantly organizing, cleaning, and storing.
We have too much stuff.
That was the problem. Not a lack of shelves, or drawers, or handy dandy organizational systems. We just have too much. We buy too much, we hang on to things too long, we falsely convince ourselves we need all this stuff. We don't need it. Not all of it, anyway.
As the plan to move and set ourselves up to build our dream home started to take shape, we realized the life we were heading for was much simpler than our current one. There just wouldn't be room for all this stuff. I suddenly felt free. And slightly panicked, and very ruthless. Jay and I discussed it and agreed we'd need to get rid of a good chunk of our stuff. As we prepared to list the house, I went through every room and tried to make an honest evaluation of its contents. Anything we hadn't used in the last 18 months (since our previous move) was out. Several bags went to Value Village for donation. We hired packers but still, I tried to go through each room periodically and toss/donate what wasn't useful to us.
Through another blog that I absolutely adore, I discovered Minimalist Mom and Simple Mom, two blogs which inspired me to continue scaling back. Reading about these moms' journeys to minimalism and simplicity made me feel...peaceful. The idea of living intentionally, free from the shackles of a constant consume-waste-consume cycle, really resonated with me and I've continued to sell and donate what we don't need even after the move was complete.
I wish I could say this process has been streamlined and systematic, but alas, there's nothing streamlined about me these days, not with a three month old in tow all the time! While the process hasn't been perfect, the idea remains powerful: buy less, consume less, live with less. I really do think our life will be richer if we maintain this as our mantra.