Tag Archives: downsizing


9 Feb

I have been posting on this blog once a week, but this week I had expected that I might not write at all.

I thought, “I have too much anxiety this week.  My life is turning upside down.  I can’t think straight.  I can’t write.”

Then I realized, “That is exactly why I should write.”

Recently, I took some pictures of Spring branches and used them in a post.  The branches were bare to start with, but tiny buds turned to flowers and a few leaves.  The photos showed beauty, but they also showed change.

Sometimes you think you have it all together.

Everything changes. 

Some people looked at my photos of blossoming  branches and made comments about the speed of nature and the speed of life.

Sometimes life is too slow and we are impatient.  Sometimes it is too fast and we want it to stop.

Today, thirteen days after I brought them home, the branches still hold my attention.  Most of the flowers have now withered or shattered.

Petals are strewn across the tablecloth.  That is not a serious problem for me.  Something is always strewn across the tablecloth around here, and it is normally far worse and more difficult to remove than a few pink petals.

The branches have changed again.  They are not bare, however.  The few green leaves have become many.  At this point, there are more leaves than flowers.  Something dies and something else appears.

I am thinking about closed doors and open windows.  I am thinking about caterpillars and butterflies.  I am thinking about the nature of change.  I am thinking about chaos, about simplicity, and about Life, and how it is never the way we plan it out, or the way we expect it to be.

That is the adventure of it, right?

Sometimes life is messy.

Our family is preparing for a move.  This is a forced downsizing of our household, for financial reasons.  My life will change dramatically over the next six weeks.  Such is the nature of life.

Life is messy and stressful.

Life is surprising and interesting.

Life changes and we change with it.

One of my mothers-in-law ( I have two) refers to problems, difficulties, or struggles as Periods of Growth — as in, “Her husband left her with six children and no support, and wow, she experienced a real Period of Growth.”

My Period of Growth will be relatively minor, but I will grow and I will change.

It will be interesting to see how I turn out.

Should It Stay or Should It Go?

15 Dec

When it comes to organizing, downsizing, simplifying or just plain ‘spring cleaning,’ I think what overwhelms people the most is the sheer number of decisions to be made about what to keep and what to let go of.

With this in mind, I’ve come up with some criteria to help with the ‘stay or go’ decisions.

If you are ever trying to clean out your home and can’t decide what stays and what goes, consider the Three Fs:


…Does it fit in your home?  Does it fit with your lifestyle?


…Does it have a function in your life?  Can you use it?


…Does it bring a feeling of joy to your life?

Ideally, items will meet all three requirements.  This can happen with a really comfortable mattress, a favorite sweater, or a flat screen television.

However, many items will work for only two categories, and are still keepers.  Consider tax forms (small and useful, but bringing no joy at all) and sculpture (it fits and you love it, but it doesn’t do anything except collect dust).

Only one requirement?  That’s where things get sticky.

The FIT of an item is truly essential.  It should fit your life, and fit in your home, even if it means giving up something else to make space.

But… something that fits without being useful or joyful?  Forget it!  So, you need at least two of these requirements filled in order to keep an item.

If you have another system for deciding what to keep, I would love to know what works for you!

A Clean Surface
…Make Space for your Life!

My 100 Items

8 Nov

In a previous post (Could You Live With Only 100 items?) I committed to coming up a list of only 100 things I would own if I were to attempt this method of minimalism.

An arbitrary number presents a challenge, and some have handled the challenge with semantics, counting hundreds of books as “one library”, or by not counting things also used by others (like furniture).

I admit to having a hard time with this list.  Rationalization did occur.

Some of my belongings are contingent upon my living space or financial situation.  For example, I did not count my lamps, or storage bins, because if I lived in a house with more overhead lighting, closet space or built-in shelves I would not need them.  I did not count appliances because they often come with the house.

Some of my belongings are necessary for health or hygiene.  For example, I elected not to count my toothbrush, shampoo, eye drops, or sunscreen.  Also, some belongings are very small, like my library card, and I did not count them for that reason.

I ultimately decided to count items that I choose to own based on my values, lifestyle, and individual needs.  I also counted sets as one item, within reason, for example “bed” refers to the bed with the pillows, sheets and blankets included.

My list:


#(1)  Car with GPS

#(2)  Laptop

#(3)  Digital camera

#(4-5)  Music systems for bedroom and living room

#(6-8)  Houseplants

#(9)  Cellphone

#(10-19)  Art hanging from the walls and ceiling

#(20)  Photos

#(21)  Pine needle basket made by my late grandmother

#(22-26)  Purses and wallet

#(27)  Leatherman tool

#(28-30)  Vases

#(31-34)  Art supplies

#(35-38)  Board games and deck of cards

#(39)  Drawer of jewelry

#(40)  Calendar

#(41-44)  Cookbooks

#(45-51)  Pots, pans, dishes, flatware

#(52)  Towels and bathmats

#(53-57)  Organizational file binders

#(58)  Bookends

#(59-63)  Bed, chair, table, shelves, dresser

#(64-100)  Clothes and shoes


I think you can tell a lot about me from this list.  Some might question why I used up three numbers on houseplants but didn’t include a television…but I stand by that choice.

If I actually had to put this into practice, I am sure I would have to change some numbers, or even sacrifice some things, but I tried to be as realistic as possible and I am happy with my list.