A true story: Once long ago and far away in the structure of military land, there was as Army wife. She was dutiful, responsible, took care of the cleaning, cooking, mending, the schedules of her children, and was willing to more to any location the Army needed them. Life was filled to the brim ….with things to do. Life was so full of deadlines and interruptions. Except!!! …when the family had to move. Each family member was allowed one suitcase to pack. My suitcase was special. In my suitcase I only used my clothes to wrap and pack all the necessary items for our family’s survival during the span of time from the day the moving van took our household abundance and the day the van delivered all that responsibility to the new place. The first time I packed that suitcase it took several days of thought and decision…as if I were working a jigsaw puzzle where the only clue for fitting was the dimension of the suitcase. But after the first move, I had the absolute necessities down to a science. I always packed my favorite coffee mug last and took it out first. With that minimal suitcase and a virtually empty house at my new destination, I was on vacation. I had no big household responsibilities. no real cleaning, no putting away, cooking was like camping. My time was my own. The children and I would explore the new environment – the zoo, the stores, the parks, the local attractions. But when the van arrived I always came back from my vacation, put on my apron and rubber gloves, scooped up the dustpan and broom and went back to work with all the responsibility that come with belongings. I was back to normalcy. This story is a snapshot of an extreme definition of downsizing. Simply put, downsizing is merely getting rid of what you don’t need in a given set of circumstances. I dearly loved that suitcase. It simplified my life for the span of time our belongings were en route. It became a symbol of freedom for me. It took me years and years to realize WHY that suitcase was so precious to me. It took me a long time to realize that the more things I had, the less time and money I had. I am a much happier person since I have started downsizing and to me downsizing is a continual process. Less stuff=less mess=less stress.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer