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Two weeks ago today my family was unpacking all of the moving boxes that had been in storage for the past 3 months. It's hard to believe that everything is unpacked and has a home especially since while the movers were unloading the moving truck, I kept telling myself it would be a month before we sorted through it all. Talk about feeling weighed down.
After being on the market for 6 months with my husband commuting back and forth from Wisconsin to Minnesota, we sold our house in Wisconsin and packed only necessary things that we would need to live. We moved those items into a very small apartment in Rochester, MN while our house was built just outside of Rochester. Everything else went into a moving storage facility and during the unpacking process, each member of my family, including myself, would come across something that we completely forgot about. The more we unpacked, the more we started to question why we brought most of the items with us. I'll get to what we did with all of that another time.
Before the moving company showed up at our house in Wisconsin to pack us up we sold, gave away, and donated many of our things. We must've made at least a dozen trips to Goodwill and St. Vincent De Paul. Well, at least we thought we did. As a matter of fact, our friends, family, and neighbors were starting to ask if we had anything left because we were unloading so much stuff.
Having fewer choices
Something happened during those 3 months of apartment living. Remember when you moved out for the first time and had very few things to get started? That is how we lived. And guess what? We were actually able to make do with what we had and as we went along, I realized that life just felt easier. Instead of 6 different mixing bowls, I only had 2. That stockpile of cleaning supplies that took up space in the basement at our old house, we brought 2 - 3 bottles with and everything still got clean. During that time we attended a wedding and I had only brought 2 pair of earrings to the apartment; one gold pair and one silver pair. I remember how easy it was to grab a pair to wear because the choice was limited. If I had my huge jewelry armoire, it would have taken me forever to decide what to wear. And speaking of what to wear, that became much less complicated because there was only so much to choose from.
I no longer like "stuff"
3 months ago you could have asked to borrow a slow cooker. Sure, why not? I have 4 of them. Need some deodorant? Take your pick from these 12 bottles. Having a party and need 6 chip bowls? I got you covered.
After living those 3 months without all of that, I don't want it back. I don't need it back. Looking back I realize how it was all so overwhelming. Yes, having excess stuff can be overwhelming. I guess this is a concept I would have dismissed before and can only understand it now because we forced ourselves to temporarily live that way thinking "it's only 3 months". Having those things did not make me happy, fulfilled, or a better person. And those things that I thought had meaning, really did not; they only took up space. It was all just more to clean, more to organize, more to stress out about, and more exhausting to make choices.
I've never been one to live in a cluttered home. I'm not sure there is a single person out there who could say they came into our house and found it to be cluttered. However, for those that would tease me about my immaculate home, what they may not have realized is that to them it appeared to be neat and tidy, but to me it was a mess. I've been asked before if I had OCD because I would clean an already clean house. My house never felt clean. I never felt organized. I struggled with this all of the time. I never understood why I felt this way up until recently.
Material possessions were cluttering my mind
If a professional sat down with me before our apartment living experience and told me that the reason my mind was cluttered and I was constantly cleaning a clean house was because we had too many material possessions, I would have thought the person was on crack. I would have also listed 100 reasons why I had to keep those things; I spent money on that. My mom gave me that. It matches that other thing. I might need that one day. And finally, I would have said that my house is clean and organized so they must be wrong.
I'm glad it didn't take a professional to tell me that, and it only took an experience for me to figure it out on my own. It's freeing to have fewer material possessions. It's peaceful really. And in the long run it will eventually put more money in my pocket. I realized that today when I drove right past one of my favorite (or used to be favorite) craft stores. I didn't have the strong desire to go in and look around. I only thought to myself that whatever I would find in there would not go with our new "less is more" decor.
I realized as I drove past the store that I had adapted this new minimalist and simplistic way of living in more ways than one. And it's a damn good feeling.