Living With Less: A Fresh Start

…And we’re back! After taking the month of July off to buy a house and move, I’m thrilled to be back with you all! I did promise you a recap of my Summer 10×10, and that’s in the works. For now, I have all the thoughts on my new house and recent move which I’m dying to share. (Yeah, see that cute little ranch there? It’s ours, and I’m totally in love!)

Prior to getting married and moving from Alabama to Kentucky last October, I had worked really hard at paring down my household items. I gave away several carloads of things and packed up the rest to put in storage, knowing that Hubs and I would be temporarily living in his one-bedroom apartment until we could save up enough money to buy a house.

At least I thought I had pared down a lot. The trick was that we didn’t want to get rid of anything we thought we would buy again once we were in our future home, plus we registered for and received wedding presents. Since we had no idea what kind of place we would end up finding, we erred on the side of keeping more than was strictly necessary, with the promise to pare down to fit whatever size house we bought.

Now that we know exactly how much space we have to work with, I’d like to say that this time I have been ruthless, or that I waved a magic wand to part the sea of moving boxes into “Things We Love And Use” and “Everything Else.” I dreamt that moving would be like Minimalist Ryan Nicodemus’ Packing Party and that determining exactly what we would need in our new stage of life would be easy.

In all honesty, I was surprised to discover it has been both easier and harder than I thought. Here are some tips and thoughts on how your next move could move you to the next level of minimalism.

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01 | Make sure they space you move into is the right size for your life, not the right size for your stuff.
When we were looking at houses, we were super tuned in to how each house would enhance or hinder the way our life and household currently functions. We knew it needed to have a dedicated office and guest bedroom, as well as enough gathering space for board game nights and football parties. We ended up settling on a 1,400 sq ft ranch that satisfied all of these criteria but is less than generous in the storage department. I personally am loving the challenge of coming up with creative ways to maximize the livability of our space.

02 | Major life changes = major life changes.
It might seem simple, but experiencing a major life change, such as graduating college, getting married, changing jobs or careers, having a child, etc. also changes the way you perceive and interact with the things around you. Acknowledge this reality, let go of the things that belong to the past phase of life, and embrace the new phase of life.

(Friends, obviously I’m not saying go around willy-nilly throwing highly useful things out just because you got a new job…but if you got a new job and you feel like your hot pink neon fringe pillow doesn’t jive with your personal perception of your professional self these days, maybe change is good.)

03 | When in doubt, keep it out.
You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo and her rule to only keep things that “spark joy” in our lives, but have you ever been in the predicament where something doesn’t necessarily spark joy, but you believe it’s likely to be useful? My blender doesn’t spark joy, and I haven’t missed it in the nine months that Hubs and I lived in the tiny apartment, but there was a time in my life when I did use it regularly enough to justify its existence in my kitchen. That being said, once I find it a home in one of my cabinets, it is so much harder to edit out. For now, it doesn’t get a dedicated spot in my kitchen, but I’m also not quite ready to totally let it go. It might go counter to the advice of other minimalists out there, but if you’re not really ready to get rid of something, it’s ok to put it away for a while. Just make sure you give it a deadline and get rid of it if you still haven’t used it when the deadline comes up.

04 | Give it time.
Ok, so you all know I love systems. I’m all for anything that will make life simpler or more intuitive, but the best systems assist the natural rhythms of life that reveal themselves over time. I’d love to get our home set up with brilliant systems right off the bat, but in a year’s time, I will very likely be writing that I completely overestimated the amount of entertaining I would do in the new home, or that I’ve finally found the right way to store my out of season clothes, and that’s ok. It’s important to give yourself some time to adapt to the new space and give yourself the grace and flexibility to evaluate things once you’ve established the pace of life in your new place.

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That’s it for today! Have a LOVELY Tuesday!

Anna Signature

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