The Holiday Season is a time of abundance for many. It is also a time when we may experience a nagging awareness of the benefits of simplicity. Throughout the year, we bring an increasing quantity of things into our homes. We also hold on to family treasures, the dilapidated recliner that cradles every curve of the back to perfection and boxes of trinkets with which we are unable to part.
There is nothing wrong with this. It is rather in line with our hunter-gatherer instinct. Furthermore, we identify with our stuff. Just as a piece of jewelry can represent our personality, so do the items we accumulate around our homes vibrate in tune with our tastes, aspirations and values. When it comes time to move to a new home, we must choose what to bring along for a new chapter.
Not all of our stuff preserves its emotional or even functional significance over time and the need for a good spring-cleaning can arise even in the midst of winter, especially on a day like today, when the abundance of snow in the Northeast has given us reason to stay home. At first, we may sip coffee while enjoying a good book. When we look up, in the sudden stillness between yesterday and tomorrow, everything looks different. Garrison Keillor would say, “This is a good time for Ketchup”. It is also a good time for change, even if you are not going anywhere.
Treehugger.com, considered the leading media outlet dedicated to sustainability, offers many thought-provoking lifestyle choices and many interesting facts about how we live today. In a May 2009 article about downsizing, it reveals that, “From the 1950’s to now, homes have increased in size approximately 140%.” However, the article continues, “According to the National Association of home Builders (NAHB), 60 percent of buyers may in fact be looking to downsize.”
Downsizing begins with stuff. You may still dream of owning a mansion in a perfect pastoral setting, but this does not mean you need to move the clutter along with the family. What do you imagine when you think of your larger home? A great family room with large windows opening to breathtaking vistas, enough bedrooms for everyone, a finished basement for your workshop, a large space where you can finally set up your home office and so on. You think of space, both outside and inside the dwelling. How much stuff do you really want in that space?
Moving to a new home is a good opportunity to offer your eyes a new picture. In fact, the home staging strategies you may learn from a Real Estate professional when selling your current home can apply to your new one. For instance, you can significantly enhance the sense of space by reducing the amount of furniture you place in a room. Imagine living without the extra chest of drawers. Do you not remember your niece saying how much she liked the 3-drawer one?
Ask yourself what items you might give away so that you can live with three less drawers, with one less end table, without the walk-in closet, with fewer bookshelves and so on. The treasures you may create for others in the process are worth a million Christmas gifts. Sometimes, less truly is more.