Monday, December 26th, 2011:
One of the things that drew us to this project was a desire to simplify our lives through paring down our belongings. While liberating, we knew that this would be one of the biggest challenges of the entire tiny house experience. With construction complete, we took a deep breath, squared our shoulders -revisited The Story of Stuff a couple of times- and dug in.
We had a basic plan of attack -categorize our stuff into four areas: Stuff to be Gifted; Stuff to be Donated; Stuff to be Stored-long-term-for-future-use; and Stuff to Join Us in the Tiny House. While simple, the plan turned out to be every bit as hard as anticipated.
We’ve been gifting many belongings throughout the past year, which has been enjoyable. Deciding what belongings to take with us in the Tiny House has been exciting as well. The hard part turned out to be deciding what things we’d choose to keep in the limited long-term storage space offered by Gabby’s Mom and what we’d donate to the local Goodwill store.
The desire to hold on to “keepsakes” can be overwhelmingly strong, but what do things really mean to us, anyway? Attaching a memory or an emotion to an item is likely fairly common to most. For us, this resulted in box upon box of things competing for a pardon as we lined them of for the chop.
While often difficult, the experience was a great exercise in examining each belonging with a deliberate and critical eye. Utilitarianism became our marching orders, and when some thing tugged at our heart-strings it was set aside to be reconsidered at another time. Some items needed to go through the ‘set aside and reexamine’ process several times before we were able to come to terms with its keeping or giving up. The secret weapon ended up being the ability to truly give ourselves permission to look at our things with intentionality.
Though this was an exhausting process, we have come out the other end with a tiny house containing just the things we need to live and thrive as well as a few storage shelves holding the items that have true family, utilitarian, and sentimental value.
Several truck loads of other items that were really just consuming space in our lives were either given away to friends and family or donated to the Goodwill. While some folks have suggested that we are misguided and have expressed concern about us parting with so much of what we’ve worked to accumulate over the years, the process has been incredibly liberating. We are able to enter this next chapter more lean and light hearted…