This sign is a piece of a crate that has seen better days. My parents bought peaches at a roadside stand over 60 years ago. I found the crate in their attic several years ago.
I know what you are thinking… I would go nuts in 1000 square feet with two kids, a husband, and a family pet. Add on top of that the fact that I play (aka work) at home and you probably think I should be in the funny farm by now. I have had several people ask me how we decided where to move, so this post is about the choices we made.
Should It Stay or Should It Go?
One of the things that has helped with this transition is that we only have things we love… well the adults anyways. I have read so many books on how to declutter kids, and all I can tell you is that the process evolves just as their interests do.
I make sure that the possessions that inspire me to play (aka work) and nurture relationships win a place in our home. My husband frankly, is the least cluttered person of all of us so this was not hard on him at all.
This was not easy at first, because just prior to our downsizing, I had a small wedding design business. I did about 20 weddings a year. All handmade, rustic, vintage style and I had the props to prove it. I had old doors, farm tables, vintage chairs, and more. Upon deciding to downsize, we decided to shut down the business. We were moving more than an hour north and it just was not feasible to continue. It was a relief in some ways. I started this business with a friend to supplement (replace) my lost consulting income that dried up overnight. She and her family moved and I kept the business going. I loved working with flowers and plants and styling an event.
I loved getting to know the local flower farmers. I had the right ingredients, but the wrong business.
This process has taught me to live with only the things we love and that my former business had all the right ingredients, but the wrong recipe. I did not have to give up on the elements that gave me so much joy, but I did have to find the way to incorporate those into my work in a way that everyday would feel like play.
Key Ingredients for a Happy Downsizing Experience
One of the key stops on our downsizing path came from, where we chose to try this experiment. We had to get real about what we could afford, but we (I) had conditions. I did not want to feel punished. I knew we needed a reality check, but I also knew that I would not have the staying power if I was not at peace about it. Call me weak, but I knew myself well enough to be sure I set myself and my family up for success.
What Are Your Musts?
We chose a Townhome with an attached garage. This was important for a mom of two kids that had not lived in the apartment since before we were married. It also felt more like a home.
The golf course seems excessive, but it was about the environment. I did not want to feel boxed in, so even if the Mad Scientist could not afford golf (yet) we could see the beautiful rolling grass and nature.
What do you have now that drew you to that home? Try to think back to the day you chose it and why.
I used a Realtor to find this property. This is the first property she recommended, even though I looked at the others. I was not convinced I had to be in a Townhome. This seems silly now, as most days I feel like I am on a vacation.
Finding a Quiet Place
The last thing that was on my list of requirements for working from home. A quiet place to make phone calls and write when I need it. I use the business center that is available in the community to find a quiet place to work. I also have taken calls in my micro garden. It is a beautiful way to enjoy outside and still get some work done.
My two micro gardens are always just outside the door if I need a minute or 10 of calm. I always enjoyed gardening before, but micro-gardening is more peaceful. It is all the good parts of a garden, the scents and scenery, with none of the stress or obligations of tending to a large space. I also bring clips of herbs and cuttings indoors to liven up the place. I will write more about how to start a micro garden in future posts.
The key here is that everyone needs a personal space. Even if that means a corner with a comfy chair, headphones, Pandora, and a book.
Why You Need to DeClutter Now
What you may not know is that I feel more engaged and in touch with a greater level of creativity than ever. Why? A cluttered, complicated life is a recipe for disaster. It is like a layer of fog over your life. More and more families are trying to do it all and be everything to everyone, except the very people that matter… themselves.
I hope this gives everyone a better idea of where to start when downsizing with kids. We have had a happy experience that has changed the way we live. It is not easy in the beginning, but if you take the time to consider what is important you will be glad you took the plunge. The best advice I could give you is to stop worrying about what everyone will think, and just do what is right for your family.