Small steps and big emotions – How our downsizing is going

Our apartment should be empty in one month. In one month, we will have left with our bags and small load of things we’ll keep, after giving away or selling most of our possessions. The engineer’s parents will help us with storing most of them, and my little sister was bribed with a half free flat screen to take our bookshelf and some books. Everything was going pretty well, until I got home from work the other day. Our kitchen table was gone, and I nearly burst into tears.

It has been an enormous roller-coaster of emotions to get this close to actually leaving. And a huge surprise to see that no matter how much we give away, we still have so much more left. Giving away the content of our basement storage was easy, the stuff was old and already forgotten, bags of old clothes, empty suitcases, dusty books and just general junk. But the closer we get to putting away the things we’ve actually been using, the harder it gets. Up until last week, it just felt so freeing to know we had so much empty space somewhere, and had finally been able to bye bye the items that should’ve been thrown away years ago. But seeing the kitchen without the table that’s been there for years, and the TV station without the flat screen… oh boy, things are getting serious.

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Indonesia, 2014

Although leaving and giving our stuff away was a conscious decision we made together, knowing we’ll never dine at that table together again feels weird. I haven’t owned a TV in years, and never felt it necessary to have one. When I moved together with the enginerd, I actually sold his second flat screen without asking him (to his dad, though, so it stayed in the family 😉 ), but now it seems like there’s a ton of TV shows and movies we could’ve watched together if only we had that TV still. And it’s not even what we could’ve done with the TV, it’s the empty space and all the memories I’m scared will somehow disappear with the physical object that witnessed so much of them.

And yet we feel relieved. Item by item, we are getting closer to be free. There’s nothing missing in our lives, we won’t even be needing any of these things soon. As long as we remind ourselves how important it is to give away the extra stuff, then we can handle the emotions. But, besides some of our furniture, another thing is making me overly sad: giving away my clothes.

I have almost not been able to start. Kitchen items: easy. Books: somewhat difficult. Clothes: I don’t wanna!!!! Yesterday I was finally able to get to the task, but although sorted out into piles of keeps and not-keeps, I haven’t so far given away a single piece of clothing that I’ve actually been using. Yes, I gave away some old sports clothes and things like that, but I wasn’t going to keep them anyway.

Now I’m facing the dreaded moment(s) of truth: Which one of my black tees has to go, which one can stay; am I ready to depart with my favorite jeans which won’t fit well anymore; will I find a way to choose between sports pants; how many bikini do I really need and last but not least, can I keep all my sports bras? Will all my memories of running a half marathon, finishing a triathlon, going to Cross Training class the first time, falling in love with indoors cycling or diving into a swimming pool on our honey moon vanish with the pieces of fabric related to them? Will I still have experienced China and Uganda if certain shirts are no longer in my closet? Lately I have gone through all my belongings, bringing back long forgotten memories from over a decade. I do not want to lose those memories again.

The engineer seems to be struggling with a similar problem with his cords, cables and other random pieces of technical devises. To him they represent a long time line, and a cable was once maybe a part of a new cool technical gadget he had and still reminds him of that time when that now so old school technology was the latest thing. He probably did a lot of his enginerding stuff with certain people, in a certain apartment or at certain job. He also has some books he’d like to hold on to, and together we have decided to save certain photos, mementos, and some more expensive items, such as our Tempur mattress. But no, not all of our clothes or electric devises can stay 😦

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Terracotta Warrior, Xi’an. Certain emperor did not live low key.

Lately, I have been taking boxes of used but still good household items to our staff break room. I left them with a note saying they’re for free, and to my surprise, we have now successfully rid ourselves from a ton of things we won’t miss but have made others happy. We also took some books to the library book swapping cabinet, and gave away all the engineer’s old suits to charity. Of course, we have been selling a lot of our things, too, but although the money is nice and important, making people happy is even better. Plus of course, now we’ll never again have to worry about owning too much. Since our lives will be in backpacks for the next year or so, I hope we’ll learn to live without any unnecessary junk.

How is your downsizing going? Are you happy with the decision or do you long the items you gave a away?

PS: One month and a few days and we’ll be on our way to  ♥Goa♥

PPS: Check out how our other little micro projects are going  herehere and here.

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