What would you do if you were told to pack up your most important things into two suitcases and leave everything else behind?
HURRICANE IRMA GOT ME THINKING
As you may already know, my husband and I have a house in Central Florida. Two weeks ago, the entire state was freaking out over hurricane Irma coming. We had previously planned a trip to NYC back in March with no idea that a giant hurricane would be coming through that weekend. We sat down with our friends a couple of nights before we were supposed to leave and came to the consensus that we would still go on the trip. We figured that if the storm was going to be really bad then we may have to end up evacuating anyway. We had no idea what Irma was going to do or how strong she would be when she hit our area, or if she even would!
I had never had to evacuate before but had watched thousands of people fleeing Houston the week before. I laid out my suitcases on my bed and looked around my room. I had no idea what our house would look like when we got back or if it would still be here. As I considered which things I didn’t want to leave behind and potentially lose forever, I filled my suitcases with what I considered to be most important things. Even though there was a big chance that I would come home to a perfectly in-tact house, I was still terrified.
As we traveled, checking the weather radar every few hours, I really started thinking. I thought about how attached we get to material possessions and how lucky we are to have them in the first place. I thought about what truly mattered to me in life and what I could figuratively “leave behind”.
I have things that I bought and probably won’t ever get around to using. There are piles in all of our rooms just sitting there. I couldn’t help but wonder when we got to the point where we lost control over our material things. I have clothes that I only kind of like and kitchen gadgets that would only be useful in very specific situations. My husband has about a million computer cords that do’t actually go with anything we own anymore. There is more clutter than there are places to put it. When you look down the aisles at stores, there are dozens of different kinds of soap to choose from. There are abundances of knick knacks that are made to fill space. During the plane ride home, I decided that when I got back from our trip (assuming our house was still there), I would declutter and downsize to only the things that I REALLY wanted and loved.
Now that I am back home (which didn’t suffer any damage btw), I am ready to begin this process and I want to bring you guys along with me as I attempt to live a more conscious and simple life. Downsizing a four bedroom house is not going to be easy. We have years of hand-me-downs and such. I know that it is going to be hard but I also know it can be done. By the en of the process, I would like to be able to fit all of our stuff into a 2 bedroom home.
I have a small list of goals for this project.
- Only keep things I actually use or enjoy
- Only purchase things that will fit the previous criteria
- Cut out “unnecessary” products (4 different shampoos, three vegetable peelers, dryer sheets, specialty cleaners, paper clip holders, etc.)
- Have a designated place for everything
- Tidy each night before bed
- Shop with reusable canvas totes
- Make our own cleaning products (Most of those chemicals are unsafe and unnecessary)
- Eat better food and only buy what we will actually eat
- Declutter electronic devices
- Buy books and DVDs electronically
- Cut Cable
- Use a Capsule Wardrobe
- Don’t buy things just to fill space
This is a good starting point. I will do individual posts on some of these topics as I have done a TON of research.
We were so lucky to have made it through the hurricane without any damage. I know that a lot of people weren’t as fortunate and I will be donating a lot of the stuff that we downsize to those families in need.
I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me and I hope that you guys will get something out of it as well.