Today’s post is a guest post by Lee Ann Bisulca.
The car was packed to the gills, and we still had to fit me in it. I climbed into the passenger seat, a flat of water bottles already at my feet as my brother began piling items on top of me: a milk crate, assorted baskets, random cleaning supplies. I was wedged in so tightly I knew that if we got in an accident on the two-minute drive to the thrift store, I’d probably be crushed to death by my stuff.
I had gotten rid of as much as I could in the months leading up to my move from California to New Mexico, and I had even shipped eight boxes ahead of me. But I had overestimated how much of the remainder would fit in my car. Halfway through my last day in Fresno, my brother proclaimed that I had to start getting rid of things. In between cleaning, packing, and loading, we made several frantic trips to the thrift store to offload my excess belongings.
The memory of a colorful plastic milk crate pressed into my abdomen stuck with me for a few days. I had used it as a file box for years, but the way it collected dust drove me crazy. Why did I hang onto it until the very last minute? I haven’t missed it at all.
Welcome To The Journey Of Downsizing
I’ve spent years downsizing and curating my belongings—a cycle usually motivated by an impending move. I bounce between the desire to travel light and the dream of creating beautiful, meaningful surroundings wherever I go. It’s hard to strike a balance.
As I journeyed to Albuquerque, I was able to consider this from a variety of angles. First there was the two-day car trip, then two weeks spent at a series of Airbnbs and a hotel while I hunted for an apartment. During that time, I needed very few of the things packed into my car. I lived out of suitcases and streamed TV shows on my phone. I even stayed in a tiny travel trailer for about a week and was surprised by how easy and peaceful it was. As long as I had food and a place to sleep, I was mostly OK.
And then, while I was applying to rent a little house that seemed just about perfect for me, an opportunity came to rent a significantly larger home in a more picturesque location for about the same amount in rent. It was a dream home: spacious and windowed, with a loft and gorgeous decorative touches. That is, it would be my dream home if I didn’t have a chronic illness that severely limits my energy. I knew I needed to live somewhere easy to clean and maintain, without unnecessary stairs, and close to neighbors and shopping.
Sometimes The Dream Is Not The Best Choice
I turned the dream home down with a bit of a pang.
A few days later, I moved into the smaller house. One of the first things I did was rebuild the corner desk I bought at IKEA three years and three states ago. It gets a little more dinged up every time I disassemble it and carefully lay its pieces in my trunk, but that simple, inexpensive desk has outlasted most of my other belongings. Now, it’s situated cozily next to the gas fireplace in my tiny living room.
Maybe I’m farther along on this minimalism journey than I think. Despite the upheaval of the past several weeks, I suddenly have the perfect corner office in what’s turning out to be the perfect little home. After all, minimalism isn’t a magical solution that we use to instantly achieve just the right number of belongings. It’s a patient evolution as we discover who we are, what we need, what’s important to us—and what things stand the test of time.
Today’s post by: Lee Ann Bisulca is a freelance editor. Check out her website, www.illuminationsediting.com.
For more great articles on simple living and healthy habits, be sure to check out the Hip Diggs’ archives.