What Matters / Enough!!!
We returned from our first virtual work winter after a couple of months in an Airbnb in Palm Springs and were determined to simplify, to create the same sense of ‘enoughness’ we had found in our distant home. Only one set of (lovely) plates, flatware, linens; shelves clear of ancient and unused pots and pans and mismatched towels, closets empty except for the things we’d determined met our needs - Enough.
We jumped in and shredded files that were digitized or no longer relevant, gave books to a used bookstore, found new homes for furnishings, and made a new Peloton owner very happy. We met the nicest people who were attracted to our dear and lovely belongings through Craigslist and FB Marketplace - It was so often a very pleasant exchange. And we accumulated cash and Venmo transfers with glee!
The cost of living in the Seattle area had risen notably in recent years, and the opportunity to run our businesses by Zoom and other emerging, secure digital technologies allowed us to rethink the way we live. We realized that owning a home involves much more than a mortgage. There’s maintenance – planned and unexpected, property taxes, keeping up appliances and plumbing and rooftops, interior and garden cleaning, and maintenance… The list goes on and on, doesn’t it? A home is an illiquid and immobile asset. And ours, by this point in our clearing process, was pared down and spare – we could think clearly and envision a new plan.
As financial planners, we saw the opportunity to leverage our assets for a multi-home lifestyle, using the beautiful spaces that others own and maintain. As we house hunt, we look for moderate weather, sunshine, walkable villages, shared values, and the opportunity to settle down for a while and build community where we go. We have friends in various places in the US and abroad, and others who travel so we make sure to have a second bedroom and a big enough dinner table to entertain. We look for fast Wi-Fi and a dedicated workspace. And we pack an Ikea desktop and legs along with our monitors and PCs so that we can work effectively wherever we live.
“No More Stuff!" – the benefits of clearing
As we emptied our own closets and shelves and got rid of things we didn’t need or use, we felt immediately freed up and lighter – not just in our living space but in our minds and lives. The more we donated, sold, and gave, the more we wanted to keep up the process.
A Roz Chast New Yorker cartoon appeared around the time we were packing, and I had to laugh. We were doing this in reverse. As we got rid of our ‘crap’, and the boxes for it all, the shelves were emptying, and then the house echoed!
How much space do you really need? How many beds, chairs, tables? How many sweaters, coats, shoes, boots? How many rakes, trowels, flowerpots? Soup pots, Dutch ovens? The larger your home, the more stuff you need, right? Really???
My Take - Clearing can provide many benefits:
- Your living environment will feel less cramped and more organized, and your imagination will open to new opportunities.
- You’ll reduce stress: Clutter can create a sense of chaos, stress, and energetic obesity. By simplifying your possessions, you may feel a greater sense of clarity, calm and relaxation in your surroundings.
- You’ll reclaim your time: Owning fewer things means you spend less time cleaning, organizing, and maintaining them. This frees up more time for other activities or pursuits.
- You’ll save money: When you get rid of things you don't need, you may be able to sell them, donate them, or recycle them. This can save you money by reducing the amount of storage space you need and putting that cash into the bank. With savings accounts now over 4%, that is an even more meaningful pursuit!
- You’ll experience improved focus and creativity: Having fewer distractions can help you focus more on what's important to you. This can also enhance your creativity by giving you more mental space to explore new ideas and possibilities.