Downsizing — Freedom from Belongings, and Maybe Even Making Some Money

Jun, 17, 2015

By Fredrica Syren:
For almost as long as my husband and I have been married, we have had storage units where we would messy storagekeep all kinds of things we didn’t want or couldn’t store at home. When we had old clothes, bikes, toys and books that we jut didn’t want to get rid of, it was easy to pack them all up into the car and drive them to storage. There, it was out of mind…sort of. For years that storage has cost us tons of money, and we have been discussing how we really should bite the bullet and go through what we really have there. But the years have gone by, and all the stuff has stayed in storage. And we kept adding to it.
I believe that, for many, the task of minimizing their possessions can be overwhelming. You might not know where to start. It’s too much to think about what really is in those drawers that don’t close, in the closets that don’t shut, and in the rooms that are stuffed full of unused things. The idea of decluttering a home and living as necessary might be the obstacles that keep many from starting at all.
Our argument always was that we “didn’t have the time,” but a couple of months ago my husband downsize maindecided to use his paternity leave. With that came a huge pay cut. Then we suddenly needed to cut our costs. One big one was that darned storage unit: we needed it gone. We knew that, before we could bring all this stuff home, we first had to clean up our house by reducing our belongings. It took us a week. I was amazed at how many unnecessary items we had lying around. Once we had donated, recycled and thrown away A LOT, we emptied our storage. Oh, boy, did that take many carloads! We actually opened every box and took out everything. It was fascinating to see how many things we were holding on to. Some was just garbage and some we had kept for emotional reasons. I had things that belonged to my mom, who passed away 10 years ago; and my husband had a coat that was 20 years old (that he never used) from his grandparents. We found old books, papers, china, knickknacks, old clothes, DVDs, and some very strange articles like a million cables and loads of plastic wrap. And we never use plastic wrap these days. Again,we sorted objects to keep, to donate, to recycle, and to send to a landfill.
We also decided to take the time to sell items on Ebay. We had old IPhones that sold really well, lots of old Levis jeans that are too big, DVDs, old kids’ clothes and toys and furniture; and we even sold all those cables and the plastic wrap. We ended up making some very good money. The more we cleaned out, the freer we felt. We realized that all the old stuff had weighed us down.
Now we have cut the cost of the storage unit. We also have found more items we feel are no longer need, have sold them and made more money. Our home is starting to feel uncluttered. Downsizing feels very good. Never ever again will we clutter our home. We think twice before adding anything more to our belongings.

Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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