Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some folks… and the idea of scheduling

Most folks have been very supportive of our choice to downsize and live in a tiny cottage. Some folks have already downsized or are also in the process of doing this, some folks have said “Oh, you’re living my dream!” but would never do this themselves, and some folks (like my dad) think we’re nuts and can’t imagine living in a small space let alone getting rid of most of their stuff. Well, nuts or not we're going to do it.

Jeff is still building full-time an hour and a half north of me but I still have my day job and am now alone at our apartment in the evenings purging/boxing the last of our belongings. Sure, I get to sleep in a real bed while he’s getting bruised by day and sleeping on a hundred year old futon by night, but purging stuff is hard work too.

I recently had to take a week off to spend time with my teenage son while he was hospitalized unexpectedly (this is why I mentioned the IDEA of scheduling time). This was actually a great thing since he’s been waiting for a long time for a liver transplant and it has finally happened. Woohoo!!!! He’s doing extremely well (he was out of the hospital in 6 days!), it all went smoothly, and now he’s back at his dad’s home getting pampered while he recovers for the next 6 weeks. I was worried that he’d get the call to come in because they found a liver donor match while Jeff, Rick and I were towing our tiny cottage through Oregon. I feel very relieved that I was still around to be right there when it happened and to be able to take the week to hang out with him!

Our cabinet maker friend and family will be taking a few much needed days vacation this week so we are running a bit behind in that area now. Life happens... so our 'schedule' has changed. Our move date is now two weeks later than previously planned. This os ok though since Jeff will still have two weeks before he is needed at school after our move. Moving the date back seems to have taken a lot of stress out of the building process (which is a good!).
Well, after my week off of building I wanted to feel like I’d accomplished something in connection with our move/cottage so I started small. I purged the bathroom. It was easy to get rid of the shampoos, etc that we never use. Oh, and the hair dryer for guests… has now left the building.

Linens was easy. One bed and a tiny bathroom only needs so much.

Next was my books. Ugh. I’m still having trouble with this and am at a total of 5 boxes (those paper ream types from the office). I’m down from double that amount but I want to get it down to 2 boxes since that’s all I’ll have room for. I’m still working on this.

Last night was my clothes closet. Much easier than I thought it would be but I’m not done yet. I boxed what I think I will ‘need’ but will still need to get rid of about half of what’s left. I know I won’t wear all of it but how to decide what I will is difficult. I’ll have to do another pass on this.

Tonight I will start to purge papers. I have lots of papers filed (in boxes, in no order whatsoever) but will scan the ones I really need and will shred or toss the rest. Unread magazine articles will go, performance reports from work from 8 years ago will go (uh, why did I bring this home?) but my sketches for artwork will be scanned for further thought (and hopefully action). This paper task will easily take a week and it will sometimes be emotional. It really needs to get done though.

When I need a break from papers I will purge the kitchen. This should be easy. I already have 4 plates, cups and silverware boxed. Getting rid of the crock pot, blender, etc will be very easy. We use them about once a year.

Boxing up the camping/skiing gear will follow that.

Rick just bought all of Jeff’s Mission style furniture, lamps and the leather sofa and chair. (He sent us pictures of his new place in Albaquirky and it all looks great overlooking the sunset!) I’ll freecycle the two mattresses, dining room table, a couple of lamps and the desk. Mark said he wants the file cabinet and shelves, Craigslist will get the antique armoire, then we’re done…

Our 700 sf apartment is fairly empty at this point. Our lease is up on September 1 so this is a very good thing. I look around and it feels freeing to have pared down to this little bit.


  1. I'm so glad your son had his transplant and I hope his recovery goes smoothly and swiftly. I hope things continue to move along well for you both... glad you had some room to push the move back.

  2. This whole purge process is where the mind bend comes in for my wife and me. We're in a ~750sf house, and can't seem to purge further than we have now. I'd love to see another post on how you purge, or at least the mindset behind keeping what you keep and purging what you purge.


  3. Jay,

    A follow up post about our downsizing experience is actually in the works. It'll be posted soon including suggestions and cautions.



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