It is mid November and our plans are taking serious shape now. We have got a private buyer interested in our home. The building inspector is coming next week and the intended hand over date is 8th February 2020.
We have been offered to housesit a friends house over Christmas from the 25th December til 8th of February, so we can clear out our house and do renovations a lot easier with no one there. Then from the 8th we have been invited by other friends to use one of their rooms to camp in until we leave.
Over the last month we have spent every spare moment to sort through our belongings and my gosh do we have many. We can’t really afford to hire storage, so we have to part with everything. Tim’s mum offered to store a pallet (cubic metre approx) of things for us and a friend offered to store some of my books for me. We each can only take a suit case and hopefully some excess luggage. So to downsize from a 4.5 room house plus garage, office and sleepout is no small undertaking.
With both us being business owners as well as houseowners there was also a lot of emotional detachment from what we have worked for so hard for many years. It is interesting to observe the process of letting go. For me I have started my little yoga studio from scratch with no client base 3 years ago and what a jouney it has been. I have done so much growing & learning through that time. The studio is now at a place where I have a good and regular client base, where I feel confident as a teacher and its financially viable and I have to let it go. But sometimes it good to let things go while they are at their best…
The children have been coping remarkably well through the process of sorting through books, toys and clothes. Both have massive lego collections so we have had family lego building days where we assemble sets to make sure they have all the pieces and sell them for the kids and they can use the money in Europe to buy something they want for the boat.
Tim and I have been sorting through family things – books, kitchen gadgets, tools in the garage, workstuff we won’t need anymore. Its a fulltime job to take photos, list on trade me, answer questions, pack up, send, give feedback and start all over with more things. We have also gifted things to second hand shops, friends, the kids school. Our backup plan for anything we can’t sell is to get an auction house to pick it up and sell it for us.
Going through this process of looking at everything we own and how useful it was, how much joy it has brought us, how much of our hard earned money we spent on things is a really good exercise. We probably only use half our household items on a regular basis. Probably more than half not really necessary. And taking into account here that I am a minimalist (or so I thought) by nature and going through things regularly, giving away and selling.
I am somehow familiar with the process of parting with belongings. Over 15 years ago I went through the same process of dissolving my household in Berlin / Germany to leave for travels with my backpack. I stored 30 boxes at my parents house though. Over the years those 30 boxes where condensed down to 3 boxes of precious belongings that never made it to NZ in the last 15 years, because it wasn’t a priority and we never had the spare money.
I makes me think of how we value things. Selling my business and the inventory made me realise that I valued things a lot higher than the new owners, because I paid full price for it, I choose every piece carefully and I loved the place as it was. A similar process is happening at home. Some things we paid so much money for, but its not worth much now moneytary wise. So to let go of that attachment of value can be quite hard.
I am also thinking how tempting it is to get pretty new things at K-Mart and the big mega stores because it is cheap and new and there are many times that I have been lured into unnecessary purchases in those places. I think if we ever started a household again we would focus on purchasing second hand items even if they might not be as pristine and pretty and matching. There is so much stuff already existing and the consumerism we are all part of is very quickly destroying the very place we call home – our earth. We already had many second hand and interited things in our house. Pretty much most of our furniture is preloved. But I do realise that we could have been still a lot more conscious in our consumer choices.
So for the next few weeks it will still be full engagement with our stuff, more stuff and more stuff until we just have the stuff we actually need. Its liberating somehow and also sad and everything else – a real emotional rollercoaster dusted with a bit of overwhelm.
What really hurts emotionally at the moment is having to say goodbye to our family home. The only home our kids have known. The place we shared and lived in for the past 13 years. I was 6 months pregnant with our first child when we moved in and he is about to turn 13 in February next year. There are so many memories and good and precious times that have been lived here. I wished we had the funds to keep it and rent it out.
Another fact to come to terms with is having nowhere to come back to. There are 2 sides to this coin as well. Having no responsibility and no belongings other than what we take feels really light and freeing and not being slaves of our mortage and belongings. But having nothing to come back to also feels a bit empty and scary and challenging in society where everybody is busily and steadily paying off their mortgage to have something to pass on to future generations. I guess our kids will possibly not have a house to cash it, but hopefully lots of memories that nobody can take away from them.
And thats where I will finish for today. School pick up time – also soon to be a thing of the past.