Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The Art of Radical Downsizing: A Real Life Example
When we began looking for a house, we actually chose this one very quickly. For starters, it's on a street where I owned a house between 2004 and 2006. I absolutely loved that house amd have stellar memories there so the street felt right to us. The house also had a most excellent vibe for us as soon as we walked in. It felt tidy and warm and welcoming. There were overgrown gardens calling out for me to dig in and get to work on them. The kitchen was sweet beyond words. I loved the kitchen just immediately.
There's a aweet little deck on the side that provides a great spot for my adirondack chairs. I paint them a new color each spring and this year I went with red and purple.
We've been in the house almost two months now, so we are getting used to the size. At first I was frankly kind of scared of what 950 square feet would feel like. How would we fit all our people and all of our stuff into a space this small. Friends of mine who have been living in as small or smaller NYC apartments cheered me on, assuring me it could be done. We are only four of us living here all the time. J, age 20 has her own house on campus, and E, age 18 is spending his senior year living at his Dad's house so he can be closer to school. We see them very often bur they are not living here. So it's just Jon, me and the two little girls: C age 8 and G age 5. Could we manage in such a small space? Would we be climbing all over each other?
I am happy to report that the answer is no. We've adjusted okay. I do kind of wish we had a playroom for the girls because using the single living room/den for their toys and art projects is turning out to be pretty messy. But that's really my only complaint so far. Everything else (mostly) fits.. Now we did get rid of a lot of stuff. In fact we still have stuff in the old house that we're working on getting rid of. At first I had to fight some strong emotional attachments to some of the things we're selling or passing on to others. For example the giant baby grand piano that belonged to my great grandmother. I really had to take deep breaths and think about what that piano was doing for me in order to let it go. No one in our family plays piano and it required basically it's own room to have in our home. That piano was keeping us from doing the paring down and lightening up that every other instinct I had was telling me was the right thing to do at this point in our life. I finally had a breakthrough and decided that the piano needed to go to a home where it will be played and appreciated. And that's where it's going. And I no longer feel sad.
For the first few years after Henry died I felt like I could never move on from the emotional and physical space that he had occupied with me and our family. I didn't want to touch his things or his room. I felt like doing so would be admitting he was gone forever. But as I have slowly evolved in my grief, which don't get me wrong, is still intense and life-altering, I realized that Henry is with me always, even if I let go of his bedroom and the rooms he walked and inhabited. I realized that our family needed a fresh start in a space that allowed us to remember and honor Henry in a new may - a way that allows us to look forward and not always back.
So here we are living in a Very Small House. So much has already changed since we moved. My life feels much more manageable in a new space (I went through some very, very dark and difficult times in the last few years in the old house).
Oh, and welcome to my new blog. I missed writing so much. But I was very shut down and simply couldn't for several years. I will take baby steps toward writing again in this space. We'll see how it goes. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Thanks for coming by.