OK, so my downsizing story might not be a spellbinder, but it definitely changed my world.
Once upon a time I was on the same treadmill as pretty much everyone else in the free world. The goal was to have a big house, gold plated this, fancy that, blah, blah, blah. Whoever died with the most toys won, or so the story went. Key to the whole scheme was the house.
We were taught to find the biggest one you couldn't afford, then keep looking until you found one a little bigger.
One day about 10 years ago I noticed the shelves in my closet were dusty. (Who dusts closet shelves?) As there wasn't much on TV that night I decided I'd do some cleaning. Everything came out of the closet and it was dusted top to bottom. Then I started putting things back in and thought, "Why do I have this? Why am I keeping that?"
If I hadn't used it or worn it within the last year, out it went. My Goodwill pile grew and grew until it was larger than my keeper pile. I found that all my stuff would now fit in one small corner of the closet. It felt good.
Then I figured I'd go through the cabinets / linen closet in the master bath. All those old sets of sheets that were there as backups, but were never used? Gone. Same with those old ratty towels. I had stuff under the cabinet so old the labels on the bottles had faded away. I reduced my stuff by 50%.
I was on a roll. Over the next few weeks came the other bedrooms, the hall closets, the other baths, the utility, the study, and finally the kitchen. Whoa, I was living lean and mean!
Eventually I began wondering, "Why do I have this big(ish) house? Why am I paying all these taxes, and utilities, and mowing and maintaining it all?" Turns out I didn't actually use but a fraction of what I had.
Then I met and married K, but she didn't come with much "stuff" so I still felt like we were living excessively. None of it brought me any more happiness and in fact was just a royal pain in my butt.
I kept remembering a friend of mine who lived on a 35 foot boat in St. Pete, FL. He once told me if he brought something new onboard, he had to take something off to make room for it. That concept appealed to me. I had developed a phobia of clutter.
By this time it was 2007, the price of oil was shooting up, and storm clouds were on the economic horizon. I figured all this would eventually affect the housing market, so if we were going to sell and move somewhere smaller we'd better do it then.
The "for sale" sign went up and we began in earnest to hard-core simplify. We kept the furnishings we thought we would truly need, then gave away or sold pretty much everything else, ending with The Mother Of All Garage Sales.
It's amazing what some people will buy. I was happy to be getting rid of so much junk, while everyone else was happy to be adding to their collection. "One man's trash is another man's treasure" as they say.
At the end of the day I took the few remaining unsold things and stacked them on the curb with a sign, "Free....you haul it, you can have it." It was picked clean in 15 minutes.
Phase I complete. (Not really....it's an ongoing lifetime process.)
Next: From talking about it to doing it.