A number of years ago, before cohousing came into our lives, my husband and I realized that the time and worry of maintaining our big family house and yard no longer matched the lifestyle we wanted. We also acknowledged that we felt burdened by all the stuff filling every nook and cranny.
Rather than the big yard, house and stuff, what we really wanted was time to focus on our family and friends and the pursuits that bring us joy. We made ourselves a goal that in one year we would clean out the stuff and sell the house.
Getting started was overwhelming. It seemed every item I picked up had a memory and its emotional value far outweighed the actual financial value. Knowing that lists work for me, I picked up a notebook and created a numbered column of 1 to 100 and added 3 more columns for Throw Away, Give Away, Sell. My goal: get rid of 100 things.
I started with an easy item. In a junk drawer I had an old card of tarnished buttons. With my pen, I wrote “buttons” on row 1, put a check in the “give away” column, opened up a paper bag destined for Goodwill, and placed the buttons into the bag. Item 1 – check!
I don’t know what it was about this notebook – maybe it was just the magic of no longer procrastinating – but in just a few days, I filled in those 100 rows (cleaning out the closet made a BIG dent!) and was encouraged to continue. Soon 100 things became 1,000 things!
With each item leaving our house, I found myself feeling less burdened. There was an actual feeling of lightness. And what was even more exciting was that our timeline moved up exponentially with our house on the market in less than six months.
So now, here we are, excited for our new home in Skagit Cohousing. It feels reasonable to look forward to a smaller home knowing that we’ll have guest rooms, storage, and a lovely common house that will extend our own private home.
As I anticipate the wonderful neighborhood we are creating, I am reminded of a mentor who told me once that it should be people taking up space in our hearts, not stuff. While our journey to cohousing has had many paths, I am thankful that my 1000 Things project helped get us here. I’m excited for this next chapter filled with meaningful friendships and the joy of having really great neighbors.
To learn more about Skagit Cohousing, visit skagitcohousing.org
Category: Moving In
Tags: downsizing, sorting