{Small Steps to a Better Life} The Start of Our Conscious Living Journey - STEP ONE

Last week I mentioned on my Instagram stories that this year we're making changes to our everyday lives.  Honestly, I suppose it started almost a year ago, when we decided to put our house on the market.  There were some big changes about to take place in our neighborhood and we thought it was the right time to sell our first home.  It was a beautiful home.  It had everything.  Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a two car garage, a big yard with a white fence around it...you know, the American Dream.  Yet somehow, I was never happy there.  I loved that house for about a month as we were moving in, but it pretty quickly became something I despised and I didn't even know it until we started preparing to sell it.  I couldn't get it off my hands fast enough.  I'm quite sure my husband thought I was crazy because I literally called him at work one day and said, "I'm selling our house.  Now is the time."  I had our realtor come over that week and immediately started preparations for putting it on the market. 

 My kids killing each other (like usual) on our front steps of our old house as I tried to snap a "nice first day of school photo" of them. 

My kids killing each other (like usual) on our front steps of our old house as I tried to snap a "nice first day of school photo" of them. 

Week by week, we fixed up whatever needed to be repaired and boxed up what we knew we wouldn't need in for the next couple of months.  I purchased neutral bedding, towels, and decor and staged each room one at a time and then closed it off so the kids couldn't mess it up.  Suddenly, I started to love my house again!  But it wasn't really the house I loved, it was the LESS STUFF that I loved so much.  In each room, we kept just the very bare minimum so the house would look organized, modern, and clean.  And I LOVED it.  Apparently everyone else did too, because we had several people schedule showings the day it was listed and we sold the house to the first person who looked at it.  I couldn't believe it! 

 Our empty living room right before we had the floors refinished as we prepared for listing.

Our empty living room right before we had the floors refinished as we prepared for listing.

Since we didn't expect it to sell that quickly, we hadn't really prepared a plan or a place to move into yet!  We ended up finding the perfect apartment a week before the official sale.  The apartment was only 1,000 square feet, so it was a significant downsize but it was a short term lease so figured it would get us by for the next few months.  We tossed almost everything we owned into a storage unit and kept just some mattresses, clothes, one of the sofas, the dining table, and a few kitchen and bathroom items.  That's it.  Four bedrooms worth of furniture and TONS of boxes of who-knows-what was left in the storage unit.  And guess what?  Month after month went by, and I didn't need all that stuff!  I didn't want it either!  For so long, I felt like we were "keeping up with the Jones," or at least trying to...and it's exhausting!  And SO depleting - emotionally and financially!  Who cares about what house we live in, what car we drive, how much stuff we have?!  That shit doesn't matter.  I've been so much happier in this small little apartment with less stuff.  It's like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  In fact, I've been so much happier that we recently decided to stay in this adorable little place for another year.  I've spent the last two weeks at our storage unit almost every day going through box after box and getting rid of all of the junk we've accumulated just because we thought "everyone needs to have this."  I have quite a ways to go still but I'll get there.  My goal is to get rid of so much stuff that we can downsize from this enormous storage unit to just a little one to use for all of the things we'll need (or random keepsakes we've consciously decided we want to keep forever) which can't be stored here because we have very little closet space. 

 After we cleared out most of our furniture and other "stuff."

After we cleared out most of our furniture and other "stuff."

I'm sure many of you have seen the popular minimalist documentary or read their book, so you kind of already know what I'm talking about...but let me tell you, I've seen that documentary at least 10 times (no joke) and it doesn't even come close to describing how truly freeing it is to downsize.  Intentional living can mean different things to different people.  For us, there are several different areas of our life we'll be focusing on this year, and hopefully for the rest of our lives.  What we accumulate is one of them.  We are going to be more intentional about what we purchase and allow to take money from our account and take up space in our lives.  The more stuff we accumulate the stuff we're eventually throwing at Mother Earth to hold for us when we're finished.  The more stuff we buy, the less money we have to do fun things with our kids and save for the future.   The more stuff we buy, the less room we have in our cozy apartment to live and breathe.  It's just not worth it.  This, my friends, is STEP ONE of our journey into conscious living.  We will be more conscious and thoughtful about our purchases and what material things we decide to keep in our lives.  Stay tuned for STEP TWO of our conscious living plan!