My husband and I made a decision to down size our stuff, in an effort to make space in our lives. In this post, I talk about our decision, our goals and the 6 things that helped us with them.
I just have to write about this, because it’s changed the quality of our lives and given me time to get out and get some sun.
The decision to downsize
Kharghar is home. A home far away from a lot of things that we enjoy doing, however.
Family and any event we enjoy attending, is 2 hours away by cab, or 2 1/2 hours by public transport for many who live here. The monsoon flooding creates additional delays, and there’s always some road repair work in progress, or potholes not repaired, to lengthen the journey.
Making friends here wasn’t enough for me. It didn’t take away the isolation. Our weekends had become so filled with chores, that spending 4-5 hours a day commuting so we could attend events was more time than we had.
Music events here are few and far between, and restricted to a very limited genre. Music systems here in Navi Mumbai are generally geared to pump out a sharp painful treble and a booming bass, and we often needed ear plugs to just get through them!
My husband and I really missed participating in activities and events relating to our hobbies. And we realised that we could downsize our stuff, spend less time on cleaning, and make time to do the things we love. That this was the way out for us.
Pollution levels in Kharghar are very high due to the constant burning. And pigeons are a real problem here, so house cleaning takes time. We have help off and on for heavy cleaning, but like to do the daily stuff ourselves.
We wanted to spend less time cleaning and had two goals :
- To have less to dust and clean : To sort through, downsize, and organise our stuff for easy access and minimal dusting.
- To automate floor cleaning : We needed to reorganise our floor space so that we could invest in a floor cleaning robot and reduce the time we spent vacuuming.
We actually got started end-2017. We worked at it off and on during 2018. Often off during busy months, but always coming back to it – a little at a time.
2018 was our year to make space and I wrote ‘I Search’ to express my feelings of hope and excitement as we began this journey.
The 6 things that helped us downsize
1) Going digital : We went digital with our book collection, only keeping reference books and some favourites we couldn’t part with. And we did the same with our music collection.
2) To-do lists : helped us keep track of what we needed to achieve, when we took long breaks. Crossing off each item as it got done brought a sense of achievement with small gains and helped me stay motivated.
3) Eating fresh : My cooking is pretty basic, and I’d stopped using ready-to-use and packaged food a long while back, but hadn’t got down to cleaning out our kitchen. Doing this cleared a lot of kitchen space, and we no longer needed to build a storage unit we had left space for, when we planned our kitchen.
4) Reducing chemicals : in our cleaning and personal care products meant a lot less stuff to store. Home made vinegar based cleaning ideas and coconut oil based skin care meant stocking a few basic ingredients which had multiple uses. This reduced the weight of our shopping baskets, and the storage needed at home. I looked at recipes online and made my own versions of them as much as possible, except where I found it easier to buy readymade products.
5) Inspiration and ideas : There’s a lot of ideas online – blogs with ideas for storage, as well as home organising tips. Tidying up with Marie Kondo – on Netflix helped organise my linen cupboard, folding so that I can find things without pulling everything out. Of course, I still have lots of stuff organised in my favourite way – just thrown into bins with absolutely no folding.
6) Setting different, more relaxed routines : De-cluttering our home made me evaluate the way I used my time and I started to work towards a more relaxed daily routine. I started to declutter in other ways.
- Organise the time I spent online, on social media and on my cell phone.
- And evaluate my friendships, and appreciate the friends who made time for me.
This was an unlooked for bonus, that has helped me get out of the house more, and get more sun.
It was a success! We feel the taste of freedom with our Milagrow Floor Cleaning Robot.
We will never be completely done downsizing. We now need it to be a part of our weekly routine, because things just tend to pile up in a home if there’s no regular effort to live with less .
2019 has been a year filled with more, as well as less.
More music and hobby events.
More time to read and go for a walk.
And less cleaning!
Things are changing here in Kharghar, and local events and hobby related workshops will someday have more diversity and more depth than now, and give us what we need.
But until then, we’ve made things possible for ourselves, and it really feels good.