We’ve been back in Florida for nearly a year…and we’ve considered many things about where we want to live and in what sort of home. Southwest Florida is an interesting place, because you truly can find homes of all shapes and sizes, with no property to care for or tons of it. And at this point in our lives, it’s very clear to us that having the opportunity to live in a condo which is slightly under 2000 sq. ft with few things to worry about outside our four walls is just where we belong.
We do miss our Weber grill from time to time – but we’ve found alternative ways to grill. And if we want more exposure to the great outdoors than our lanai permits, we just head to the beach, go to a park, hop in a kayak, go out on a boat, take a hike down a swamp trail or find other ways to reconnect with nature and the world around us.
We love the fact that everything we truly need fits within our four walls and even after doing two huge purges of “stuff” before moving back from Germany, we have even more things now that we find we really don’t need. So we’re blessing the lives of others with those items and enjoying our more intentional path.
Living With Intention
Sometimes it seems that as each year passes, we find we have less need for “stuff” –and that’s not always easy to achieve with a younger child at home. But she also seems to notice that there are certain things she no longer wears or uses that someone else will value more. And that’s really a large part of it all.
Why have those things around you which you don’t love and use? Why get a storage place for your junk if you don’t even know what’s in those boxes?
I literally carried one box with me from Virginia to Miami to Frankfurt and finally to Berlin over the course of 15 years without opening it. Want to know what was in it? Some old dolls.
At one time, they meant a lot to me. But as the years passed, they became weathered and a bit damaged. And what happened when I opened the box was that I glanced in it, then tossed it all in the trash. All the dolls were ruined and I wasn’t even sure anymore why I bothered to carry the stuff around, because I wasn’t really interested in them.
I was a little saddened by the loss of these things – but clearly they weren’t important enough to look at in the last 15 years. And I’ll never forget many of those items simply because they sat atop a shelf for years when I was a kid…too fragile or nice to really be played with.
The things we have in our home now have a purpose, whether it’s gadgets in the kitchen, tools in the tool box or even clothes in our closet. We’ve even reduced our number of knick knacks to those things which we really love or hold really special memories.
We do have some little things that we collect when we visit places near and far. But they have a purpose. When we put up our Christmas tree every year, we get to revisit many family memories that Stefan and I have lived in our last 15 years together because we save little mementos. But we don’t have them cluttering up our whole house.
Stop the Cycle
Do you ever feel like your home is overwhelming you or you just don’t know what to do with all your stuff? Then it’s time to start evaluating what you have and if you truly need it in your life.
Living with purpose and intention is not always the easiest way. Things quickly find their way into your home, from paper to small toys to free stuff you get when you’re out and about. But what you’ve got to remember is that everything you bring into your home needs to have its own place and home within your space.
You’ve got to consciously make decisions about everything you and your family bring into your homes. Some people like to take two items out of their home when they bring one new thing in. We’ve never been too successful at that. But I do go through our home every 6 months or so and purge paper, clothing, spices, Tupperware and anything else that just seems to gather over time.
My process is pretty simple. I pull everything out of a space and examine each item. Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it? If I can’t answer “yes” to at least one of those questions, it’s history.
In my spice cabinet, I actually mark the spices we rarely use with a sticker and a date 6 months in the future. When I use that container, I take the sticker off. If that date arrives and the sticker is still on the jar, it’s gone.
Your closet woks the same way with each season. Mark the hangers or turn them backwards on the rack. When you wear the item, turn it around. If you never wear it, get rid of it.
Have you heard of the micro homes that are popping up? If not, go type in tiny home on youtube. I think the trend of people to move into Tiny Homes and live with more intention is an incredibly powerful one which not only frees up resources, money and time…but it also can change lives as we remember how to communicate with others again and appreciate what we do have. But I’ll save that rant for another day. 🙂
So if you’ve read all this, it’s your turn to share what you appreciate right now in your life. And whether you like to live with intention and reduce the amount of things you have…or if you just keep piling things on, hoping that one day you’ll use it all up.
And thanks for listening. 🙂0