I wouldn't consider either of us to be pack rats. We don't collect anything or have knick knacks. We don't have a lot of art. (We love it, but we're cheap.) However, similar to many other Americans, we have accumulated more stuff than we need. Often we would search for something we thought we had, not find it, buy it, and then find our original months later.
When we first started downsizing, we didn't have a plan of attack. Someone mentioned Marie Kondo to me and I watched several of her TV shows which left me crying at the end of most of them. (I'm a softie.) Her methods focus on keeping only what brings you joy and shedding other items in a methodical way. When she worked with families, it was clear that the process was not only transformative to their living space, but also to their daily lives and attitudes. In one of her books, she recommends to take about 6 months to downsize. Having done this in only 2 months, I understand why she recommends 6 months.
When we moved from the house into an apartment, we moved into 1/3 of the previous living space. We got rid of so much stuff, so quickly, that we couldn't remember what we had. We've had many conversations starting with "Where did we put..." and ending with "Oh! We got rid of that." It was a cleansing process though. We haven't felt the need to re-buy an item that we downsized. I feel like the living space within the apartment is well utilized and/or it brings us joy.
"Oh! We got rid of that."
At T - 6 months, we are starting the downsizing process again. Fortunately, our expectations are more realistic with timing this round. However, I'm finding it more challenging already. Now I'm donating, selling, or discarding items that I really like. Even selling the air mattress has finality that we will no longer have visitors in our home (partially thanks to covid) because we are at a point of focusing on purging extra items we aren't using regularly. I'm giving a friend nearly all of my dresses and skirts. I'm actually kind of sad about it. If she enjoys them though, I'll feel better about it. If she promises to wear (at some point) my homemade "Nightmare Before Christmas" Sally dress, I will be so happy to know that it's going to the right owner. Weird. I never thought that I was attached to things, but it turns out - I am.
As we continue through this process, I think it's going to be transformative in shifting our focus to moving forward (figuratively and literally). We will be purging a part of our past and keeping only the memories. As time passes though, so do the memories. We hope that keeping our thoughts alive with this blog will help us remember the details and how we're feeling during this transition.