After 8 years of dating and 4 different living situations, Ian and I are FINALLY moving into our own place together. In some ways it feels like a step back since we’re going from renting a house to renting a one-bedroom apartment, but it’s going to be so worth it to finally live without roommates. Plus the location is perfect for both of us!
If you squint in the distance I think you can even see the new apartment complex from the top of the aerial tram at work!
The list of things I’m excited about so far:
- Using the blender at 5am
- Not worrying about our roommates seeing Ian naked when he invariably strips all his clothes off like a toddler as soon as he gets home
- A shorter commute to work!
- Not feeling embarrassed when our dog invariably pees on the bathmat (she only ever did it to my roommates so who knows if that’ll still even be a thing once we move!)
Yeah my list might seem trivial, particularly considering how much more we’ll be shelling out in rent, but I’m 26 and I’m tired of asking permission to have friends over for dinner. I also want to point out that I did stop and do the math to double check that I am, in fact, 26. I have never felt so self conscious about saying my age before recently, and it’s only because I’m 98% certain I’m accidentally lying to whoever I’m speaking to.
But seriously, moving from renting 2/4 bedrooms in a 2000+ sq.ft. house to a 740 sq.ft. one-bedroom apartment is going to be a challenge. I realized that the only way this was going to work with two human adults and two dogs would be if we Marie Kondo-ed the hell out of our possessions before we lugged everything we own over to our new place.
Okay, so I haven’t read it all yet. Or most of it. But the relaxing blue of the book cover soothes my soul and really makes me excited about getting rid of my crap, so I’d say it’s working its magic anyway.
To get all my thoughts together about this process, I figured why not write them all down in one place to go back to for motivation when I need it. Which, let’s be honest, I will definitely lose steam in my crusade to own as little as possible at some point. So far here are my steps to effectively downsizing.
Step One: Pinterest
Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Pinterest is the place you go to covet other people’s unique-DIY-gold-applique-post-modern spoon collection that they somehow make look like art. It’s where you spend all day clicking through pictures and yet simultaneously wishing you had time to make your own garden bench out of two Goodwill chairs and your boyfriend’s power tools. Yes I have been there and I have the chairs to prove it.
It’s also chock-full of links to articles and blog posts and before/after pictures on Minimalism. I don’t know about you but every time I read one of those I go home and find SOMETHING to just throw away or donate. Used properly, Pinterest can fan the flames of a Minimalist fire until all you’re left with is a capsule wardrobe and the only pan you ever actually use and you know it.
Minimalist Kitchen. Capsule Wardrobe. Minimalist Beauty Regimen. Small Space Décor. Minimalist Dog Ownership. You name it and some version of it exists.
Step Two: Getting your beau on board
Are you living with or moving with a loved one? Does said person have hoarder tendencies? Put your persuasive pants on (no not those pants unless that works in which case maybe yes those pants and I will see you tomorrow friend) and sit them down for some real talk.
You’re not going to get very far if you’re encountering resistance every step of the way. I sat Ian down and made sure he realized that we were going to need to downsize our things in a major way. Two things that made this process go better for us was my willingness to give up things that I might having but didn’t use and framing the move in terms of what we would bring with us as opposed to what we would be getting rid of. It’s harder to justify keeping that unused bread machine than it is to justify getting rid of a somewhat expensive kitchen appliance.
Look at it there on the floor in the corner, it’s so sad. Besides if I gift it to a friend I might end up with more bread from them than if I kept the damn thing in the first place.
Step Three: Know your avenues of disposal
The mob ain’t got nothing on me when it comes to getting rid of bags of mystery items. This one is pretty straightforward, though it will be different depending on where you live.
I’ve become familiar with the book-selling process at Powell’s City of Books here in Portland and the Goodwill that’s right across the street from it. There’s a service for veterans that will come and pick up household goods and small furniture donations that we’ve gotten a flyer for every month for 3 years but will finally have a reason to use. I still live in the same city as my alma mater and college kids love free things. All these are vital considering that the non-recycling, non-compost garbage is emptied by the city once every two weeks.
I keep a basket by the front door where I just drop donation items whenever the mood strikes me to get rid of things and I take it in every weekend when I go grocery shopping. Which leads me to…
Step Four: Constantly get rid of small bits of stuff
There’s nothing more reinforcing than getting rid of a pile of stuff one weekend and realizing by the next one that you’ve completely forgotten what’s “missing.” I honestly can’t remember more than one or two pieces of clothing I’ve sent off to Goodwill out of the multiple garbage bags I’ve trimmed from my closet.
Building momentum and confidence in my decisions has been wonderful. I rarely second-guess myself these days during one of my post-Pinterest storms.
Step Five: Pinterest!
Really the last step is to just repeat this process over and over again. I know Marie Condo believes in doing it all at once to truly purge your life of everything that doesn’t ‘bring you joy,’ but I’m a working stiff and I just can’t manage that barring the most boring staycation ever.
So instead I’ve started early and try to make progress as often as I can. Sometimes that means scrolling Pinterest at lunch and clearing out the cute mismatched tea set I don’t use after work. Other times I’m reading Ian’s moods for when he’s down to toss some more of his stuff.
Really it’s just a combination of getting into some good habits and infusing that with regular doses of external motivation to get me going. That’s honestly a good summation of my whole life philosophy at this point, too. I’d say it’s a pretty good one so far.